Make a Difference

Day: April 21, 2009

National Literacy And Numeracy Testing

Teachers are preparing their year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students for the National Assessment Program: Literacy and Numeracy tests which will take place around Australia from the 12th to the 19th of May.

This national testing scheme was introduced last year. The idea is that it gives students, teachers and parents an objective way to compare their school’s, and individual children’s, level of knowledge and skill with others around the country. This makes it easier to identify particular schools and children who need more support.

It may also help in identifying teachers who are underperforming, so naturally the AEU (Australian Education Union) doesn’t like it.

One of the criticisms was that the tests were unrealistically hard.

I was able obtain copies of last year’s tests. There was some spelling in the literacy tests, but the greatest emphasis seemed to be on students’ ability to interpret a variety of common texts: recipes, a newspaper cutting, a short story.

The literacy tests seemed fair for their year level. They required an ability to think about the meaning of ordinary texts, and to apply that knowledge. Generally single word answers were required, and these were either right or wrong – making the test easy to mark, and providing a straightforward objective result.

This is exactly what parents want. They want clear, objective information that shows what their child has learned, and how his or her performance compares with that of other students in their own community and nationally.

The numeracy tests were also good in terms of design, and questions were appropriate for the year level they were testing.

I have run a number of quiz nights for various organisations over the years. In each bracket of ten questions I will put a couple which any dimwit should be able to answer. Then there will be five or six which you might confidently expect someone in a group of six or eight adults to know.  Then there will be two or three which will test even an intelligent and well-read person

The NAPLAN tests seemed to be organised in much the same way. At each year level there were some questions which any student with half a brain should have been able to answer. Most of the other questions were solvable with a bit of thought by an average student. And a few were required some deeper knowledge or thought.

I have copied three (out of 45) questions below from the year five (11 year olds) numeracy test. I’ll post answers and explanations a little later. Enjoy!

NAPLAN Numeracy Problem 1

NAPLAN Numeracy Problem 1


NAPLAN Numeracy Problem 2

NAPLAN Numeracy Problem 2


NAPLAN Numeracy Problem 3

NAPLAN Numeracy Problem 3

Hundreds of Millions Hurt By Stupidity Says Oxfam

No they didn’t. They said hundreds of millions would be hurt by climate change.

It is true that lots of people are hurt each year in natural disasters. But apart from increased casualties caused by more densely concentrated populations, there is no reason to believe that there are more ‘climate’ disasters than ever before.

The claim is that a warmer world means more hurricanes and major storm disasters. It doesn’t. Models of climate change which assume anthopogenic warming say the poles will warm more than the tropics. Major weather is driven by the difference in temperature between the tropics and poles. That difference decreases when the poles get warmer. This should result in not more, but fewer, major storms.

But in any case the world has been cooling for the last ten years and the net change in global temperature over the last century is now approximately zero.

No one is going to be hurt by man-made climate change.

People are going to be hurt if industrialised nations deny developing countries the opportunity to build power stations and major industries because of ‘climate concerns.’

So yes, unless world leaders really begin to look at the evidence, and base environmental and development policies on that evidence, then hundreds of millions will be hurt by stupidity.

Cost Of Public Transport

Queensland commuters may get free rides on trains, buses and ferries if they travel at off-peak times, says Qld Minister for Transport Rachel Nolan.

This is being considered because public transport is overloaded at peak hours and under-utilised at other times.

What made that news story of interest to me was that Rachel Nolan noted that the state government subsidises the cost of public transport by $3-$4 for every dollar spent by commuters. I guess the figure would be similar in other states.

In other words, if someone pays a dollar for his or her train fare, the taxpayer pays another $3-$4. Every time.

I’d like to know that there has been some sort of evidence based, not just wishful thinking based, study that shows that this level of subsidy for public transport is a reasonable and cost effective investment. In other words, that the benefits to the wider community outweigh the cost, and that tax payers would not be better off if this money was spent somewhere else.

If that is the case, then I don’t mind paying for other people’s bus tickets.

UN Chief ‘Deplores’ Anti-Semitic Rant

Ban Ki Moon described Imanutjob’s speech and the subsequent walk out by the few civilised nations still at the Geneva racism conference as a “very troubling experience for me as a Secretary General.”

Oh, please. Spare us.

Every one of the nitwits now complaining that gosh, they had no idea Imanutjob was going to be so nasty, and gee whiz, if they’d only known, etc, etc, is telling porkies.

When addressing the conference, Ahmadinejad criticised the creation of a “totally racist government in occupied Palestine” in 1948, calling it “the most cruel and racist regime”.

Durban I was a  rascist hate-fest. Mr Imanutjob has repeatedly asserted that the Zionist entity should be wiped from the face of the earth. He claimed as he was on the way to Geneva for Durban II that the ‘Zionist ideology and regime are the flag bearers of racism.’

It is just a nonsense for Ban Ki Moon or any other UN official now to act all innocent and dismayed. They knew exactly what was coming.

© 2024 Qohel