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.
The Queensland review of NAPLAN has been completed and provided to the Minister. Informed by our 46,000 members, the QTU, having called for the review in the first place, will be active in providing advice to the state government during 2019 about the outcomes and subsequent agreed recommendations. In the meantime, a number of other major improvements have been achieved:
- robo-marking of writing tasks has been abandoned
- the federal Labor party has announced a national review of NAPLAN if elected
- A joint statement (October 2018) has been successfully negotiated with the Department of Education and implementation is being closely monitored.
Some key messages from the joint statement.
- Excessive test preparation using previous tests is not necessary or useful.
- There is a legitimate place for limited NAPLAN preparation activities, but they should be related to the mode and conditions of testing itself.
- Familiarisation activities should only be conducted in the vicinity of the test.
- Student wellbeing is paramount.
- The Australian Curriculum must be the focus of teaching and learning in Queensland state schools.
Two matters remain outstanding:
- action on the commitment to address the findings of the Queensland NAPLAN review
- an assurance that no school will be disadvantaged by moving to NAPLAN Online.
The ban on NAPLAN Online for 2019 continues until these matters have been dealt with.
Schools that have opted to be involved in the trial of NAPLAN Online in 2019 may continue to undertake time-sensitive activities required to ensure that schools will be ready. However, all schools should be aware that the ban on NAPLAN Online may remain for 2019, and/or the state government may withdraw schools from further participation in NAPLAN Online in response to unresolved concerns across Australia about the online test platform and its comparability with the paper version of the test.
Finally, it is important to reiterate the QTU’s position on online or computer-based testing. The QTU does not oppose these forms of testing. If NAPLAN is to continue to exist there may be advantages to moving the test online, but only if students are not disadvantaged.
NAPLAN survey results released, Aug 2018
Results are clear from the QTU member survey on NAPLAN: NAPLAN is useless for teachers; unnecessarily stresses students, families, teachers and school leaders; and takes time away from real student learning. It’s time for a full federal review of NAPLAN.
The full survey report, QTU member survey on NAPLAN and MySchool (PDF)
QTU position statement on NAPLAN
The purpose of this position statement is to address issues arising at school, regional and central office level regarding the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) within Queensland state schools:
NAPLAN and NAPLAN online: News feed
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