1 June 2018

Assembly committee inquiry puts NAPLAN to the test

| Ian Bushnell
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Is standardised testing worth it? The Committee wants to hear from schools, parents, teachers and students. File photo.

A Legislative Assembly committee has launched an inquiry into the purpose, use, cost and impact of standardised testing, including NAPLAN, in ACT schools.

Labor MLA for Yerrabi and Chair of the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs, Michael Pettersson, said the Committee would also look at how testing affected teaching and how the ACT was performing against equivalent schools in other jurisdictions and over the long term.

The inquiry comes after Minister for Education Yvette Berry recently questioned the value of NAPLAN and aired concerns about its impact on teachers and students.

The Committee wants to hear from a range of stakeholders, particularly schools, parents, teachers and students on the implications of standardised testing.

As well as NAPLAN, the inquiry will cover the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS), and any other relevant standardised assessment models.

Under the terms of reference, the inquiry will examine alternative forms of assessment and reporting, such as A-E reporting; how test results are used to inform teaching on an individual basis and as a cohort; and the amount of time devoted to preparing for and conducting these assessments.

It will also look at the impact on student wellbeing and mental health, and on teacher morale and professional autonomy, as well as the efficacy of current testing materials.

The Committee will examine ACT schools’ performance compared to other Australian schools and similar schools overseas.

It wants to know how the ACT Education Directorate uses test data to inform policy and teaching principles and how test results affect school enrolment decisions.

The Committee will also consider the ACT Auditor-General’s report, Performance information in ACT public schools.

The Committee will hold public hearings in September.

For the full terms of reference and how to lodge a submission, go here.

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