Naplan pro­gram faces test­ing time

TEACH­ERS CALL FOR RE­VIEW

The Advocate (Perth) - - NEWS - Kristie Lim and Aaron Cor­lett

TWO teacher as­so­ci­a­tions be­lieve Naplan is a “high stakes” test pro­vid­ing only a nar­row snap­shot of stu­dents’ ed­u­ca­tion and needs to be re­viewed.

More than a mil­lion stu­dents from years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will take part in this year’s test­ing from next week.

This year is the first time that some stu­dents will trial an on­line Naplan test, with au­thor­i­ties hop­ing that all stu­dents will test on­line by 2020.

A re­cent re­port by Aus­tralian Coun­cil for Ed­u­ca­tional Re­search’s Dr John Ain­ley found there had been lit­tle change in av­er­age lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy scores at any year level in any state or ter­ri­tory in the first 10 years of Naplan test­ing.

WA Pri­mary Prin­ci­pals’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Ian An­der­son said a full and in­de­pen­dent re­view of Naplan was nec­es­sary.

“Naplan has turned into a high stakes test with the un­for­tu­nate re­sult of nar­row­ing the cur­ricu­lum in many schools,” he said.

“The pres­sure of per­form­ing af­fects chil­dren as well as schools in a neg­a­tive way.

“In­creas­ing num­bers of school lead­ers, par­ents and aca­demics are con­cerned about the un­in­tended ef­fects of Naplan over the 10 years of its im­ple­men­ta­tion.”

State School Teach­ers’ Union WA vice-pres­i­dent Sa­man­tha Schofield said teach­ers were be­ing ques­tioned over their Naplan re­sults dur­ing per­for­mance man­age­ment con­ver­sa­tions.

“Naplan is just one test, a nar­row snap­shot and in­com­plete pic­ture of a student’s ed­u­ca­tion and does not take into ac­count the high qual­ity, broad cur­ricu­lum and learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that schools pro­vide,” she said.

“It’s es­sen­tial that as­sess­ment prac­tices are driven by the pro­fes­sion, for use by the pro­fes­sion, in or­der for stu­dents to gain the most out of their ed­u­ca­tion at school.”

Fed­eral Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Si­mon Birm­ing­ham said it would be bet­ter to con­sider any ma­jor re­view of Naplan af­ter the tran­si­tion to on­line test­ing was com­plete.

WA Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Min­is­ter Sue Ellery said the Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil agreed at its most re­cent meet­ing to con­sider terms of ref­er­ence for a re­view of Naplan.

Curtin Univer­sity School of Ed­u­ca­tion se­nior lec­turer Paul Gard­ner said Naplan was not the best way to as­sess stu­dents, as stu­dents needed to be as­sessed through di­ag­nos­tic tests.

“Any test looks at a nar­row band of skills and so teach­ers have a ten­dency to teach just what’s in the test,” he said.

Western Aus­tralian Pri­mary Prin­ci­pals’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Ian An­der­son.

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