Generation Next Blog
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When the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy or NAPLAN was introduced in 2008 I thought it was about addressing this inequality. So, when my child sat the test I joked that we should have given the kids chocolate for breakfast so they did badly and the school would get more money. Some mothers laughed, many more were horrified. Because what I failed to realise is that the NAPLAN is picking up on parents’ greatest strength and their greatest weakness. The desire for their child to do the best they can. While the test is at best a blunt instrument in measuring educational achievement, some parents are treating it with all the reverence of a religion.
Some kids are being prepared for NAPLAN like it’s a mini HSC. I know of children attending special weekend colleges where they do tests from previous years for $50 an hour. I know of coaching after school and people purchasing access to special websites. One clever businesswoman tells parents she ‘NAPLAN nannies’ so the children don’t get anxious about tests. I hope you’re laughing. The poor kids wouldn’t be anxious if they weren’t wasting their weekends studying! It’s the parents’ anxiety that’s the problem. A middle-class anxiety.