We welcome the opportunity to present our views to the NAPLAN 2019 Reporting Review, commissioned by The Education Council of the Council of Australian Governments. Our submission addresses the terms of reference on how to improve presentation of NAPLAN, but also draws attention to the broader debate on NAPLAN.
We argue that NAPLAN should not be scrapped, nor moved to sample testing; it is a vital tool for adaptive education systems to monitor student performance and improve government support over time. Governments and other system leaders rely on standardised testing to understand which schools are struggling or thriving, and what interventions work well and should be expanded.
We note that current NAPLAN reporting works reasonably well as a monitoring tool, but much less effectively for evaluating what works or as a tool to inform parents on their school choice.
We also highlight two things NAPLAN should not be used for. First, NAPLAN reporting should not aim to stimulate competition between schools; there is little evidence this approach will improve teaching in Australia.
Second, NAPLAN should not be expected to support teachers as a diagnostic tool in the classroom, even with the improvements to NAPLAN online. There are benefits in keeping separate the standardised assessments intended for monitoring and accountability from the classroom assessments that teachers use regularly to improve what they do.