August is when the NAPLAN test results come out to schools and parents. It isn’t as exciting as the annual release of year 12 results, but it is developing a life of its own. We are bombarded with media releases, claims and counter claims about schools and results. Cheer squads or jeer squads form up, the occasional moral panic revived, along with the usual exhortations to do better next year.

NAPLAN test scores have mostly drifted up over the years. This year’s news/panic is about the plateauing of these literacy and numeracy results. In the words of ACARA, “plateauing results are not what we should expect or assume from our education systems”.