Your Say: NAPLAN - does it accurately assess your child's ability?


Have you received your child's NAPLAN test results yet? For many West Australian children the arduous road from pre-test practising, to May testing to now getting the results is over for this year anyway. Most results have now been posted.

The test is still highly controversial. The official line is that NAPLAN 'provides the measure through which governments, schools and education authorities and schools can detertmine whether or not young Australian's are meeting educational outcomes', according to the National Assesment Program.

According to the CEO of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Robert Randall in response to taking NAPLAN online wrote the following.

Educators have an obligation to prepare children not only for the world that is here, but also for the world that is coming.
— ACARA CEO, Robert Randall

But do you really understand what the test results mean for your child?

James Athanasou for the Sydney Morning Herald:

The way NAPLAN is implemented and interpreted needs readjusting. The results give parents a good indication of their child's achievements and, ideally, teachers could use the results to diagnose learning difficulties. The national results are made public; parents and children receive complex reports that do not really tell them why Johnny or Jane cannot read yet.

The above diagram in the NAPLAN website shows how the tests are measured. There are two important elements to how the results are reported - the scale and peformance standard.

If you have gone onto the NAPLAN website and had a read about 'scales' and 'standards' it's pretty confusing and difficult to understand. Even if you get a written a report for your child outlining where they rank, as reported by James Athanasou for the Sydney Morning Herald the reports don't tell you why you child is not performing or meeting standards.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that NAPLAN is an accurate assessment of your child's academic ability?