To NAPLAN or not to NAPLAN – that is the question!
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 8, 8 November 2019, page no. 6
Despite the decision by Education Ministers at the COAG Education Council to delay the mandatory transition to NAPLAN Online until 2021, some members in schools have continued to be pressured to engage in NAPLAN Online preparation and training.
Delegates at the QTU Biennial Conference in July resolved that members are best placed to judge if their school is ready to participate in NAPLAN Online testing and/or training, and that following consultation with members, Union Reps could seek a directive from the QTU not to participate.
At the time of writing, the QTU has issued directives to QTU members in six schools to withdraw from all 2020 NAPLAN Online related preparation and implementation activities.
In a formal letter recently received by the QTU, Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace states: “I respect the decision by some schools not to participate in NAPLAN Online in 2020 and there will be no pressure placed on schools to do so.”
It is thought that more than 800 schools are planning to go ahead and administer the test online in 2020. Members in those schools have requested a “low bandwidth, no bandwidth” solution to be released in time for school readiness testing. The Department of Education has confirmed that Education Services Australia will have a version of the solution ready to test by November. Following successful testing, the solution will be made available to schools for trialling during the March 2020 practice test, in preparation for NAPLAN Online testing in May 2020.
NAPLAN Tri-state Review
The NAPLAN Tri-state Review led by Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria will build on the work already undertaken or underway, including the 2018 Queensland NAPLAN Review, however it will not duplicate the outcomes or findings of this work.
The review will be led by Emeritus Professor Barry McGaw, Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith and Emeritus Professor William Louden. These reviewers met in early October to determine a way forward with respect to the terms of reference, however they will only be able to meet with Ministers later this year, in mid to late November. This will facilitate the release of a preliminary report by December.
Once the interim report has been released, a practical reference group will be convened and the QTU expects that it will be invited to be a part of this group. Additionally, the reviewers have been requested to consult and work with key stakeholders, including the Queensland Teachers’ Union.
It is extremely disappointing, but not unexpected, that Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has been highly critical of the tri-state review, while steadfastly refusing to initiate a comprehensive national review of NAPLAN.
In response to the public criticism of the use and misuse of NAPLAN results to compare schools and produce league tables, the CEO of ACARA, David De Carvalho, has flagged changes to the My School reporting website, yet to be considered at December’s Education Council meeting.
In a recent paper, “The Promise of large-scale learning assessments: Acknowledging limits to unlock opportunities” (2019), Stefania Giannini, Assistant-Director General for Education at UNESCO, asks “What will the future of assessment and the use of resulting data look like? How can we ensure that large-scale assessments do not continue to unintentionally constrain efforts to ensure quality learning for all, or worse still, exacerbate social disparities in learning?”
Members will be kept updated of the progress of the NAPLAN campaign via Newsflash.