State, territory and commonwealth Ministers for Education have agreed that the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests will be conducted online from 2017 in an opt-in basis over two to three years. This means that student access and completion of both the NAPLAN and the Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) will soon be fully contingent on access to, and ability to use, the testing medium.
Recent Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) media seems to gloss over online NAPLAN trial results, offering a mostly positive account and overlooking issues that have been reported to WACSSO by affiliates. There is concern that the impending 2017 start date is too rushed considering that student peer groups are still at varying levels of digital literacy. On top of this, variables such as proposed flexible testing windows, wireless access and connectivity and other technical issues will skew the standardised results. Furthermore, taking into consideration that the Department of Education’s Standard Operating Environment (SOE) plan is yet to reach full completion (a result of low funding allocations), many schools still struggle to supply suitable hardware and reliable access to the internet. The State Government needs to make pivotal decisions on non-real time testing, two week test windows with increased flexibility and whether Year 3 writing will be conducted online or on a pen-and-paper basis in 2017. ACARA has identified the importance of training and development for staff in facilitating the transition to online. For this to be successful, teachers and parents need to know what they are preparing for. With the test date (May 2017) getting closer time is running out to prepare.
WACSSO calls for:
- State Government to ensure that all schools have adequate hardware and network infrastructure prior to the rollout of state-wide Online NAPLAN so that no student is at a disadvantage due to the testing medium; and
- expansions of digital programs in schools to improve digital literacy and ensure students are comfortable and capable of sitting digital testing.
For referencing and the full report, click here.