This review examined the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), its effectiveness, its unintended consequences, and potential improvements.
On 15 May 2013 the Senate referred to the Senate Standing References Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations the matter of the effectiveness of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) for inquiry and report by 27 June 2013. The committee called for submissions and published a total of 93 submissions. The committee conducted a public hearing in Melbourne on 21 June 2013.
The committee determined that the evidence provided in submissions, combined with evidence provided by witnesses during the committee's hearing demonstrated that the committee required more time to adequately discharge its reference and present a properly considered report. The committee's interim report provided a snapshot of the key issues, however did not reach any conclusions or make any recommendations.
Terms of reference
The terms of reference determined by the Senate required the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee to inquire and report into:
The effectiveness of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), with specific reference to:
(a) whether the evidence suggests that NAPLAN is achieving its stated objectives;
(b) unintended consequences of NAPLAN's introduction;
(c) NAPLAN's impact on teaching and student learning practices;
(d) the impact on teaching and student learning practices of publishing NAPLAN test results on the My School website;
(e) potential improvements to the program, to improve student learning and assessment;
(f) international best practice for standardised testing, and international case studies about the introduction of standardised testing; and
(g) other relevant matters.
Structure of the report
This report is divided into five chapters. Chapter one sets out the administrative arrangements for the inquiry as well as an update of the recommendations from the committee's 2010 inquiry into The administration and reporting of NAPLAN testing.
Chapter two considers NAPLAN's objectives and whether or not they have been achieved. It also provides a background to NAPLAN testing in Australia and why NAPLAN was introduced.
Chapter three considers the impacts of NAPLAN on students, teachers and schools. It then discusses the MySchool website and what effect the publication of NAPLAN results has on the process.
Chapter four considers potential improvements to the NAPLAN testing program that may contribute to improved student learning and assessment.
Chapter five examines international best practice for standardised testing.