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New minister faces old NAPLAN problems

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He hasn't been in the job two days but new Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan is fielding criticism regarding NAPLAN.

The AEU has referenced a report released earlier this year which declared that data from the 2018 NAPLAN is essentially useless due to the shortcomings in the online test and that a comprehensive review of NAPLAN and My School is needed.

The report, Problems in the Design and Administration of the 2018 NAPLAN, by respected academic Les Perelman, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor Walt Haney, Boston College, has found that the ‘incomparable’ data and ‘fatal error’ in this year’s NAPLAN online trial meant that ‘the 2018 NAPLAN results should be discarded’.

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that Min. Tehan must accept the evidence and agree to a comprehensive review of NAPLAN.

“The independent report is in on NAPLAN online, and it shows that the data from this year’s disastrous test is worthless,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The AEU has repeatedly called on the Federal Government to show leadership and take responsibility for the NAPLAN online fiasco.”

“This report, by independent world-leading experts in online assessment, said that the ‘comparison of 2018 results with those of prior years is, for the most part, a futile exercise’. This unequivocal condemnation of NAPLAN by respected academics highlights the urgent need for a full independent inquiry into all aspects of NAPLAN and My School,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“We are still waiting for ACARA to explain how and why the NAPLAN online trial resembles a smoking ruin, or what it plans to do to salvage this debacle.”

“Our members raised significant concerns about NAPLAN online, but unfortunately they were ignored by the previous Minister, Simon Birmingham. Now we learn that the 2018 NAPLAN online trial has a ‘fatal design error’ and cannot be compared with previous data held on My School,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“NAPLAN 2018 data must be set aside while the education community develops a new and student-centred approach to assessment.”

“Min. Tehan has the opportunity now to listen to the teaching profession and announce a comprehensive review of NAPLAN and My School. It was the AEU which first called for a NAPLAN review, and this call has been taken up by principal associations, state-based parent groups and some education ministers”, Ms Haythorpe said.

“A child’s education cannot simply be encapsulated as a number in a spreadsheet – we need a much more holistic assessment process which is connected to the daily learning that occurs in our schools.”

“The best form of assessment is the informed judgment of a teacher. Teachers make sure that the full range of factors influencing a child’s learning are considered when conducting learning assessments,” Ms Haythorpe said.


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