Teachers claim online tests fail students
The national teachers’ union has called on education ministers to abandon the rollout of online NAPLAN testing because of concerns it will disadvantage students with poor access to computers.
Schools across the country have been taking part in trials of online literacy and numeracy tests this month, including 280 in WA.
Australian Education Union Federal president Correna Haythorpe said many schools in low socio-economic areas did not have the capacity, technical support or resources to shift from pencil and paper to computer tests.
“This only serves to reinforce inequality in our classrooms,” she said. “These results will not show us learning outcomes, they will show us whether or not a child has had access to technology and how proficient they are at using that technology.
“We call on every State and Territory education minister to put the needs of every student first by scrapping the move to computer-based testing.”
State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said online tests should not be a priority when schools were facing budget constraints.
WA Education Minister Sue Ellery said any decision regarding schools’ readiness for online testing next year would be made this year.
“I am anticipating that NAPLAN online will proceed,” she said.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority chief executive Robert Randall said a three-year implementation would give schools time to build technical capacity to manage NAPLAN online.
Special arrangements would be made for remote areas that had problems with stable internet connections, including alternate technology and low bandwidth solutions. Mr Randall said moving NAPLAN online would lead to faster results and more precise measurement.
Bethany Hiatt, Education Editor