Sunday, October 19, 2014

Standardised Tests - an open letter

Are our students not worth more than just a National standardised test?

To whom it may concern,

A couple weeks ago, an article came out about how the NAPLAN exam will be changed to online and the questions will be adjusted according to the amount of correct answers a student gives. These questions will still have only one answer. My question is how many questions in life, about life and the human response have only ONE answer?
Every year schools prepare their students for one or many exams that apparently measure student capabilities and the skill level of the students who attend.
The exams are in a book and require reading and writing. They test limited abilities and it is these skills and abilities that do not equate to success in life.
When I think of the workforce and life, I can’t help but think people that are succeeding are collaborating, brainstorming, discussing, moving, innovating, creating, sharing, exploring and improving.

The best way that these skills are measured is by the consumers. How do we know how successful certain companies are?  
I can’t help but ponder on the following questions...

How can we help students to realise their full potential?

How else can we measure student achievement?

How else can we judge the quality of education in a student, school, system or even country?

So I write this letter to whomever can listen, realise and make a difference to the way schools show what students are capable of. Please talk to teachers who are recognising this quick changing world and see how else can we show what students abilities really are. This could lead to greater student achievement, increased skill levels, lower students suffering anxiety or low self esteem and help students to realise what they are truly capable and how they can make a positive impact on this world.


Magdalene Mattson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Last week I lead a training day to prepare my students to lead the school in a Peer Support program. The day involved a lot of discussion and a lot of brainstorming.

I couldn’t help but think how great it is, that a day can involve more than one brainstorm/discussion and yet students will be engaged, still share their ideas and enjoy it.

So thought I would share a few of the great online brainstorming sites:

You may have seen or used these sites yourself. I’d love if you share how you use them in your comments.

Not just for brainstorming, also a private chat room. Similar to Twitter respondents can only use 140 characters.

Really fun, can respond to a question and repeated answers are made bigger to stick out.

Personal favourite - It can big as small or as big and has a range of backgrounds.

Butchers paper (oldie but a goodie)
I think it’s obvious but sometimes it is fun to write on big pieces of paper (just not all the time)

This has also been around a while and we are all familiar the images that this produces.

Lucidchart Diagram (now in google apps)
Love this one - allows from different shapes, connecting lines, a lot of fun.

Mindmeister (in google add-ons in google docs)
A simple list, highlight and click. This will give you a mind map - not as much control as Lucidchart.

Please feel free to add more information in comments or share some of your own that I may have missed.