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Calls for NAPLAN to be extended to every year in 2021

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The future of NAPLAN is under a cloud as education experts disagree on what form school testing should take in 2021.

The future of NAPLAN is under a cloud as teachers call for the national standardised testing system to be scrapped, while other education experts want it expanded to include Years 3 to 10.

Author and educator Majeda Awawdeh said testing all primary and high school students up to Year 10 next year would give schools, teachers and parents a clear view of how disruptions to learning caused by COVID-19 impacted students' academic progress.

NAPLAN was introduced nationally in 2008 and is currently sat by students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. However the test was scrapped for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

190515 NAPLAN testing connection issues outages Education students schools news Australia

Ms Awawdeh said extending NAPLAN to include Years 4, 6, 8 and 10 for one year would also mean the needs of students who missed out on this year's test would not be overlooked.

"One of the main concerns of parents is that they do not receive enough information about how their child is performing benchmarked against the national average," Ms Awawdeh said.

"Next year is the year NAPLAN is needed more than ever. Firstly, because of concerns about gaps in learning and secondly, because not many assessments are happening at schools this year."

Despite Ms Awawdeh's concerns, any plan to expand NAPLAN testing would face strong opposition from teacher associations, including the NSW Teachers Federation and the Queensland Teachers Union.


Both organisations have long argued NAPLAN should be scrapped entirely, claiming the current test does not serve any purpose.

They also argue it takes time and attention away from more productive educational activities in the classroom.

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QTU President Kevin Bates said NAPLAN already costs $110 million to run each year.

"The notion of testing every student with a test that is not providing any useful information just boggles the mind," Mr Bates said.

Mr Bates said any parent wanting to know how their child is faring academically following the disruptions of COVID-19 should "ask their teacher".

"We know what is happening in our schools," Mr Bates said.

The future of NAPLAN is due to be considered when an independent external review on behalf of all states is presented to the national Education Council on September 4.

The Queensland Government will be advocating for the replacement of NAPLAN as part of an agreement with QTU.

Mr Bates said a "series of failures" with NAPLAN - including problems with the implementation of online testing in 2018 - means the tests provide "no relevant data" set to compare student or school performances across years.

"We haven't had NAPLAN in 2020 and the sky hasn't fallen in," Mr Bates said.

"It puts paid to the argument if we don't have NAPLAN how will we won't know students are going.

"Our concern is for the longer term and we are preparing formal position of what a replacement assessment process would look like."

Source: 9News

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