NAPLAN tests for overhaul

NAPLAN, or the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, was introduced in 2008 to test the literacy and numeracy skills of students in grades 3, 5, 7 and 9.

All tests are held online, except for the 3rd grade writing, and schools receive the results in 2nd grade. Parents are expected to receive the school reports in July.

Students will be puzzling over the NAPLAN results this week.

Students will be puzzling over the NAPLAN results this week.Credit:one

The Center for Independent Studies’ director of education, Glenn Fahey, said several international tests use achievement levels to define achievement. “When we think in terms of competency, we ultimately aim at how schooling can improve the literacy and numeracy skills of all students in the system,” he said.

But Fahey said the new band descriptions were unclear, and that the better way to record four levels of achievement would be: over competent, competent, under competent, well under competent.

“This would be much more reasonable than the vague and potentially misleading labels ‘strong’ and ‘developing’, which basically mean being at and below acceptable levels, respectively,” he said.


He also warned that changes to reporting would make comparisons with results from the past 15 years almost impossible.

“The ability to track progress has been an invaluable feature of NAPLAN. Without the ability to track results, we’re left with anecdotes and pseudo-indicators of success. This is an unacceptable way of assessing the performance of an education system,” he said.

Jordana Hunter, director of the Grattan Institute’s education program, said there was a risk that parents and schools could get a false sense of accomplishment about how well some students are doing in the new categories.

Students in the third group will have fallen below the proficiency benchmarks, but the fact that they are categorized as ‘developing’ may confuse some parents and give the false impression that their child is developing well, when in fact the ranking is based on it indicates that they may need intervention. said Hunter.


At St. Aloysius in Cronulla, Acting Principal Sheree Rose said moving NAPLAN from May to March gives schools an opportunity to make better use of data.

“One of the biggest benefits of earlier timing is that we can focus the analysis earlier on the individual student and pinpoint knowledge gaps,” Rose said, adding that she hopes to have the results by the time the parent-teacher interviews are held by mid-2019 year will be available.

She said the third grade students prepared for NAPLAN by taking online practice tests. “They also really focus on narrative and persuasive writing. NAPLAN gives a snapshot of where students are sitting; but it is only one piece of the puzzle.”

Dallas McInerney, the chief executive officer of Catholic Schools NSW, said it was crucial “to have an idea of ​​the proportion of candidates who fall into each of the new levels. Because that will inform resource decisions and help put a microscope in the bottom quartile.”


“Testing earlier in the year means the results are in the hands of teachers sooner and there is more time to focus on where improvements are needed.”

In NSW, around 400,000 will be taking NAPLAN tests in more than 3100 schools from Wednesday.

NSW Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell said earlier results from NAPLAN tests would give schools earlier information on how a pupil is tracking and they could then ensure any additional support needed to catch up is provided.

“We also need to remember that NAPLAN is only one aspect of a school’s assessment and reporting program and should be kept in the context of other student outcomes and indicators of progress,” she said.

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Justin Scacco

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