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Senate inquiry calls for NAPLAN overhaul

Media Release
Penny Wright 27 Mar 2014

A Senate Inquiry into the NAPLAN tests initiated by Australian Greens spokesperson for Schools has today recommended substantial changes to the tests and the MySchool website.

"The committee heard a huge amount of evidence that the MySchool site has introduced a competitive element which is damaging student and teacher wellbeing and resulting in a whole lot of ‘teaching to the test'," Senator Wright said.

"As a committee we came to the view it's time the ranking and comparative functions for individual schools on the MySchool site were removed.

"The committee also thinks that NAPLAN needs some improvement as a diagnostic test - it's just not as helping teachers and parents support students as well as it should."

The Senate committee report recommends:

• The Government take a more active role to ensure NAPLAN results are used to help students and schools, not create league tables.
• Getting test results back to teachers and parents much faster (currently a 3-month turnaround);
• Improving the design of the tests to better accommodate students with a disability and students from non-English speaking backgrounds;

"The introduction of NAPLAN testing and the MySchool site has changed how schools are operating - it's clearly a high stakes test," Senator Wright said.

"The profound impact of standardised testing on teaching and learning also led the inquiry to consider whether sample testing would be a better option, but at this stage we're making recommendations to the Government for how to get the most out of the current tests.

"The Australian Greens are also separately recommending the tests be held earlier in the year and cover a broader range of the curriculum and student skill."

The full report of the Education and Employment References Committee can be found here.

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