Excessive time dedicated to teaching to NAPLAN

Data have indicated just how much time has been spent teaching to the NAPLAN maths assessment since the test was dropped for this year.
Jun 4, 2020
Too much time on NAPLAN
It might be better to have continuous micro assessment

Data have indicated just how much time has been spent teaching to the NAPLAN maths assessment since the test was dropped for this year.

In the month since NAPLAN was cancelled due to coronavirus, the amount of NAPLAN-related classwork assigned on learning platform Mathspace reduced by 94% nationally with Mathspace overall usage increasing by 46% over the same period.

Mathspace says students are better off without NAPLAN and moving to a more formative testing format would better serve them.

Mohamad Jebara, CEO and Founder said this disruption was exactly the impetus education needed to improve and move away from NAPLAN.

“While it’s too difficult to tell conclusively what educational impact the cancellation of NAPLAN will have given all the other factors COVID has brought on, I believe it has been a positive one. The issue with our education system is that too much valuable time is spent preparing for assessments such as NAPLAN, which instead could be focused on learning and development.

“Teachers may have previously relied upon assessments like NAPLAN to give an objective indication of how students are performing. However, we’re seeing that coronavirus is sparking a change in the way teachers think about measuring student progress. While these changes are no doubt disruptive in the short term, they present a great opportunity to accelerate the move to data driven approaches in the classroom. This will see increased student ownership of learning, and increased flexibility for teachers to deliver a more personalised curriculum to students supported by transparency of data for parents,” said Jebara.

Paul Haras, Head of Mathematics at a Sydney high school, said that Mathspace provided teachers with the ability to extract rich data on an ongoing basis, accurately tracking the progress of each student.

“This is a key feature of the platform that is equally powerful when applied in a face-to-face context or remote context. Students respond favourably to the instant feedback Mathspace provides to them, frequently increasing their motivation to re-attempt problems where they did not achieve full marks.”

“An important and valuable aspect of incorporating Mathspace into the teaching program is the visibility it provides to parents. Mums and Dads can see instantly where their child is answering correctly or experiencing difficulty, providing that critical third link in the students' learning: Teacher-Student-Parent. Mathspace enables remote learning to operate effectively and can, for many students, create a preferred learning mode for them,” concluded Haras.

Rather than focusing on summative assessments like NAPLAN Jebara hopes that maths teachers could focus on interactive lessons and teaching personalised classes that focus on the individual student.

Mathspace is currently working on a new product that it hopes will get rid of NAPLAN for good.

“We're leveraging the years of data we have on how mathematical topics relate to each other and using machine learning techniques to build a highly efficient adaptive check-in process. This will allow students and teachers to check-in on their Math progress across the curriculum in what we hope will be just 10 minutes every couple of weeks,” Jebara concluded.