Len Christie, a Western Australia primary school teacher wrote this letter to his students after they took the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program–Literacy and Numeracy), a standardized test to assess basic math and language skills.
While I certainly applaud any efforts to instill feelings of inherent value and worth in children, it must be done carefully to avoid a sense of entitlement and ensure that self-esteem is authentic rather than artificially implanted. That said, communicating to students like this is a wonderful start!
A Letter to all Students who sat NAPLAN this year
This week you would have received your NAPLAN test results. We are pleased that you tried your very best in these challenging tests and during the weeks and months leading up to them.
I’d like you, your family, friends and teachers to remember that these tests are unable to measure all of what it is that makes you the valued person who you are. The people who have created these tests and those that mark them don’t know you as well as your teachers know you, to the extent to which I know you and certainly not the way your family and friends know you.
They don’t know that many children at Beechboro Primary School speak one or more languages other than English. They also don’t know that you may be a great singer and dancer or that you can play a musical instrument really well. They also don’t know how well you can draw beautiful pictures.
They don’t know that you have a sense of humour which can bring a smile to your friend’s faces and make them laugh or that they can rely upon you to support them when they need a kind and encouraging word. They wouldn’t know that you can write poetry and stories, play all types of different sports and have interesting and enjoyable hobbies.
They also don’t know that you probably accept responsibility for taking care of your brothers or sisters from time to time. They don’t know that you have travelled to or come from fascinating places and had amazing experiences.
They don’t know how much you love spending time with your family and your close friends and they won’t know how much you are appreciated and loved by them.
You are trustworthy, kind and thoughtful and you try to do your best every day. Do they know that?
The NAPLAN test results give you some very specific information about yourself but it can’t say everything about who you are and what you have achieved.
I hope you are happy with your results and that they inspire you to do even better in literacy and numeracy. Just remember that there is so much more to describe who you are that can’t be shown in these scores.
9th September 2014
Christie was inspired to write this letter after seeing a similar letter used at a school in the UK:
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
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