The problem of writing 

Filling the pail

In Australia, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) are a series of tests that take place in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The writing component requires students to write either a narrative or a persuasive piece in response to a prompt. Although there is an Australian Curriculum from which, conceivably, prompts could be drawn, they tend to be banal and assume no specific knowledge. For example, students might be asked to write about whether the city is better than the country.

I think this misses an opportunity to write about topics that are more worthwhile but I do think this kind of assessment is valid. After all, one important outcome of schooling should be that students can develop an idea at some length in writing.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure we know how to prepare students for this kind of assessment. Preparing students for a maths test…

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