Wilson attacks teachers’ test ban

The Queensland Government yesterday stepped up its attack on the Queensland Teachers’ Union for their proposed moratorium on the upcoming national literacy and numeracy tests (NAPLAN).

Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson said he had lodged a dispute notice with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission over the union’s decision to place a ban on its members administering the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy tests in May.

The union and the Education Department will meet for a conference next Monday at the Queensland Industrial Relations Court to argue their cases.

“I hoped that it would not have to come to this but the Queensland Government is committed to national testing taking place as scheduled in the middle of May,” Mr Wilson said..

QTU vice president Julie Brown said yesterday members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the ban.

She said the teachers considered the ban was “professional action” rather than” industrial action”, and so not subject to industrial relations laws.

She said the union was not against the NAPLAN test, but was against the way the test data would be used on the My School website.

Ms Brown said the publication of the test results meant a “league table” of school performances would be created.

Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said the way the data would be represented on the My School website would damage schools, and appealed to the Federal Government to meet with teachers about their concerns.

“The primary concern of teachers is the fact that nothing has been done to stop test data being taken from the My School website to create damaging league tables in which schools are ranked on test results alone,” he said.

Mr Wilson said the Queensland Government had never supported league tables.

“What we do support is unprecedented access to information and knowledge about the continued performance of our students and schools,” he said.

Should the ban go ahead, Mr Wilson said the department would use relief teachers to administer the test, a plan Ms Brown described as “strange.”

Ms Brown said the union covered relief teachers and they had also voted in support of the moratorium.

“I don’t think his plan can work,” she said.

The NAPLAN tests are scheduled to be held across Australia from 11 to 13 May.

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