Dear Parents and Carers,
On Friday 18th May, Mellissa Bell and I attended the Catholic Secondary Schools Association Forum. At this meeting we had Mr Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Education, Mr David de Carvelho, CEO of NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) and others speak about Stage 6 Curriculum, Curriculum Review, NAPLAN and Minimum Standards.
There has been a fair amount of media coverage in regards to Minister Stokes’ thoughts on NAPLAN. He spoke about these comments and more, much of which I agree with. He spoke about testing and assessment in schools, of schools and between schools. He said that too much emphasis on assessment leads to too much emphasis on tests and not on the students.
Assessing the outputs of financial investment- but education is not transactional it is relational, there is a quantitative aspect but only a small part. If we are just trying to quantify schools based on a test then we miss much of what education is about. NAPLAN was never designed to be used how it is currently being used by Governments and the media to compare schools. NAPLAN was supposed to be diagnostic and not used as judgement.
At O’Connor, we spend time working through the NAPLAN results to pinpoint areas of strength and areas of need. This is what is meant by using it as a diagnostic tool. NAPLAN is an opportunity to see how our students are going in literacy and numeracy compared to national benchmarks. It adds to the knowledge that teachers have about each and every student. It allows us to identify both general and specific areas to work on with each particular cohort. NAPLAN used as a diagnostic tool can add to our picture of student learning but as a measure of how a school is going, it is just one of many measures.
Last week and continuing this week our students have been participating in NAPLAN online. The majority of students have reported that they like the online nature of the test. It has on, the whole, been a smooth process and less stressful for the students involved. It has added significantly to the workload for our IT staff and supervising teachers which is something we will need to address into the future. I would like to thank these staff members for ensuring such a smooth transition to the online environment - Mr Mark Harris, Mr Mark Kollosche, Mrs Elitia Parry, Mr Mitchell Smidt, Mrs Natalie Mellowship-Brown, Mr Michael Wooster and Mrs Mellissa Bell.
Next week is Catholic Schools Week and the theme for the week is - Serve, Learn, Lead.
I would like to extend an invitation to you to attend the Catholic Schools Week Mass in the Sts Mary and Joseph Cathedral on Tuesday 29th May at 11am. O’Connor will be leading the singing on the day and it will be a wonderful celebration of our Catholic Schools.
In staff news, Mrs Narelle Foley has joined us in the English area. Narelle is an experienced English teacher and we welcome her to O’Connor. Mrs Ruth Patrick will be taking a year’s leave to work as a teacher mentor in Nepal. This is a fantastic opportunity and we wish her the very best. We are currently advertising for a PDHPE teacher to replace Ruth and also Leader of Learning (PDHPE).
What new learning will you undertake this week?