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Five things we wouldn’t know without NAPLAN

The Grattan Institute’s Peter Goss writes in The Conversation (15.5.18) that, while we may need to rethink how we use NAPLAN, it is still an important and useful tool for researchers and policy makers.

‘NAPLAN, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, has been a prominent part of Australia’s education landscape since 2008, when it was introduced by then Education Minister Julia Gillard.

‘It’s a controversial test, lauded by some but disliked by many.

‘Ten years on, the role of NAPLAN is under question, with some arguing it should be dropped entirely. Here’s why it’s a vital navigation tool for policy makers and researchers.

‘… NAPLAN is an imperfect navigation tool. It certainly doesn’t have GPS-like levels of precision. But giving up on NAPLAN would be like 19th-century sailors dumping sextants and chronometers in favour of returning to using the stars, wind and currents to navigate.

‘Maybe we need to rethink how NAPLAN is used, but overall, it should be kept.’

Let’s abandon NAPLAN – we can do better

Nan Bahr and Donna Prendergast write in The Conversation (16.5.18) that getting rid of NAPLAN would allow teachers more time to respond to and address the elarning needs of their students, rather than teaching to the test.

‘The National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy sounds like it ought to improve literacy and numeracy. But it hasn’t.

‘Instead, it has been somewhat of a distraction for teachers, students and communities.

‘Since it’s clear NAPLAN hasn’t been an outrageous success, we suggest we ought to rest the program and adopt more continuous teacher-led evaluation methods that enable teachers to respond directly to students.

‘… Our teachers have the professional skills to understand and address the needs of the students in their classes. We need to kill the distractions and allow teachers to do what they do best.’

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