More to a school than the results

BATHURST’S school principals can agree on one thing – parents need to look beyond NAPLAN results when evaluating and choosing schools for their children.

Each year school NAPLAN results are released publicly on the My Schools website, and each year they attract a lot of debate.

NAPLAN tests five areas – reading, writing, spelling, grammar andpunctuation, and numeracy -with national testing undertaken for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Results are then available to the public with each school compared to other from “statistically similar backgrounds”, and also to the average of all Australian schools.

With the release of the 2016 results this week, Holy Family Primary School principal Kevin Arrow said what was published in “the public space is a very small, minute part of the total report the schools get”.

He said while his schooluses the comprehensive report to plan future education strategies, parents need to look beyond what is on My Schools.

“The data wasn’t intended as a school by school comparison, it’s about data and evidence collection,” Mr Arrow said.

O’Connell Public School principal Trish Forsyth agrees and said: “I don’t think it gives a whole picture of the school because it only looks at a few areas.

“Creative and performing arts aren’t catered for.

“It’s really a single dimension of what our school is, and I’d encourage parents to visit the school that they are interested in.”

Bathurst High principal Ken Barwick described NAPLAN’s results on My School as just a “snapshot” in time.

“I’d call the schooland see what it’s doing in terms of literature and numeracy,” he said.

Mr Barwick said schools do strategically analyse the comprehensive NAPLAN report, but reminded parents it was just one of many tests that students undertake each year.

The Scots School headmaster David Gates said the My Schools website offered some useful information for parents, but did not tell the whole story.

“I’m sure some of our parents are accessing the website but the most important information is the information they receive directly from teachers through exams, reports and parent-teacher nights,” he said.

“We are not a big school so parents can access this information quite easily when they need to.”

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