EDUCATION: Does NAPLAN influence what school you choose for your kids?

23 March 2017

As hundreds of school children are already preparing for this year’s NAPLAN assessments, we asked what our Facebook community really thought of the tests. Should and do NAPLAN results influence the schools parents choose for their children? Or are they an unnecessary test that our kids could do without?

The overwhelming majority of our Facebookers said NAPLAN results were not a factor when it came to choosing a school:

Debbie: “No! I place no importance on NAPLAN at all.”

Kristy: “No. Definitely NOT a consideration in us choosing our school.”

Rachel: “Nope, because NAPLAN is a load of ****!”

Tracey: “No, NAPLAN is not a valid indicator of learning/teaching abilities. The schools which get the highest results are the schools which teach to the NAPLAN style and in turn, miss out on other, more important key learning areas.”

Instead, most parents looked for other qualities when choosing their child’s school:

Anna: “Most important thing for me was to find a school where I knew my son would feel safe and be cared for, then I knew he'd be able to learn.”

Susan: “I couldn’t care less about NAPLAN. I want my kid to be in a school that is the right fit for him in terms of size, individual teachers, the value system of the school. I am fortunate to have found a school that is small, has teachers that have been there long term (current Grade 1 teacher has been at that school for 24 years), and believes every child is a learner and every child is a leader. They teach to students as individuals. Far more important than NAPLAN tests or results...”

Alicia: “Meeting the staff and talking to parents who are already there were my important factors.”

Melissa: “Happy friendly staff, community, happy kids.”

Julie: “School’s values and reputation.”

Fiona: “How well the school communicates with you and how you feel when you take a walk around the school. How the teachers interact with the students. NAPLAN means nothing if the staff do not create a positive learning environment for the kids.”

Gina: “Caring educators who are committed to learning and teaching all, regardless of ability.”

One mum also said she opts her kids out of taking the tests as she believes NAPLAN results don’t prove anything. “I opt my kids out of doing NAPLAN,” Teresa said. “My kids don’t need the stress of competing against the rest of the country just so schools can compete with each other to win prospective students. NAPLAN results prove nothing. Schools have their kids practicing for those tests for months beforehand and they focus on the areas that might make the school reflect poorly if the results aren’t good. I am more interested in what other people have to say about the school in general: the atmosphere, the teaching style, how good or not so good the principle is, how much bullying goes on, etc. There are far more important things in a child’s school life than good grades.”

Another mum, Andrea, said it did influence her decision, but not in the way you might expect: “I chose a school that actively opposes and speaks out against NAPLAN because it’s rubbish. My eldest son's school holds the philosophy that every child should be supported to achieve their personal best in whatever they are passionate about, and that they should not be labelled as underachieving because their talents may be different to others sitting next to them.”

Only one parent spoke out in favour of using NAPLAN results as a factor in choosing a school. Monique said: “Looks like I'm going to be the only NAPLAN parent here. Yes, I chose by NAPLAN and although my kids were out of catchment I worked to get them there. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a school that excels academically as that is the point of putting a child in school. It turns out that school also excels in other areas too. Which is a nice bonus. But if my kids didn't like it I'd pull them. But so far, so good.”

And although Carly says NAPLAN is “stupid”, she did add: “Although looking at the schools’ improvement rates is good”.

What do you think? Would you check a school’s NAPLAN results before sending your child there?

Read more on NAPLAN here. Need help choosing a school for your child, visit our Education Guide

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City

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