Friday, April 24, 2015

Latest NAPLAN statement from ACARA

"NAPLAN is fast approaching, with the annual tests to take place on 12, 13 and 14 May. For some students, taking NAPLAN this year will be the last time they have a paper-based NAPLAN test. From 2017 (when this cohort takes the tests again), NAPLAN will be delivered online on an opt-in basis over two–three years, with all students to take NAPLAN online from 2019.

As NAPLAN 2015 approaches, we again start to hear the same sweeping statements and assertions questioning its value – in spite of numerous independent reports and parent testimonials declaring NAPLAN’s value.

2015 is the eighth NAPLAN year. Every year we listen to feedback and take steps to improve NAPLAN. Last year we chose not to release the writing genre in advance, encouraging the teaching of both narrative and persuasive writing techniques. This year, we have two writing questions – one for Year 3 and 5 students and one for Year 7 and 9. In 2016, NAPLAN will be aligned with the Australian Curriculum. And in 2017, the online assessment age will begin.

The debate about NAPLAN’s value is one from which we should move on. NAPLAN has been supported consistently by education authorities, policy makers, school authorities, principal associations, parents and students. NAPLAN development costs amount to a fraction of one per cent of education expenditure. The data we get are invaluable.

This is an exciting time for Australia’s assessment program as NAPLAN continues to evolve. The move online will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information to teachers and parents. We know some people want to continue with old NAPLAN debates, but we hope there are many more who understand the value and importance of ensuring our children have the foundation of literacy and numeracy in place. And if our children are struggling or need additional help, knowing this and seeking assistance for them as early as possible is paramount."

Robert Randall          
Chief Executive Officer ACARA