Year 5 Student Attempted Suicide Over NAPLAN Test Stress, Principal Says
A year 5 student walked out of his NAPLAN test and attempted suicide, his school principal says.
The student was found attempting to take his life on school grounds by a teacher, Wanniassa School Principal Shane Gorman told an ACT inquiry into the tests on Monday.
The year 5 student had walked out in the middle of the exam and left a note.
"He was going to end it," Gorman said.
“People don’t realise the stress it puts on kids,” he told the ABC.
The student's mother insisted he take the test, despite Gorman trying to dissuade her.
"She wanted to understand where he fits with everybody else. I actually tried to talk her out of doing the test, as we're not supposed to do," Gorman said.
Gorman described the event as "extreme."
NAPLAN tests were intended to identify areas and schools that need additional resources, and The Inquiry into Standardised Testing in ACT Schools continues.
While schools may play down the importance of the standardised exams, they have been politicised said Doctor Paul Gardner, Senior Lecturer in Primary English at Curtin University's School of English.
Gardner, who has extensively researched the writing aspect of the NAPLAN tests, said the tests have become counter-productive.
He also said Government-instituted league tables and press coverage of the exams pits schools against each other.
"This causes competition between principals, and this stress cascades down to teachers and then students," Gardner told ten daily.
The tests are not beneficial to students, Gardner said, as they not a diagnostic tool and the time between taking the tests and results being released is too long.
"Children progress very quickly, and the results do not reflect where a child is at now by the time they come out," he said.
"What is the social benefit? They clearly create stress," he said.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
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