Naplan Testing

acara naplanACARA has done some extensive work to get the Naplan testing up and running online. It has used the input from staff and students to improve access to and engagement with the Naplan testing and the results have been very positive:

“In NSW alone, 2,500 schools participated in the readiness tests in the past five weeks. Results from a survey of those taking part showed that schools felt students were more engaged with the online tests compared to pen-and-paper assessments. In NSW, with over 460,000 tests having been completed, feedback over the past five weeks has shown:

  • 76 per cent of students liked doing the test online
  • 87 per cent of schools indicated a level of confidence to transition to NAPLAN Online.”

It is important to match testing techniques with the people who are being assessed or you end up in that testing a goldfish to climb a tree meme we all know. Currently there would be many teachers who have not really participated in exam systems because they would have been assessed by continuous assessment techniques. The world has changed to technology and so there is now a disconnect between pen and paper and cognitive flow. Students have grown up with smart phones and tablets and so paper information is less relevant and accessible  to them.

We have yet to address the linguistic issues in benchmark testing in a nation where so many languages are spoken and English might be the second, third or fourth language of the student:

“In 2016, there were over 300 separately identified languages spoken in Australian homes. More than one-fifth (21 per cent) of Australians spoke a language other than English at home. After English, the next most common languages spoken at home were Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. Tasmania had the highest rate of people speaking only English at home with 88 per cent, while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate at 58 per cent.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The ACARA site explains clearly how it has gone about its preparations for moving testing online and it has very much adopted a consultative approach and  has provided plenty of online information and support for parents and other key stake holders in this process so that they can inform themselves and become a positive part of it.

Good standards of literacy and numeracy improve communities and the economy of the country. Unesco has completed plenty of research on that. There was also a field study research paper published in 1998 by the University of Nebraska : Benefits of literacy field experiences: Three views which concludes:

“We continue to alter our field experiences as we seek to improve
our teacher education program. Even though we each set up our field
experiences differently, we agree on some important tenets of field
experience. First, we think that being reflective about this process is
an important part of improving the product. Secondly, we think the
notion of practicing what we preach is particularly important for not
only preservice teachers to see, but also classroom teachers. And fi
nally, we think that preservice teachers are more apt to remember their
field experiences and learn from them when they are allowed to con
struct their own learning in a realistic classroom setting.”

This is what ACARA is doing. It is helping teachers , parents and students to construct a realist approach to benchmark testing in 2017 and beyond because the world has changed.

 

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