ACARA responds to comparability concerns of NAPLAN online results

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) contests that online NAPLAN results are delayed and flawed. Picture: Pat Scala
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) contests that online NAPLAN results are delayed and flawed. Picture: Pat Scala

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has responded to reports about the validity of NAPLAN testing.

NAPLAN’s online testing was questioned this week following reports of concerns about the comparability between online and pen-to-paper test results.

About one million students sat NAPLAN tests in May with almost 200,000 doing the test online for the first time.

ACARA stated it would work with The Education Council to have reports to schools and parents this month.

Chief executive of ACARA, Robert Randall, says parents, schools and educators should be assured that the 2018 NAPLAN results are on track to be released soon. He disputed reports that 2018 results were delayed.

“ACARA is preparing to release the results and expects this will be within coming days,” he said.

“In previous years, results were released in mid-August. As in previous years, the normal process of working with education authorities in states and territories to review the data prior to release has been followed.

“As this is the first year of online assessment, extra attention has been given to reviewing the data and ensuring it is comparable with previous years and between online and paper test modes.”

He says ACARA’s data analysts and measurement advisory experts have advised the data is valid and comparable.

“ACARA understands how important NAPLAN data are for the schools and families that use the results to ensure their students and children are supported in their learning,” Mr Randall said.

“ACARA is committed to ensuring NAPLAN is a tool that helps to help improve the learning of all young Australians.”

Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said a teacher’s assessment of their student was preferable to any standardised NAPLAN assessment.

“NAPLAN places unnecessary pressure on our children, their families and teachers and does not take into account the high quality, broad curriculum and learning experience that our schools provide,” she said.

“The best form of assessment is the informed judgment of a teacher. Teachers make sure the full range of factors influencing a child’s learning are considered, and conduct a variety of learning assessments.

“A child’s education can simply not be encapsulated as a number in a spreadsheet – we need a much more holistic assessment process which is connected to the daily learning that occurs in our schools.”

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