Pyne vows to scrap My School rankings

THE federal Coalition would review controversial NAPLAN tests and remove the publication of individual school results on the My School website if elected to government, to prevent the ''unnecessary stress'' being placed on teachers.

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said he was unsurprised by the first national study into the impact of NAPLAN, which found teachers spent months drilling students for the literacy and numeracy tests at the expense of other subjects.

He said the publication of raw results on My School - to enable parents to compare schools' results - had transformed national testing from a useful diagnostic tool into a ''highly stressful ordeal''.

Under a Coalition government only the improvement made by schools in tests would be published on the website, which Mr Pyne said would restore the tests to a diagnostic tool and provide meaningful information for parents. ''NAPLAN has been bastardised from something useful into something loathed,'' he said.

Mr Pyne said it was the federal government's decision to publish raw results on the My School website.

In 2008 former prime minister Kevin Rudd said of making schools publicly report their results that if some parents ''walk with their feet'' and pull their children out of poor performing schools, ''that is exactly what the system is designed to do''.

''Since that time there has been a spate of teacher cheating, students have been asked by schools to stay home on testing day and … parents are withdrawing their children from testing altogether,'' Mr Pyne said. ''These actions will skew results and undermine the testing regime. This is a major Labor policy bungle to add to a long list.''

Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the national study on NAPLAN - which was conducted by the University of Melbourne and surveyed 8353 teachers and principals - was of ''extremely limited value''. It was a ''self-selecting survey'' of about 3 per cent of teachers in the country.

''I don't think this survey is particularly helpful,'' Mr Garrett told ABC.

But the survey did show that some teachers still didn't understand both how and why ''we should actually deliver NAPLAN into the classroom''.

The study found 46 per cent of teachers surveyed held practice tests at least once a week in the five months before the test.

More than 70 per cent said they taught to the test and 69 per cent said NAPLAN had led to a reduction in time spent teaching subjects not tested.

Mr Garrett said teachers should not be teaching by rote. ''It's time for a little bit of common sense here … on the part of parents and on teachers.''

The Independent Education Union of Australia said testing every child in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 every year was unnecessary and sample tests could instead successfully identify key improvement areas.

Follow the National Times on Twitter

The story Pyne vows to scrap My School rankings first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop