OK, so I’m not Catholic.
You can get the information here: http://www.naplan.edu.au/writing_2011_-_domains.html
Let me say straight up that I love persuasive writing. I love essays, I love speeches, I love editorials. I love persuasive language. One of my favourite units to teach is our Year 11 unit ‘Voices of Protest’ where students explore persuasive writing forms and techniques through a close study of a speech and related protest poems.
What I don’t love is the way that Stage 6 English buries imaginative writing within an Area of Study and Modules that are in reality oriented toward responding to the texts of others.
I also don’t love the fact that in the HSC, students in the mandatory 2 unit English are only examined on imaginative writing in any form in ONE out of the SIX exam sections. The way I see it, both in my teaching and through everything I have researched so far, doing so constitutes a ‘hidden curriculum’ that devalues student imagination and decreases the time teachers can spend on creative language skills.
At least we had NAPLAN, eh?
At least it was there as an externally managed assessment of student literacy and language that signalled the importance of the creative. The importance of imagination. The importance of the lyrical, the figurative and of imagining other worlds.
Not any more.
And so the message is clearer than ever – essays rule the roost. Get your kids started early on perfecting their persuasive writing, lest they struggle with HSC exams!
I challenge anyone from ACARA, or any of the Education Ministers who were at that MCEECDYA meeting where Narrative got the boot to explain that this decision had anything to do with ‘just mixing things up’. Anything whatsoever to do with providing a balance between persuasive and narrative writing in the assessment of curriculum. Because if they really do think so…well, it’s gotta be time to review the balance in the HSC, no?