Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace in Budget estimates hearings
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace in Budget estimates hearings

Must try harder: NAPLAN body marked down

THE most senior education bureaucrats across the country have requested the national curriculum authority carry out extra work to prove online and written NAPLAN scores can be compared, as state ministers and teachers ramped up calls for a sweeping review into the literacy and numeracy test.

As revealed by The Courier-Mail yesterday, the heads of each state education department travelled to Canberra, where they were briefed on the 2018 NAPLAN data, and issues arising from trying to compare the scores of children who sat traditional pencil and paper based tests with the new NAPLAN online exams.

'Disaster' as results delayed

But the issue of whether or not NAPLAN data will be comparable between schools, states and previous years remains at an impasse.

State education bosses have requested the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority go away and do more work to prove students who sat the computer-based tests will no be disadvantaged when the national data is released.

It is understood further discussions will take place later this week about the comparability of the data, but Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace has said it is not good enough and a full probe into NAPLAN is needed.

"Unfortunately, although all the assurances were given that these issues wouldn't arise, we are now finding the directors-general are in Canberra to discuss concerns around compatibility of the written and the online tests," Ms Grace said.

Simon Birmingham
Simon Birmingham

"It vindicates Queensland's position, we believe after 10 years, and before we move to fully implement NAPLAN Online in 2020, that a comprehensive national review should be undertaken to ensure NAPLAN is meeting its original objectives."

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham last night said NAPLAN results remain on track to be released this month, and he accused the unions of mounting a "scare campaign" around the "extra precautions and consultations in place to ensure the first year of NAPLAN online results are rigorous and ready for public release."

Grace Grace
Grace Grace

ACARA released a statement yesterday saying it will continue to work with the country's most senior education officials to ensure parents and schools had their NAPLAN reports this month.

"As NAPLAN is in a period of transition, and this is the first year where students completed either a pen and paper test or an online test, extra attention is being given to reviewing the data and how the results compare between the paper and online testing," the authority said.

Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe said NAPLAN online had become a "disaster".

"The Turnbull Government went against the advice of the teaching profession in going down the NAPLAN online path and now we have reports of a million online assessments being invalid," Ms Haythorpe said.

"The NAPLAN test is a stressful experience for both students and teachers and the last thing they want to hear is that the results have somehow been corrupted," Ms Haythorpe said.

In 2018, about 200,000 students sat NAPLAN Online - or 20 per cent of the total test cohort - but Queensland had significantly fewer students doing NAPLAN Online because of opposition from the state Labor government and the teachers union.