NAPLAN on a crash course

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - EMMALINE STIGWOOD

QUEENS­LAND schools are re­belling against on­line NAPLAN tests due to be rolled out next year.

One-third of all state schools set to run kids through mock on­line nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy tests last term, boy­cotted the trial, caus­ing doubt that they will want to do the real tests on­line next year. This year’s planned switch to dig­i­tal NAPLAN at se­lected schools in Queens­land was halted just one month be­fore test­ing day, due to con­cerns about ac­cess and re­li­a­bil­ity.

The tests went ahead in May, on pa­per, for all Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 stu­dents and on­line tri­als were to be held at 184 Queens­land schools in Au­gust and Septem­ber next year.

How­ever, 60 schools de­cided to with­draw or take no fur­ther part in the trial and there are now plans for a statewide vote on the is­sue by the Queens­land Teach­ers Union (QTU).

Na­tion­ally, the Aus­tralian Cur­ricu­lum As­sess­ment and Re­port­ing Au­thor­ity is push­ing for the on­line sys­tem which it says will of­fer tests tai­lored to a stu­dent’s per­form- ance and faster re­turn of re­sults to schools.

QTU pres­i­dent Kevin Bates said a de­ci­sion was needed now and should not be left to the last minute again.

“We don’t want the can­cel­la­tion of NAPLAN on­line to hap­pen next year in May. We want it to hap­pen now so schools can have cer­tainty,” he said.

He said there were still con- cerns about the on­line plat­form crash­ing mid-test, leav­ing kids even more stressed, as well as is­sues around all schools hav­ing an even play­ing field of com­puter equip­ment.

“We are not con­fi­dent there is a process that would lead to 100 per cent re­li­a­bil­ity and that’s what you need when you’ve got young peo­ple who are al­ready in a high-stress test sit­u­a­tion, to ac­tu­ally not be more stressed hav­ing the sys­tem crash on them when they are part way through their test,” he said.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kate Jones said she had re­ceived an up­date on the key events to take place prior to any im­ple­men­ta­tion of NAPLAN on­line at last month’s Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil meet­ing but no de­ci­sion had been made.

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