Thursday, May 16, 2013

The future of NAPLAN

The future of NAPLAN as outlined recently by the federal Education Minister Peter Garrett.

More than one million school students will have their literacy and numeracy skills assessed when annual NAPLAN testing begins tomorrow.
Minister for School Education Peter Garrett said students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will sit tests in reading, writing numeracy and language conventions over the next three days.
“The 2013 data from every state and territory and every school system will help target more help to schools and students who need it, and provide a snapshot of how students are performing in the crucial skills of reading, writing and maths,” Mr Garrett said.
“This is the sixth year students will sit NAPLAN tests, making it the third time students in Years 7 and 9 will participate in the tests. This will help us identify improvements and trends over time.
“It’s also a good time to remind students, teachers and parents that while NAPLAN is important, it is also just a routine part of the school year. Students should not be placed under too much pressure and schools should treat NAPLAN as just one of the number of exams that students sit throughout their schooling.
“While NAPLAN is helping us ensure all schools get the resources they need, it is not a pass or fail test. Results have no bearing on end of year report cards for students.
“What NAPLAN does provide is an insight into the skills levels and further needs of students, which is of great value for both parents and teachers.”
Under the National Plan for School Improvement (NPSI), NAPLAN will be extended to include science literacy from 2016, Mr Garrett said.
“Sciences such as chemistry, biology and physics, and the critical thinking the study of science encourages, are increasingly becoming core skills that students will need to build careers in the high-tech future of the digital age,” he said.
“But we are seeing fewer students taking on more advanced science subjects at the senior secondary level.
"To help meet our goal of being in the top-performing education nations by 2025 in science, reading and maths, we need to able to track how our students are going in science as soon as we can.
"Having science included in the National Assessment Program would help us ensure that the national curriculum in sciences will continue to meet the needs of students into the future. I will continue to work with the states and territories on getting an annual science test included in the National Assessment Program.”
NAPLAN tests will also move online in 2016, allowing for a quicker turn-around in results and improving the tests’ diagnostic and adaptive capability. It will also limit the environmental impact of the tests.
Mr Garrett said NAPLAN results have helped governments deliver extra, targeted funding to schools and students who need more support, and have played an important part in developing a new and fairer school funding system under the NSPI.
“Before NAPLAN and My School we had no way of knowing how schools were performing in a national context. There was no single way of comparing school and student results and building a picture of what was working in our schools, as well as where we needed to focus more attention,” he said.
“Thanks to our reforms, we now have nationwide data which is helping us deliver fairer funding and to improve results.
“NAPLAN tests have helped us target billions of dollars in National Partnership programs to provide extra help to students and schools that were struggling with reading and maths, and the evidence tells us that these programs are making a real difference in our classrooms.
“NAPLAN results were also used by the Gonski review panel in its report, and in the design of the National Plan for School Improvement.
“Our plan will properly resource classrooms, teachers and students for generations to come and deliver better outcomes for all schools, all students and the country.”