NAPLAN Online ban lifted - but the tide continues to turn against standardised testing…
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 3, 23 April 2019, page no. 13
The QTU Executive has lifted the ban on NAPLAN Online testing, following an assurance from the department that no school would be disadvantaged in the move to the online test.
Executive made the decision on the basis of the findings of the Queensland NAPLAN Review report, which has since been released by the government (https://qed.qld.gov.au/programs-initiatives/education/naplan-2018-review).
The QTU has written to the department to request the establishment of a joint working party, to commence in term two, to oversee the implementation of actions that the government has committed to arising from the review. These actions include:
- a review of the joint statements on NAPLAN and the use and purpose of data in Queensland schools
- a targeted communication strategy for parents, students and the school community
- a review of the School Planning, Reporting and Reviewing Framework
- clear guidance for schools on how to use NAPLAN results
- clear guidance for parents on the types of assessment their students might expect during their school journey
- a commitment to supporting student and teacher wellbeing during assessment periods.
The QTU’s actions in banning the online test last year had several positive effects, including forcing ACARA to back down on robo-marking, the development of a joint QTU/DoE statement on NAPLAN, and prompting the federal government to abandon the proposed phonics test for six-year-olds.
Since the ban was lifted in March, more than 200 state schools have confirmed their participation in the NAPLAN Online test, as an alternative to the paper version, for 2019. The QTU encourages members in these schools to provide full and frank feedback to the department in the lead up to, during and following the NAPLAN Online test.
Many hours of preparation, administration, load testing, readiness testing, practice testing and professional development have been undertaken by teachers, school leaders and NAPLAN coordinators in the lead up to the May NAPLAN test period.
While the NAPLAN Online ban has been lifted, the campaign to end standardised NAPLAN testing continues. The world continues to rail against standardised testing, which is often perceived as a high-stakes process that places tremendous pressure on students and teachers and pits countries and schools against each other, causing a range of unintended consequences.
The Gonski Institute, based in NSW, agrees, and in its recent submission to COAG called for the current census tests in years three, five, seven and nine to be replaced with sample testing of students.
Gonski Institute director Adrian Piccoli said: “NAPLAN and the publishing of results on the MySchool website has imposed a high stakes dimension to student testing, and this has led to increased student anxiety, teaching to the test and a narrowing of the curriculum.”
In a global trend away from high-stakes standardised summative testing, the OECD is also making changes to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, moving away from traditional knowledge testing, adding more problem-solving elements to the literacy, numeracy and science tests, and introducing a new social skills test.
The Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace has called on the Morrison federal government to commit to a full review of NAPLAN, as it is evident from the Queensland review that new and better ways of monitoring student progress are required. Federal Labor has committed to a full review if elected on 18 May.