Have your say on the impact of NAPLAN
Queensland Teachers' Journal ,Vol 123 No3, 13 April 2018, p15
At QTU State Council in March, Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace acknowledged many of the issues that have confronted teachers and school leaders since the commencement of NAPLAN testing a decade ago.
The Minister indicated that she wishes to examine the impact of NAPLAN testing and some of the unintended consequences of the regime. This is indeed welcome news to Queensland Teachers’ Union members, who have been raising their voices in response to these issues for years now.
It is also proof that campaigning and taking action can make a difference. The ban on NAPLAN Online has opened up an opportunity to advocate for changes to be made to the way NAPLAN data is used, and even to contemplate what the key elements of a revised NAPLAN regime or a replacement test may look like.
The QTU is surveying members to gather more detailed information about the impact of NAPLAN in Queensland schools. All members are welcome to participate in the survey as one thing is clear, the impact of NAPLAN is felt not only in years three, five, seven and nine.
Some teachers and principals have indicated that, in their school, NAPLAN testing is treated as just another day, that students undertake no practice, and the data is not a focus of decision making, reporting and conversations about student learning outcomes. For others, the impact is overwhelming, to the extent that it has driven decisions about curriculum and pedagogy, with NAPLAN data becoming a high stakes and very narrow indicator of student and teacher success.
The survey results will help us determine the best way forward for Queensland in relation to departmental and government policy regarding NAPLAN. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, please do so by 30 April. You can access it at www.qtu.asn.au/NAPLANsurvey
As May approaches and students once again undergo the NAPLAN tests, one thing is certain: the solidarity of QTU members and the advocacy of the Union on their behalf has shifted public perception and understanding of the impact of the regime and the urgent need for a review. If governments, both state and federal, wish to see the continued implementation of national testing, teachers expect big changes to be made to the way that NAPLAN is implemented and NAPLAN data is used.
Queensland teachers understand that good data used well can help us to be more effective. What is in question is whether NAPLAN is in fact good data and how we can ensure it is used well.