The ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Association has called on Minister for Education Julia Gillard to make available information on how students’ NAPLAN scores are calculated.

From the beginning of this school term, parents have been told by school principals the percentage score by which the school’s NAPLAN test results must improve. But  the group says that it has been unable to advise parents, or reduce their concerns, about how many more questions students will need to correctly answer to meet the percentage improvement target.

“In 2009-10 NAPLAN targets have shifted from percentages of students achieving benchmarks to mean achievement reaching a target value”, said Ms Elizabeth Singer, Council President. However with the new system of mean scores there is no context to the actual score; it isn’t a percentage out of 100, and it seems way too large to be the number of correct answers in a NAPLAN test.

“In the ACT budget papers NAPLAN targets range from 355 to 590 across age groups and different types of skills being measured. You can see why parents are having difficulty getting their heads around this; for example the ACT target means for Year 9 (non-indigenous) are 590, 557 and 583 for reading, writing and numeracy, respectively.

“How will parents’ understand the targets this literacy and numeracy program is aiming at and whether it has been effective?”