The tests provide parents and schools with an understanding of how individual students are performing at the time of tests.
This is such a hard thing to communicate. It is easy to read ‘performing’ as some sort of exact since, such as Johnny got 33 out of 40 in the recent test on whatever. The problem though is that NAPLAN is not ‘exact’ either at the time or as a measurement of growth. This is highlighted by Richard Olsen in his look at the limitations:
In practice, NAPLAN relative growth is a so unreliable that I cannot believe that it is a suitable measure and I would personally discourage anyone from using it. The narrow range of questions that define average growth, compounded by the error inherent to NAPLAN’s testing method make it an extremely unreliable measure.
I think that Margaret Wu captures this best when she explains:
In summary, we would say that a NAPLAN test only provides an indicative level of the performance of a student: whether the student is struggling, on track, or performing above average. The NAPLAN tests do not provide fine grading of students by their performance levels because of the large uncertainties associated with the ability measures.
I was recently asked if I could give a 2-minute answer to which reading program would be best for a district. While I was flummoxed at first; 2 minutes, that’s not enough time to discuss the needed components?! I quickly realized that I really don’t need even two minutes to answer this question ...
So what should we look for instead?
A program that supports choice, independent reading time, small group, one on one conferring, as well as lessons for ideas.
A program that focuses on the needs of the individual as much as the needs of the group.
A program that leaves teachers and students alike that reading and being a reader is something good.
A program that builds hope for all readers to be readers. That balances out between reading for skill and reading for pleasure. A program with an emphasis on developing reader identity as well as reader skill. A program that doesn’t kill the love of reading but instead bolsters it.
That is the program you should buy. And then don’t ever forget that fidelity should always remain to the students and not to the program itself to quote my Assistant Superintendent, Leslie Bergstrom.
I think that listing all of the different influences and attributes is so important. I have spoken about this elsewhere in regards to EdTech, using the Modern Learning Canvas to illustrate it. I have had a quick go at translating Ripp’s ideas here:
Click here to make your own copy of the canvas