NAPLAN tests results have again provoked controversy in Canberra, and your poll results are an indicator of a deep divide on the subject.
Once the best-performing jurisdiction in Australia, the 2021 NAPLAN results confirmed a continuing downward trend for ACT students’ numeracy and literacy skills.
The ACT last topped the nation in reading, grammar and punctuation in 2016. In 2021, the ACT did not top a single category where unbiased data and results could be ensured, while in three-quarters of the data subsets, the ACT recorded a mean score that fell below the national benchmark.
But are NAPLAN tests a fair measure of achievement or education quality? Or are they an external measure imposed to feed a political agenda?
We asked Are NAPLAN tests valuable? 961 readers voted, and the results were fairly evenly divided.
Your choices to vote were No, they’re pointless and stressful for the kids. This received 59 per cent of the total, or 567 votes.
Alternatively, you could choose Yes, external validation is tough, but necessary. This received 41 per cent of the total or 394 votes.
This week, we’re wondering about Summernats and community acceptance. The festival of cars has just taken place in Canberra and was by all accounts relatively trouble free, although the usual hoons caused trouble doing burnouts and resisting police attempts to move them on.
Their actions have been consistently condemned by Summernats boss Andy Lopez, who has changed the event’s direction significantly, focusing on a family friendly event that celebrates the dedication of car enthusiasts.
This year, across four days, Summernats attracted more than 20,000 people a day, providing a significant boost to the ACT economy while also presenting a different perspective of Canberra.
“It helps to wipe away the staid and bland view of our city, which is a well documented attitude held by many people who don’t live here,” said Mr Lopez.
“Yet the event remains unloved by many in the ACT community.”
Two years ago, Summernats organisers took the controversial decision to go ahead in the midst of a bushfire crisis, running the burnouts competition on what would turn out to be the hottest day ever recorded in Canberra. At the time, Region Media asked whether the event had lost its community licence:
“Has Summernats redeemed itself? Have the changes made by new management and a more co-operative approach with police and the wider community made a difference in how you perceive the event?”
A reader, Clare, commented: “Car enthusiasts always say they wouldn’t do it on the streets if there was somewhere legal to do it. Then comes somewhere legal to do it, Summernats, but instead of keeping it there our streets are filled with illegal burnouts, drag racing, violence, abuse, drugs and alcohol, and noise pollution at all hours of the night. It would not bother me at all if they kept it at EPIC.”
Another reader, Colette, commented: “I hated Summernats when I was a Canberran. However, I love classic car shows and my dream car is a classic Jag, but I also like specific muscle cars. I don’t drink lattes, either. I didn’t like Summernats then because of the misogyny (‘show us your t–s’) and the antisocial behaviour. However, just because I don’t personally like an event does not mean it shouldn’t happen. Everyone has different tastes. Just keep it legal and let others enjoy it.”
Our poll question this week is: