NAPLAN joint statement to guide practice in schools
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 8, 2 November 2018, page no. 15
The QTU and the Department of Education (DoE) have reached agreement on a new Joint Statement on NAPLAN in Queensland Schools.
This statement sets out clear expectations on what should and should not be associated with NAPLAN testing and data in all Queensland state schools. (The QTU continues to work with the branches and associated bodies of the Australian Education Union to call for a comprehensive review of NAPLAN with the aim of fundamentally changing or replacing the testing regime and data reporting).
The release of the statement follows extensive consultation with QTU members and DoE stakeholders, including regional officers. QTU members are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new joint statement and use it to ensure that concerns about various aspects of NAPLAN are addressed at the school level. The statement’s main points are summarised below.
The Australian Curriculum is the focus of teaching and learning and there is no need for a specific program of NAPLAN preparation to be delivered in classrooms. NAPLAN is a point-in-time test and consequently, NAPLAN is not considered a fair, accurate or comprehensive assessment of the curriculum taught in classrooms.
Preparation and practice tests
Both the QTU and DoE agree that student wellbeing is paramount. The QTU has also identified workload implications for teachers arising from NAPLAN preparation and practice tests. To this end, the parties agree that there is a place for limited NAPLAN preparation activities related to the mode and conditions of the testing itself. There is a clear agreement that, as the NAPLAN website states: “excessive test preparation using previous tests is not necessary or useful”. Importantly, the parties do not endorse repeated or regular NAPLAN practice tests or the implementation of pre-tests to capture data to shape teaching and learning specifically related to NAPLAN.
Use of data
QTU members had raised concerns about the impact of NAPLAN data on the MySchool website and the use of NAPLAN data for a range of purposes beyond the tests’ original purpose. The joint statement acknowledges that every school in every community is unique and that, while teachers and school leaders influence student learning and engagement, many factors contribute to students’ performance in NAPLAN and in school.
In relation to the annual performance review (APR) process for teachers and teacher reflection on the effectiveness of their practice, the parties agree that meaningful evidence of student outcomes includes student learning, engagement in learning, and personal wellbeing and that these can be measured in a variety of ways. This being the case, evidence of student learning and achievement of the curriculum taught in the classroom is a better measure than NAPLAN data.
Recruitment and selection
The joint statement makes it clear that in recruitment and selection processes, candidates may choose to provide NAPLAN data as part of a range of supporting evidence of suitability. However, the QTU and DoE agree it is not essential that NAPLAN data be included, and promotion should not be based just on favourable NAPLAN data.
The QTU has become increasingly concerned about for-profit edu-businesses creating business models based on improving NAPLAN data or apparently helping schools to analyse NAPLAN data. The joint statement acknowledges that DoE does not endorse or approve programs or resources and notes that programs and resources selected for use in a school are a matter for consultation.
The joint statement on NAPLAN becomes part of a suite of joint statements developed in accordance with Part 12 – Teacher Professionalism of the Department of Education and Training State School Teachers’ Certified Agreement 2016. As such, any disputes arising from this joint statement will be subject to Part 3 – Dispute Resolution of this Agreement.
The Joint Statement on NAPLAN in Queensland Schools can be found at www.qtu.asn.au/naplanjointstatement