Australian schoolchildren won’t complete the national NAPLAN numeracy and literacy test online until next year after all the country’s states and territories abandoned a trial over concerns about the system’s reliability.
In December NSW, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory pulled out of the 2017 trials of online NAPLAN testing due to logistical, technical, and geographic issues, NAPLAN co-ordinator ACARA said at the time.
Queensland and South Australia similarly removed themselves from the trials earlier this month over concerns about the system’s stability, and now Victoria, the ACT, and Western Australia have joined the list over the same techological concerns.
“The advice I have received means I am no longer prepared to commit Western Australian students to participate in NAPLAN Online in 2017,” WA Education minister Sue Ellery said a statement.
“My primary concern is to ensure students are able to demonstrate their literacy and numeracy skills without experiencing IT issues.”
Victorian Education minister James Merlino said the state wasn’t confident NAPLAN Online would be a “positive experience” for students and schools.
“The last thing we want is students being unable to demonstrate their numeracy and literacy skills because of technological faults,” Merlino said.
“While we firmly believe in the benefits of NAPLAN Online, I will not put Victorian students in a situation that could compromise their results.”
All Australian students will instead continue to sit pen and paper tests this year.
ACARA had been planning to test the online NAPLAN system between May 9 and 11 with 10 percent of schools, followed by 50 percent next year and the remainder in 2019.
But it today revealed the May trials had been delayed to next year, acknowledging concerns about the reliability of the online platform.
“While it is disappointing that the initial 10 percent schools in the five states and territories that had planned to begin moving online in 2017 now will not be doing so, we want NAPLAN Online to be successful for everyone,” ACARA CEO Robert Randall said in a statement.
“I respect the decision of states and territories to delay transition to allow more time to gain a greater level of confidence for the move online.”
He said ACARA was still aiming to shift NAPLAN fully online by 2019 for all states and territories.
“Preparation” for the move will continue this year, he said, with schools able to participate in a “practice of the technology, or a ‘readiness test’, in August and September”.
The annual NAPLAN numeracy and literacy test assesses the progress of students in years three, five, seven, and nine.