Students received a “white screen” while taking the NAPLAN writing test interface.
Students received a “white screen” while taking the NAPLAN writing test interface.

NAPLAN crash leaves students, teachers distraught

TEACHERS were left crying and parents have refused to let their children sit further tests after NAPLAN online browsers repeatedly crashed on Tuesday.

Hundreds of NSW primary schools experienced technical issues with the writing test interface after they got a "white screen" robbing students of test time as they waited for it to reload.

"The issues were of freezing, the screen freezing then a drop out, locking kids out and timing them out," NSW Primary Principals Association president Phil Seymour.


He surveyed his network of 1800 principals and received 342 responses yesterday, with 90 per cent of those principals reporting technical glitches with the Year 5 writing test.

"It is worse this year because there are more students doing the test online," he said.

The test locked them out because they were trying to access the platform on a different device.

One principal said: "For one student, we counted six drop outs however the time kept running while he waited for the page to re-load, costing him (and many others) valuable writing time," one principal said.

"One student was locked out of their test as it claimed that they were trying to access the test on a different device which was not the case."

Another principal said a student's work simply disappeared.

"One of my students lost an entire paragraph of the introduction to his narrative after a time out period, at the end of the session. He had to re-type it with only three minutes left of writing time."

Another principal said they believed the results from this year's NAPLAN wouldn't be comparable to previous year because students lost so much writing time to glitches.


Teachers also reported that when they tried to call Education Services Australia, the government body which is responsible for the test, they couldn't speak to an operator because they had been inundated with calls.

"One parent has already indicated that her child would not be participating in the rest of the online tests because he arrived home so upset," the same principal said.

"One of my teachers was in tears at the end of the day because she felt so bad for the kids who were constantly losing connectivity."

NSW Parents and Community Federation President Susie Boyd said they were deeply disappointed with the glitch after so many other problems with the transition to online.

"We are dismayed that ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) has continued to ignore these warnings and gone ahead with the rollout," she said.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said more than 350,000 NAPLAN online tests were successfully submitted on Tuesday.

"There are procedures in place to manage issues and tests can be paused, resumed and rescheduled so that all students have the opportunity to complete NAPLAN testing," he said.

"Online delivery of NAPLAN brings significant benefits including better and more precise assessment."

A NESA spokesman said testing went more smoothly yesterday than on Tuesday and they were closely monitoring the situation.

An ACARA spokesman said students could do the pencil and paper test as a last resort.

"Any inconvenience to schools and students during testing is regretted, and if technical issues are experienced in the coming days, there are procedures in place to manage them and ensure that all students are able to take the tests," a statement said.