Naplan tests need review in the NT, schools

The NT Council of Government School Organisations is calling for an immediate national review of NAPLAN testing and assessment.

Council president Tabby Fudge said after 10 years of NAPLAN it is time for a full review.

“NAPLAN has proven to be a flawed measurement and is limited in its usefulness,” she said.

“We would be far better off with the millions of dollars it costs to roll NAPLAN out across the country, reinvested into our schools.

“A significant amount of teaching time is spent every year preparing students for this flawed test. A test which asks questions about summer, winter, spring and autumn and on catching trains for public transport.

Where is the relevance for our NT students in that?” asks Mrs Fudge.

“Having practice tests in term 1 which are ramped up in term 2, only for results to be released so late in the school year makes the whole NAPLAN exercise a waste of time and detracts from core curriculum teaching and learning time in classrooms.

“Developing literacy and numeracy skills comes from being exposed to a rich, full curriculum through reading and writing in all areas of the curriculum including science, the arts, history and geography. NAPLAN testing is focused on Maths and English only.

“Despite a decade of ongoing concerns of peak parent bodies and school staff, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) this year launched online testing.

“ACARA CEO Robert Randall wrote to parents promising, ‘Regardless of whether your child takes NAPLAN online or on paper, the results will be comparable with those of other students and from previous years’.

“We now find out ACARA is not able to compare paper and online results and the test data may be invalid. This is of real concern as the NT is scheduled to transition to online testing in 2019.

“It is time for Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham to ensure funds are a priority for infrastructure to deliver quality internet services and capacity for remote NT schools with low or no bandwidth. Assessments are moving to online and our remote students deserve access and not be left behind.”