Naplan program faces testing time
TEACHERS CALL FOR REVIEW
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.