NAPLAN? Persuade Me!

NAPLAN: Persuasion

Persuasion is the act of coaxing you
by reasoned argument, to take my view;
You may have never thought it out before
so let me outline what you can’t ignore.

It’s not enough to simply state the case
without evidence. You never will embrace
my viewpoint; may stay sitting on the fence
or worse – supporting those who cause offence.

Three arguments, at least, must be supported
by facts and quotes, as action is exhorted,
and though you might at first oppose my view
my hope is you’ll soon share the views I do.

I’m persuaded that you have by now conceded,
which means, of course, my argument succeeded.

I will not stoop to bribe, or to extort,

for there are those who’ll say that you’ve been bought!

Sonnet* © Kathryn Apel 2013

NAPLAN is upon us this week. Students from Yrs 3/5/7/9 in state and private schools across Australia, will be shut into silence, racing the clock, but not at all stressed, as they seek to demonstrate their knowledge of reading, spelling, grammar and punctuation, writing, and numeracy.

There are some good things about the NAPLAN test. And there are things I would change.

I don’t believe rigid time constraints are conducive to creativity in writing, and am constantly amazed that children can walk into a blank room with no conception of the topic to be addressed, then walk out 40minutes later having planned, written and edited a persuasive text, all the while paying specific attention to; audience, text structure, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, sentence structure, vocabulary, cohesion, persuasive devices, and ideas. No dictionary allowed! No ability to research. Only rubber, pencil, sharpener and supplied paper and stimulus.

I challenge an adult to sit such a rigorous test – and do well!

I would love to see our Prime Minister, and Minister for Education, sit the Yr 9 NAPLAN tests under the same conditions as students.

(Perhaps they should – and we should publish those results?)

I dread to think how I would crumple and fail under the combined pressures of time, stress and scrutiny – with no access to tools that I would usually employ whilst writing.

To Julia Gillard and Peter Garrett, I say;

NAPLAN: Persuade Me

Persuade me that we need a Naplan test
to take up time that honestly is best
employed in teaching kids, enthusing them
to learn. Not stressing testing to condemn.

No matter how we all try to downplay
the importance (or the lack) of NAPLAN day,
it cannot be denied that kids are stressed
and yet we still expect they’ll do their best?!

Since when has child development been a race?
It’s Differentiation staff embrace.
Is ‘Teacher’ not an occupation anymore?
Now assessment is so much the greater chore?

A living, breathing child is not defined
by numbers, on a band, that tests assigned.

Sonnet* © Kathryn Apel 2013

To the Aussie kids in Years 3/5/7/9 who are undertaking NAPLAN testing this week, I say;

NAPLAN can not change or define who you are. Your parents, caregivers and teachers know you far better than any computer ever could. So don’t stress – just do your best!

* You can read more about the poetrics of the sonnet here; 


    • The joys of standardised testing, Catherine. They have a purpose – but they cannot drive the curriculum – or society’s view of the quality/success/failure of education. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Hi Kat, I think NAPLAN is stupid. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve come to try something out on your blog. It’s been ages since I’ve commented on a blog and I want to check my avatar and sign in etc are all working. So I thought I’d stop in a say hello to a friend. Katrina x


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