NAPLAN ineffective and outdated: public teachers and principals

Public school principals and teachers continue to see NAPLAN as ineffective and outdated, according to a new survey conducted by the Australian Education Union.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that a vast majority of principals and teachers are concerned about the impact NAPLAN has on teacher workloads and students’ stress and anxiety levels, without delivering any real results.

“NAPLAN is not fit for purpose in our schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

The AEU’s 2021 State of our Schools survey of public-school teachers, principals and education support staff found:

  • 73 per cent of principals say that NAPLAN increases teacher workloads.
  • 86 per cent of principals say that NAPLAN contributes to students’ stress and anxiety.
  • 59 per cent of principals say that NAPLAN makes no difference to student outcomes.
  • 62 per cent of teachers say that NAPLAN is an ineffective diagnostic tool for teachers.

“It does not properly assess student outcomes and achievements, nor does it account for the hard work teachers undertake to cater to varying student needs and ensure high quality teaching and learning happens in schools.

“Additionally, NAPLAN adds to student stress and anxiety, and teachers’ increasing workloads.”

Work by the University of New South Wales’ Gonski Institute had earlier demonstrated that NAPLAN’s competitive and high stakes nature is deeply problematic, with a one size fits all approach that is detrimental to staff and students.

“Assessment is a critical component of teaching and learning, and a new national assessment system must be an urgent priority for all Australian governments.

“NAPLAN should be scrapped and replaced with a comprehensive program of classroom-based and teacher-led assessments, along with sample-based testing.

“The union and its members must be consulted to develop a framework that puts the needs of students, teachers and parents at the centre of assessment.”

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