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Put NAPLAN to the test: Greens push for Senate Inquiry

Media Release
Penny Wright 11 May 2013

NAPLAN testing must be reviewed and improved in light of increasing concerns from parents and teachers that misuse of test results is distracting from student learning, says Australian Greens spokesperson on Schools Senator Penny Wright.

The Australian Greens will this week move for a Senate Inquiry into the tests to examine any unintended consequences of the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy tests.

"As the Labor Government faces a big political test with the budget this week, school children all around Australia are also experiencing high stress as NAPLAN tests begin," Senator Wright said.

"But students shouldn't have to feel this way. NAPLAN was not designed to be a be-all-and-end-all assessment of student performance.

"It was introduced so there could be proper data about student achievement and to be able to identify and address educational disadvantage.

"Instead, we have NAPLAN training books on best-seller lists, young children having private tutoring for the tests and some secondary schools requiring NAPLAN results in their admissions process.

"The tests are causing significant stress among teachers and students so we really need to think carefully about whether this is the best way to be going.

"This will be the sixth year of testing - it's time to get all the evidence in one place and make sure the tests are actually benefiting students, first and foremost.

Senator Wright also said the use of NAPLAN data to compare schools created an unhealthy level of competition and took the focus away from students.

NAPLAN tests run from Tuesday to Thursday this week. Senator Wright will move for the Inquiry on Wednesday, 15 May.

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