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External assessment

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 6 May 2015

An edited version of the letter below was published in The Courier-Mail on Tuesday 5 May 2015. It was part of a sequence with a previous letter shown below. Underlined words were deleted and bracketed ones inserted. The paper's heading was "Key point missed". The letter was printed in a side bar and the paper formatted it as a single paragraph.

External exams not the answer

Tempe Harvey (Letters, May 4) agrees with my observation (me) (Letters, May 2) that NAPLAN tests probe only a narrow slice of the school curriculum.  Unfortunately, she seems to have missed the key point.

In addition to the important "value adding" issue that David Gillespie explained in his opinion piece of May 1, this is what makes NAPLAN averages an unsuitable basis for assessing whole school quality. A major problem with NAPLAN is that people are encouraged to read too much into the results.

I also wish to dissociate myself from Harvey's call for external exams to replace the OP system. This expensive expedient would not be the best use of scarce funds for education. And it is hard to see what the Year 12 assessment regime has to do with standardized testing for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Garry Collins

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: Assessment

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