A new era for NAPLAN – but does it go far enough?

NAPLAN could be overhauled following an independent review commissioned by the Queensland, NSW, Victorian and ACT governments.

The review considered standardised assessment practices across the world, the uses of NAPLAN data, and the content and delivery of the assessment itself.

A number of recommendations were put forward, including:

• The current testing of students in Year 9 should move to Year 10

• The test should be brought forward from May to as early as possible in the year, so that results can be used more productively by schools and teachers. Students and teachers should also get results within one week of the test.

• The tests should move beyond literacy and numeracy to include a new assessment of critical and creative thinking in STEM.

• Substantial changes should be made to the writing assessment

• National standardised tests should continue as universal, rather than sample, tests because of the valuable information they provide to schools, as well as students and parents.

Education Minister James Merlino said it was time for a new test.

“I have always said we will need national standardised testing. This report clearly shows NAPLAN must be overhauled in order to be genuinely useful to our students, their families and our schools.”

But Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the review recommendations fail to address the fundamental problems inherent in NAPLAN.

She said it was time it was scrapped.

“The recommendations tinker at the edges of the problem with a name change, and by slightly altering the schedule and year groups tested. However the review completely fails to address the structural problems with NAPLAN, problems that triggered the review in the first place.