NAPLAN and NAPLAN online

Curriculum and assessment are among the most fundamental aspects of our professional roles as teachers. Significant national and international debate has highlighted the impact of undue political interference in these professional responsibilities and the benefits that flow from letting teachers teach. Now is the time for the profession to assert itself in this space like never before. After ten long years of NAPLAN tests impacting on education and teacher and student wellbeing, we need a complete review of this national assessment program.

To this end, all branches and associated bodies of our federal union, the Australian Education Union, have determined to withdraw support from NAPLAN Online and call for a complete review of the NAPLAN testing regime. The QTU has now also determined through democratic processes, to use industrial strength to halt the further introduction of NAPLAN online if required.

Source QTU newsflash, 27 June 2018

QTU members undertook a ban of NAPLAN Online in May 2018, with the aim of drawing urgent attention to the need for a review of NAPLAN and MySchool at a federal level and to persuade the Queensland Government to implement a review of the impact of NAPLAN in Queensland schools.

QTU members were successful; the Queensland Government has committed to a full review of NAPLAN and other states and territories are following Queensland’s lead.

The QTU maintains that the NAPLAN testing regime has had its day, however the test continues to exist, so in May QTU State Council called upon the Department of Education to negotiate a joint statement with the Union bringing about real change, at a central, regional and school level, to the practices surrounding NAPLAN that impact on QTU members and the way you do your work.

QTU Executive met earlier this week to consider the actions taken by the Department of Education and the state government in response to QTU members’ NAPLAN Online ban, including a commitment from Minister for Education Grace Grace to the review of NAPLAN in Queensland schools. The QTU was involved in consultation regarding the terms of reference (NOW available on the NAPLAN review web page) and agreement was reached to commence negotiations for an enforceable joint statement to be presented to QTU State Council in August. Executive also considered the federal review of NAPLAN data presentation agreed to by the Education Council at its meeting in Adelaide on 22 June. 

QTU Executive determined:

  1. THAT the QTU NAPLAN Online ban be lifted in relation to preparation activities required to be undertaken by the Department of Education and the QCAA relating to NAPLAN Online in semester 2, 2018.
  2. THAT participation of QTU members in NAPLAN Online in 2019 will be subject to the successful negotiation between the QTU and the Department of Education of a joint statement on NAPLAN and the commitment of the government to act on the findings of the review.

This means that QTU members in schools choosing to move to NAPLAN Online may participate in:

  • QCAA training: nominations commence on 1 July for training to take place in August and September
  • School and platform readiness testing/trialling to take place between August and November.

14 May 2018 : The QTU has today released the results of a member survey regarding NAPLAN and MySchool. As at 30 April, the survey had 4491 responses from QTU members including classroom teachers, specialist teachers, principals, deputy principals, associate administrators and guidance officers. Responses to the survey are detailed in the Report of Survey Results however, some key findings are:

  • 46% of QTU members responding to this survey never or rarely use the NAPLAN student data. Over half (57.4%) find the data from NAPLAN either useless or barely useful in their teaching practice. 
  • 85% of respondents have practice tests conducted at their school in preparation for NAPLAN. Teachers feel the time used on this could be better spent elsewhere.
  • Teachers do not think that students’ experience of school is enhanced by NAPLAN testing. In fact 2/3 (66.6%) think that if NAPLAN testing ceased to exist tomorrow, their students' experience of school would be better.
  •  65% of teachers and principals feel that if NAPLAN testing ceased to exist tomorrow, their job satisfaction would be higher. 
  • Almost all respondents (94%) think that NAPLAN testing is not low stakes or light touch. 
  • 80% of teachers and principals said that the protections put in place to prevent league tables being published have been unsuccessful.
  • Teachers and principals are not supportive of NAPLAN in its current form with 78% stating that they think student outcomes have not improved over the past 10 years. Two thirds think that NAPLAN has in fact been harmful.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly agree that it is time for the government to have a rethink on NAPLAN with 93% wanting a comprehensive review into NAPLAN or national standardised testing to be conducted in this country.