So, we are about a week out from NAPLAN….and sorry to disappoint, but no, this is not another article bagging NAPLAN.
I was catching up with an old friend recently, (It’s amazing how many of my articles start like that. I’m sure they’ll stop talking to me soon!)....
Anyway, we were catching up for a coffee when her daughter, who is in Year 3, came and joined us in the kitchen. She was telling me all about school….friends, her teacher, the choir she’s in (girl after my own heart!), when talk turned to the upcoming NAPLAN.
It’s ok. I won’t go very well. I am not very “smart.”
I could have just smiled and said, “That’s ok, we can’t all be rocket scientists. That’s ok, as long as you try your best….” But for me, it goes a bit deeper than that….
So to all of those gorgeous faced little cherubs sitting their NAPLAN tests next week (including mine, although you’d never know. He hasn’t even mentioned them and neither have we), this is to you.
The Spelling test that you are sitting next week….That doesn’t tell you how smart you are. It does tell your teacher what aspects of Spelling you are already rocking it in and which parts you might need a bit of extra help….but it doesn’t tell you how “smart” you are in anything but Spelling.
That Maths exam…...That doesn’t tell you how smart you are. It tells you how good you are at Maths. It tells your teacher which concepts you’ve got so that they can challenge you in that area. It tells them which areas (probably fractions, if you are anything like me!) of Maths you just can’t get your head around so that they can break it down for you and help you out….but it doesn’t tell you how “smart” you are in anything but Maths.
You get the picture.
I am not anti NAPLAN….I am anti you thinking that NAPLAN tells you your entire school-based worth.
There is no creativity test in NAPLAN. NAPLAN doesn’t tell you how creative, musical or artistic you are. My friend’s beautiful daughter is, at the age of 8, an already accomplished pianist, can read music and loves to compose her own pieces.
And this child thinks that she’s not smart!
There is no STEM test in NAPLAN. NAPLAN doesn’t tell you how “smart” you are in programming, coding and building phenomenal feats of engineering, things we see you do every week at school!
There is no friendship test in NAPLAN. NAPLAN doesn’t tell you about the time that you sensed that your friend was upset and you spent your lunchtime walking and talking with them, giving up your own play to make sure that they were ok. It doesn’t tell you about the time that you saw a kid sitting on their own and you invited them over to sit with you.
You might not be awesome at Maths…….but you might be an amazing athlete, dancer, artist, public speaker, scientist, historian, musician….you might be amazingly good at reading people’s emotions and connecting with people. You might have a passion for social justice or you might have phenomenal leadership skills.
But please, as you all sit these tests this week, remember that you can be “smart” in about a bzillion different things and NAPLAN only measures a few.