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NAPLAN distorts education: Greens call for national overhaul

Media Release
Penny Wright 11 May 2015

The Australian Greens are calling for drastic changes to the annual NAPLAN tests, which begin again tomorrow, saying the scheme undermines quality education.

Spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright said research has shown the tests are narrowing the curriculum, discouraging creativity and placing too much pressure on students and schools.

"More and more class time is being spent on NAPLAN coaching and parents are withdrawing their kids at record rates," Senator Wright said.

"It's clearly time to acknowledge this isn't working as planned and start doing something about it."

Senator Wright said the tests could be improved by examining a broader range of subjects and skills and by removing the whole-school scores from the MySchool website.

"The hyper-competitive environment created by the MySchool site has distracted from student needs," Senator Wright said.

"It has turned NAPLAN into a high-stakes test with very little public or private benefit."

"NAPLAN tests such a tiny area of the curriculum and very few student skills, but the publicity around school rankings is distorting what we value in education.

"Because it's easier to mark a multiple choice test, a tick-a-box style of learning is creeping back in, at the expense of creativity and real-world application.

"Most teachers say NAPLAN only tells them what they already know from working with these kids every day - yet we see a ridiculously pressured atmosphere where more than two-thirds of principals think the tests actually damage student wellbeing."

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