Rich assessment tasksI get they need to have a way of showing the kids are learning the basics and I'm not sure what the answer is.
Real life activities
Short sharp focused testing
For education purposes, testing and assessment needs to be local (at the primary level). There is no need or reason for comparing a Year 3 child living in the NSW bush with one living in the middle of Perth, for example. Or a child in Hobart with one in the Pilbara. There is just no realistic comparison of what they know.
I teach in a disadvantaged school - our children come to us with few skills. They not only can't read, most have never seen a book. They have never scribbled on paper, let alone drawn a picture. They don't watch TV, because television is in English and nobody in their home (them included) speaks English, even if they were born in this town. They may watch some DVDs in their own language, but our languages tend to be minority ones and not shown much on SBS or having a large industry of their own. They are mostly toilet trained, some can dress themselves and about half know what to do with a sandwich.
And, in three years, these children are meant to be able to sit Naplan.
That's why we ignore it. We look at where they start, and look at where they've ended up. We make huge strides, but a good Naplan in three years is not realistic. That's just a fact.