NAPLAN concern

There is always chatter about NAPLAN and its validity in measuring the skills of children.
Angst by kids sitting the test, angst by parents re the results and concern about some schools coaching kids in preparation for the test.
I understand that concern.
Statistically there is real concern about the validity of mixing results from 2 sources viz. written vs. online. Ask any statistician.
At the 12th hour, the NAPLAN national assessment authority, ACARA, is wondering just what to do.
What should have been done is that ACARA should have validated the methodology and gained support from schools before embarking on inclusion of online tests and merging results.
There should have been consultation and consensus before embarking on this experiment.
An expert statistical assessment would have probably raised concern about the validity.
It's all very sad.
Now (as reported in the media) there is the likelihood of reputational damage to NAPLAN.
A High School Principal (Ms Ross) described the mixed results as "it's a bit like comparing apples and pears, I don't know how you can".

I feel for the kids and parents affected by this NAPLAN crisis.

Its time to go back to the blackboard and redraft the NAPLAN methodology.
ACARA needs professional assistance to make it work.

Written and authorised by Bob Schnell, 10 Halmon Avenue, Everard Park 5035


  1. I understand the need to get NAPLAN right but as a parent of young children in a College within the Unley area I know of few parents who fret much about NAPLAN. It is one measuring tool, not necessarily the most important one. As for the Education Union, for their own dismal and predictable reasons, they take a set stance against any sort of analysis of how schools might actually be performing.

  2. Dear Anonymous, I share your desire to get NAPLAN right.
    It is just so unfortunate that this issue has arisen that is causing reputational damage to NAPLAN.
    If only there had been a risk assessment before embarking on this experiment of mixing the data sources. I studied statistics and can appreciate the concerns being raised.
    It’s just so sad that the validity of NAPLAN results is being challenged.

    1. I must totally agree with you about naplan. when will they get this skills testing right? there is always some drama. go back to 100% paper and pencil testing. no comparison between apples and pears.


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