Gonski calls on governments to dump NAPLAN
Gonski calls on governments to dump NAPLAN

‘Scrap NAPLAN tests and publicising results’: experts

THOUSANDS of students would no longer do NAPLAN tests under a radical overhaul proposed by a university body headed by former state education minister Adrian Piccoli.

Now director of the Gonski Institute of Education at the University of NSW, Prof Piccoli has recommended only a "random sample" of students take the test each year to reduce pressure on schools, teachers and kids.

experts say NAPLAN has “limited value” for teachers trying to help kids
experts say NAPLAN has “limited value” for teachers trying to help kids

He also wants to scrap publishing all results on the My School website, a suggestion condemned by some parents.

In a submission to the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) review of NAPLAN, the institute argued the four month "lag time" between students completing NAPLAN tests and schools getting results meant it did not help teachers identify knowledge gaps in the classroom.

Prof Piccoli, who was education minister for six years until leaving politics in 2017, said he supported a national testing system but recommended a "better approach".

Gonski director Professor Adrian Piccoli. Picture Kym Smith
Gonski director Professor Adrian Piccoli. Picture Kym Smith

"We want the current tests, where every student is tested in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, replaced with a sample-based test of students," he said.

"This new approach would mean the publication of school-by-school results on the My School website will no longer be possible.

"As a result, the high stakes nature of the current national assessment program on both students and teachers would be dramatically reduced."

Prof Piccoli said there was growing evidence NAPLAN has a negative impact on schools, teachers and students.

The submission outlined Gonski's concerns that the pressures to "teach to the test" were narrowing the curriculum and surpassing the potential to produce lessons based on problems identified through test results.

It said publishing NAPLAN scores on the My School website made the tests "high stakes" for schools rather than a helpful learning tool.

Pressures to “teach to the test” are narrowing the curriculum
Pressures to “teach to the test” are narrowing the curriculum

But the Australian Parents Council has argued strongly against scrapping the reporting of NAPLAN scores in their own submission to COAG.

APC chair Shelley Hill said it would be better to manage data use than "deprive parents" of information about their child's school.

"For parents, it's the only independent source of data that validates what they get from the school," she said.

Ms Hill said the majority of schools and teachers kept NAPLAN in perspective.