Union concerns over Bump It Up strategy

Gary Zadkovich
Deputy President

Union concerned over misuse of NAPLAN results

Federation has pursued concerns with the Bump It Up strategy since it was announced in August without consultation with the teaching profession.

Major concerns arise from the way the strategy was imposed on schools without regard to their usual planning processes, and the misuse of NAPLAN test results.

Federation wrote to the Department on September 19, requesting a delay in implementation until the end of Term 1, 2017. Federation stated that the 137 Bump It Up schools should be able to integrate the strategy into their overall school planning for the next cycle rather than displace strategic directions in the school plan that have been determined through genuine, consultative processes with the school community.

The Department responded in a letter dated October 18, confirming that schools will be able to integrate their planning for Bump It Up into the overall school planning cycle and that principals will no longer be required to submit a separate plan each term. It also said principals are to add a focus on improving reading and numeracy to one strategic direction in the school plan rather than replace one. The updated school plan is now to be completed by the end of Term 1, 2017.

In its fact sheet, the Department explains the aim of this strategy: “By identifying students who are currently achieving in the middle bands of NAPLAN, and implementing locally-developed targeted initiatives, we can improve their performance in reading and numeracy and enhance their overall education outcomes.”

While this aim is broadly supportable, using NAPLAN test results to drive the strategy is unacceptable. This approach contradicts the broad consensus that was achieved after the nationwide dispute over NAPLAN in 2010. Since then, the Department and Education Ministry have generally accepted that NAPLAN should not be used in ways that distort the curriculum, undermine the quality of teaching and learning, mislead the public or cause harm to students and their school communities.

Federation is engaged in further discussions with the Department to resolve these matters and will report on developments as soon as practicable.

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