NAPLAN is a national asset. With 12 years of data, gathered four times during the course of every student’s schooling, it provides vital insight into how schools and students are performing. Without NAPLAN, we would know much less about the results and effectiveness of school education in Australia.
Those who want NAPLAN scrapped should be careful what they wish for. If it were removed, teacher-generated data would inevitably be used for government monitoring and accountability. This would harm the trust that is so vital in teacher-generated data. There are benefits in keeping separate the standardised assessments governments want for monitoring and accountability, and the classroom assessments that teachers use to improve what they do. Dangers can arise when the two goals get blurred.
To improve NAPLAN reporting. In this submission to the 2019 NAPLAN Reporting Review, Grattan’s Peter Goss and Julie Sonnemann propose five reforms:
- Raise the national minimum standard or stop reporting it.
- Report NAPLAN learning progress using a measure that is comparable across students from different starting points.
- Improve the presentation of results on My School, in particular making it easier for parents to access student gain results and school trends over time.
- Strengthen the annual NAPLAN report by including more analysis on learning gain and by contextualising comparisons among states and across locations.
- Support third-party reporting that uses NAPLAN data by simplifying access to individual student data and improving the links to other data.