Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Managing the Change

Managing the Change

From: http://www.nap.edu.au/online-assessment/naplan-online/managing-the-change.html

Moving NAPLAN to a computer-based environment represents a substantial change for schools. ACARA is working with state and territory governments, sector representatives and schools to develop change management plans and deliver information that will help schools prepare for and adapt to this change.
ACARA has identified a number of potential issues relating to the move from pen and paper testing to online testing, and is working through these issues as part of the wider research program into online assessment. As solutions are reached and decisions are made, these will be communicated to schools and the wider public. These solutions are being developed based on feedback from schools who have been participating in online assessment trials and in conjunction with numerous partners across Australia.
While there are challenges involved in the move to online assessment, there are also clear benefits.  Online assessments afford opportunities to provide faster feedback on student performance, as well as assessing a wider range of skills and knowledge.

Tailored tests

As part of the move to delivery of NAPLAN online, ACARA is introducing a tailored test design. Tailored tests provide a multi-branching test consisting of interlocking sets of questions. Students answer an initial set of questions and are then directed to subsequent sets of questions based on the accuracy of their responses.
Improving student engagement with the tests is one of the main aims of the move to NAPLAN online. Higher performing students will be asked more challenging questions and students who find the questions too challenging will be presented with questions better suited to their abilities.The tailored test is expected to provide better assessment of individual student achievement relative to ability.

What are the benefits of tailored tests?

The potential benefits of tailored testing for NAPLAN include:
  • Increases student engagement with the tests as tests questions are more aligned with a student’s ability.
  • Reduces the anxiety students may experience when exposed to test questions that are beyond their reach.
  • Provides teachers and schools with more targeted and detailed information of their students’ performance on the tests.

Timing of the tests

It is widely recognised that most schools do not have enough computers to allow all students in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9 to sit the tests at the same time.  Many schools would also experience problems with internet bandwidth in this situation.
To alleviate these problems, ACARA intends to change the test window with the move to online assessment so not all students will have to sit the tests at the same time, as is currently the case. Due to the nature of the tailored tests, the test material can be kept secure even if the tests are sat by students over a number of days.
It is expected that the tests will still take place in May.  May has been identified by state and territory education ministers and governments as the month that is most convenient for all jurisdictions.

Preparations for NAPLAN online 

In the coming months ACARA will be working with states and territories to establish a work plan to help schools prepare for the move to online delivery of NAPLAN. More information will be available in 2014 about the steps schools need to take to prepare for NAPLAN in 2016.
If you have any questions about the move to online delivery of NAPLAN, you can contact ACARA at info@acara.edu.au.