As the results of the 2019 NAPLAN standardised tests are out it is timely to reflect on the performance of Tarremah Steiner School students this year and over the past years.
Standardised testing is a useful tool for assessing academic learning. Tarremah’s results are consistent and predictable from year to year and reflect identifiable characteristics of our learning program. Because in our literacy and numeracy programs we conduct extended foundational work in the early years of the Primary School, our Class 3 scores are characteristically under the Tasmanian and Australian mean scores. This is also but to a lesser degree, apparent in Class 5 as the Steiner and National standardised curricula become more aligned. By Class 7 and Class 9 Tarremah’s NAPLAN scores have been consistently above average in past years, both in Tasmanian and National comparisons.
The trend is to go from below average in 3 and 5 and above average in 7 and 9. This contrasts with the trend of mainstream schools which tend to score highly in 3 and 5 and plateau or drop in 7 and 9.
Understanding trends and the reasons for them helps inform us when evaluating the effectiveness of each school and type of education. The Mercury newspaper of 6 December 2019 reported that Tarremah was the fourth highest rating Year 9 in the state over the past four years which is a testimony to the education that occurs here.
By offering educational experiences that are congruous with development, children are allowed to learn as their abilities unfold. Successful results inspire confidence and positive attitudes to subjects which brings about the increasing engagement with learning that characterises students at Tarremah.
It is important, however, to view the academic work done in schools in the perspective of the development of the entire individual which we see in a threefold way. The intellect is certainly important but is best when supported by the development of emotional maturity (allowing healthy social interactions and perceptions of self) and the will (allowing the individual to complete tasks and to work with determination and endurance). This is what is meant by the phrase, ‘Head, heart and hands’ which is a central tenet of Steiner education.
At Tarremah we work extensively on developing the whole individual in all three aspects, but we are certainly encouraged when the rigour of the High School academic curriculum demonstrates such fruits as these pleasing NAPLAN results.Dec 2019