A big review of NAPLAN could be on the horizon after key findings from the highly anticipated Gonski review indicated too great a focus on periodic standardised tests to measure performance rather than much needed ongoing assessment tailored to individual student needs.
Just two weeks ago NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes indicated his support for the recommendations made by the Gonski review, agreeing that Australian schools need to move away from the industrial model of school education and that “all Australian school systems need to ensure teaching and learning is tailored to the needs of every student”.
Support from Catholic Schools NSW
Dallas McInerney, Chief Executive of Catholic Schools NSW recently also made it clear that he shared the Ministers concerns. But also drew attention to way that NAPLAN results are published and potentially misused.
NAPLAN was initially designed as a diagnostic tool for teachers, but the results often simplify complex school contexts. Often used as marketing tools by high performing schools, Mr Inereney explains that this is unfair to schools who serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds and have to do a lot of ‘heavy lifting’.
NAPLAN “here for the long-term”
Despite growing pressure and concerns about the misuse of NAPLAN results, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said during a visit to a research facility in Adelaide this week that NAPLAN is “here for the long term’.
The recent publicity follows a report released earlier this year by researcher John Ainley which drew on a data review by the Australian Council for Educational Research which found no significant improvement in maths and reading in the decade since NAPLAN has been introduced.
With many questions still remaining about what comes next for NAPLAN, schools remain under pressure to drive continuous improvements in student learning.
The Evidence Based Teaching in Schools conference, running on the 15th & 16th of August in Sydney will enable school leaders to better analyse student data and research to develop effective teaching practices, engage teachers in the process of evidence based teaching and measure learning impact.