Some international perspective on the way NAPLAN's writing test is cast provides some pretty damning criticism of it.
In a report commissioned by the NSW Teachers Federation, retired MIT professor Les Perelman called the test “bizarre” and added that it contributes to bad writing habits as the emphasis is on learning big important sounding words rather than clear expression.
Perelman was instrumental in the abandonment of NAPLAN robot marking and this latest report might have the same effect on the form of NAPLAN testing itself.
"It is one of the strangest writing tests I have ever seen," Dr Perelman said.
"When I first examined it, I just couldn't believe it. It's measuring all the wrong things. It doesn't reward spelling correctly. It rewards using big words.”
He wrote that there was a "complete lack of transparency" in the development of NAPLAN grading criteria and that informational writing, which the most common type of writing, was not assessed
The test placed too much emphasis on spelling, punctuation, grammar, and paragraphing at the expense of "higher order writing skills" and the spelling marking criteria was "as concerned with the presence and correct spelling of difficult and challenging words as it was with the absence of misspelled words."
Perelman said material provided to markers on argument, text, and sentence structure was "trivial at best and incorrect at worst."
He even went so far as to write a checklist for getting a high mark which makes for hilarious reading, ending with “Never write like this except for essay tests like the NAPLAN”.
Dr Perelman’s Guide to a Top Scoring NAPLAN Essay
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