Federation launches review of NAPLAN online

Federation has written to members asking them to share their experiences of the Department’s trial of NAPLAN Online as part of a review of its introduction.

In response to increased concern about NAPLAN testing and its move online, the review was endorsed by the Annual Conference policy decision, titled “The future of assessment and testing”.

The decision states at its core: “A new approach to assessment and testing needs to be developed as a matter of urgency.”

Acting General Secretary David Wynne said the identity of all contributors to the online survey or NAPLAN Hotline questionnaire would be kept strictly confidential.

“We are seeking input from members who have had any level of involvement in the trial of NAPLAN Online,” Mr Wynne wrote in the email.

“Please contribute to Federation’s review of NAPLAN online and provide details of your experience, the impact on your classes and students, and any concerns you may have about the process.

“The information gathered through the Hotline will be used to inform Federation’s engagement with the Department and NSW Government when pursuing implementation of our union’s policy.”

Members can contribute to the review in two ways:

  1. NAPLAN Hotline: Call 02 9217 2132 and leave a message of up to five minutes detailing your experience
  2. Visit www.nswtf.org.au/NAPLANonline and enter your information in response to three prompts.

The conference decision was based on Crossroads: A Green Paper on assessment policy written by Federation Vice President Denis Fitzgerald. Use this link www.nswtf.org.au/crossroads to read the paper.  

The policy decision highlights that conditions do not yet exist for a move to mass online assessment systems including NAPLAN Online.

To this point, Mr Fitzgerald wrote: “But a profit bottom line can be a dangerous thing and we should prepare ourselves for the march of the robots, cheered on by very well paid acolytes who will swear that these machines can mark tests as well as (if not better) than professional teachers, or to use ACARA’s Orwellian term ‘human markers’.

“As Hamish Douglass, one of Australia’s leading IT venture capitalists admits, we are not even close to having computer capacity to appreciate or evaluate human language and expression.”

“The future of assessment and testing” states the NAPLAN testing regime has:

  • failed to lift national performance as measured by global tests
  • failed to enrich the quality of teaching practice
  • narrowed the range and depth of what is taught in the nation’s classrooms
  • caused a culture of shaming vulnerable children and communities with a profound human cost
  • led to a decline in the educational experience of school children in the creative, performing and imaginative arts and in parts of the curriculum that are intangible and immeasurable but vital to the human and ethical development of young people.
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