ANY teacher who has faced the imposition of NAPLAN testing since 2008 is aware that there are significant problems. Many of these problems appear to be confirmed in a University of Melbourne report.

As a secondary school teacher, I have seen this first hand. Moreover, I taught in England under the League Table regime introduced by the Thatcher government. Australia is beginning to mirror exactly the problems that have beset British schooling.

The fact is that NAPLAN was never intended to be a test of school performance. It has morphed into this. There is massive pressure on schools and individual teachers to lift their school results. The logical consequence is to teach to the test.

It is hard to think of a more ethically corrupt idea. What happens come NAPLAN time is clear. Usual curricular content is suspended as NAPLAN practice commences. This is entirely unjustified as it means suspending the sequential study of the curriculum to prepare for a day's testing. According to the Melbourne University study - The Experience of Education: The impacts of high stakes testing on school students and their families - 73 per cent of teachers confirm this to be so.

The fact is that NAPLAN has now become a school examination. It is not about the students but it is all about the school and where it sits in the league tables that parents and schools create from the release of NAPLAN data. If the figures are good and the school is up-table, then everyone smiles. If they are bad, well, there is one way for the school, down to sinkdom. Schools are as much to blame for this parlous state as are ambitious parents who want to claim bragging rights. My school's better than yours.

Under the previous Coalition government, the then education minister David Kemp introduced benchmarks as a means to determine the development of students in literacy and numeracy. Heavily criticised at the time, they were benign when compared with NAPLAN. The Kemp benchmarks were not about hot-housing performance.

Australian school education has become a bit of a milch-cow for commentators who have either never been in the classroom or not for decades. NAPLAN, they say, is all about standards and therefore they support their implantation. They have little sympathy for the daily running of a classroom, nor do they understand how disruptive NAPLAN has become.

It beggars belief that the Australian Curriculum Assessment Reporting Authority says ''NAPLAN tests are not something that students can prepare for''. Why then is there a NAPLAN industry where tests are available along with guidance from publishers to make your NAPLAN results successful? This is a nice little earner capitalising and exploiting the anxiety of students and parents. Schools aid and abet this by opting to purchase these materials.

But what is of deep concern and reflective of the flawed British experience of persistent testing is that standards in the classroom are not linked to NAPLAN. The information given to parents is of palpably little worth. It tells you that on a given day your child scored this or that. It does not reveal anything about the richness of your child's learning or indeed what your child may be able to do over time. It is a hoop-jumping exercise that students are trained-up for.

Schools that make a big deal of NAPLAN are actually in cahoots with the way NAPLAN has been appropriated by parents to describe a school's worth. It is not going too far to say that this is an abrogation of their responsibility to insist that they are about educating a child over time and not using children to bolster a school's profile. The temptation is to produce NAPLAN results as a marketing tool. Schools that do this are culpable of hijacking the NAPLAN tests to advertise ''excellence''. It really defines a kind of minimalist rote learning that was dismissed in the 1960s as a desirable education outcome.

The fall-out of pressure on students to perform is also unwelcome. Given that 90 per cent of teachers say that the NAPLAN tests made some students stressed is an indication that NAPLAN is not fair or reasonable.

Moreover, NAPLAN tests a relatively small sample of subjects: numeracy and literacy. Why is problem-solving not included, why is logic not included? Why is the ability to work in teams not included to meet a pursued goal?

It is simply wrong that Education Minister Peter Garrett says NAPLAN is about the here and now of classroom teaching and that, ''there is no reason why the teaching of other subjects should suffer or that students should feel stressed''.

The truth is simply this: NAPLAN has become a crude means to determine school performance on something as arbitrary as a league table placement. It is, on every education ground, an ossified approach to knowing what students can and cannot do.

If it is used as a way to promote schools as better performing than others, then it is little more than an exploitative marketing opportunity.

In so far as the quality of Australian school education is concerned, the reality is that NAPLAN is supposed to tell us how good students are. It all comes down to statistics. A comforting thought that your child is a mere spoke in the NAPLAN number-crunching wheel.

Christopher Bantick is an education commentator and a senior literature teacher at a Melbourne Anglican Boys independent school.

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