Thursday, January 22, 2015

NAPLAN writing test enhanced to include two prompts

This year’s NAPLAN writing assessment will have two writing prompts – one for Years 3 and 5, and a different prompt for Years 7 and 9 – instead of the previous single prompt for all year levels.

“NAPLAN is an evolving assessment and ACARA continually works to identify improvements to the assessment model,” says Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, General Manager of Assessment and Reporting at ACARA.

For several years ACARA has been looking at the success of setting one writing task for all students from Year 3 to Year 9 (from 8–9-year-olds to 14–15-year-olds). The change has been made following consultation with content and assessment experts, as well as with states and territory representatives and other educators and researchers.

These experts looked at data from the last few years, including the 2014 data when we saw a downward trend in persuasive writing achievement, compared to 2011 and to 2013, and concluded that the NAPLAN writing assessment would be better served by two writing prompts, one for Years 3 and 5 and a different one for Years 7 and 9.

“Having two prompts will enable better questions to be set. More age-appropriate writing prompts will better ensure all students have the opportunity to produce their best writing,” says Dr Rabinowitz.

The move to two prompts should have no impact on how teachers prepare their students for the NAPLAN writing test, with students still required to write the same sorts of responses. Both writing prompts will be on the same type of text – either narrative or persuasive – students will not have a choice of genre. The genre will be revealed on the day of assessment. The curriculum requires students to learn about imaginative, informative and persuasive texts. Through these types of texts students learn to write to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue.

This enhancement is complemented by the move to NAPLAN online from 2017, which will provide better assessment, more precise results and a faster turnaround of information.

For more information, visit the National Assessment Program (NAP) website.