NAPLAN online trials and studiesIn preparation for NAPLAN moving online from 2017, several trials and studies are being conducted in schools across Australia this August and September. ACARA is conducting an item trial, a scaling study and a linking study, while states and territories are conducting platform trial and readiness tests (PTRT).
The ACARA trials and studies provide information required to develop the NAPLAN online 2017 test. The PTRT aims to assess technical, school and student readiness for online testing.
Item trialThe NAPLAN item trial took place between 1 and 19 August 2016.
The purpose of the item trial is to evaluate test items that may be included in future tests. The study is trialling numeracy, reading, writing and conventions of language (spelling, grammar and punctuation) in a sample of schools across Australia.
This year is the first year the item trial has been administered online, with around 180 schools participating.
Linking study and scaling studyThe studies are taking place from 15 August to October 2016.
The purpose of the scaling study is to collect information about the performance of students in ACARA’s multistage adaptive tests (‘tailored tests’) to guide and support the development of the NAPLAN 2017 online tests. This study tests numeracy, reading and language conventions in a sample of schools across Australia.
The aim of the linking study is to ensure performance on paper-based tests and computer-based tests are comparable and allow the continuation of trend data across years (from 2008). All test domains (numeracy, reading, conventions of language and writing) are included in this study.
Information from the studies will also be used to pre-scale the online test in order to support the tailored tests, facilitating the fast turnaround of results.
Approximately 400 schools are scheduled to participate in the scaling study and the linking study. Initial feedback from both the item trial and linking studies is positive:
- Teachers noted repeatedly that Year 3 and Year 5 students who were reluctant to do the NAPLAN paper tests were far more willing and even keen to participate in the online tests.
- Older students who are familiar with the paper conventions of language NAPLAN test said that they enjoyed and were more engaged by the online test. In discussion afterwards they said they liked the audio, ‘there should be more’.
- In one school, after Year 7 students completed two tests (reading and conventions of language), they were keen to try numeracy [test] as well – and asked why they had not been enrolled in all three tests.
Platform trial and readiness testThe platform trial and readiness test took place in August 2016.
During August 2016, students from selected schools participated in a trial of the assessment platform for NAPLAN online (platform trial and readiness test or PTRT). The students undertook one or two online readiness tests, which included examples of the full range of NAPLAN online questions and a separate writing test.
The PTRT is a ‘practice run’ of the NAPLAN online platform, providing an opportunity for schools to check whether there is suitable bandwidth capacity, wireless connectivity and whether students have access to a sufficient number of devices and are able to practice on the new technology-enhanced items.
This activity is being managed by NAPLAN online project managers and/or test administration authorities (TAAs) in states and territories, in conjunction with the NAPLAN online project management office.
Feedback from schools following the PTRT will help identify improvements required before the first online NAPLAN assessment in May 2017. Initial feedback from students, teachers, principals is positive:
- Students engaged incredibly well, were focused and later said that they really enjoyed the experience.
School Deputy Principal, Queensland
- …the technology format was positive and that the students were able to relate to it better.
Teacher, Public School, South Australia