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Streaming Rediscovered

Freda Biggs

It was 40°C when I entered the large suburban primary school to observe three early childhood students on teaching practice. The principal directed me along a seemingly endless corridor to the junior primary section but the classrooms were deserted. "They're out in the yard," a passing teacher advised and she was right. A couple of hundred six and seven year olds were standing in the sun while a teacher called out names from a sheet
of paper. The children grouped and regrouped obediently. I located the three student teachers clustered together under a shelter. "What's happening?" I asked with growing curiosity. "We're streaming them," one responded. Her face lit up with enthusiasm as she described the tests in reading, number, spelling and writing that had been devised for the purposes of assessment. A teacher appeared from the crowd and introductions were made. She confirmed that, indeed, the children had been tested for their abilities in basic literacy and numeracy and it was the teachers' intention to stream the classes into 1A, B, C and D groups according to test results.

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