NAPLAN must go

25 February 2020

The national report into the debacle behind the 2019 NAPLAN online testing regime has shown that after a decade of NAPLAN it is time for it to go, and be replaced by an assessment mechanism that puts teaching and learning at its heart.

Today’s NAPLAN 2019 National Report confirmed earlier criticisms that the data from the test was compromised due to connectivity issues experienced by many students taking the test.

According to the report:

"The NAPLAN 2019 National Report presents the combined results (online and paper) to allow year-to-year comparisons. During transition years, online test results are equated with the paper tests. Results for both the tests are reported on the same NAPLAN assessment scale. NAPLAN results, however, should always be interpreted with care. This is particularly the case this year as some students experienced disruptions due to connectivity issues."[1]

Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the lack of credibility that has plagued NAPLAN for many years meant that “the Commonwealth had no real option but to replace NAPLAN completely.”

“This report proves that it is past time for NAPLAN to be scrapped,” Ms Haythorpe said. “The teaching profession has raised significant concerns over NAPLAN 2019, and its results and their concerns have been borne out by the findings of this final report.”

“As ACARA’s own report acknowledges, this means that the NAPLAN dataset data is now so seriously compromised it cannot be relied upon by education departments, schools, parents, or the broader community,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe said that it was time for the Morrison Government to take responsibility for the mess it has made of NAPLAN, and join the existing state-and-territory-led review into NAPLAN which is already underway.

“There is a growing consensus that NAPLAN has got to go,” Ms Haythorpe said. “While federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has refused to undertake a comprehensive review of NAPLAN, the New South Wales, Queensland, ACT and Victorian governments are already conducting their own review due to report later this year.”

“The fact that school authorities with a combined responsibility for more than three quarters of all students in Australia acknowledge the problem with NAPLAN, when Mr Tehan does not, is a continuing source of embarrassment for the Morrison Government,” Ms Haythorpe said.

MEDIA CONTACT: NICK BUCHAN, 0418 288 104



[1] Bolded text added for clarity