Tasmania's Education Minister supports review of NAPLAN testing

Minister for Education Jeremy Rockliff will support a review of NAPLAN testing.

About 26,000 Tasmanian students from grades 3, 5, 7, and 9, in government and non-government schools, are eligible to sit NAPLAN tests, which began on Tuesday.

There has been concern about the annual testing because some people argue it causes anxiety for students, and is not an accurate picture of a child’s ability.

The federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, has rejected a call by the NSW Education Minister, Rob Stokes, to scrap NAPLAN testing.

However, Mr Rockliff said while NAPLAN testing was important it should be evaluated.

“Assessments like NAPLAN are important because we need some form of benchmarking, to drive improvement and accountability in education,” he said.

“I do acknowledge though, that evaluation is important and we should be aiming to continuously improve.

“On this basis, I’m open to an evaluation of NAPLAN.”

Senator Birmingham strongly urged parents and schools to continue to support NAPLAN.

“NAPLAN is just one assessment that occurs at four different times during a child’s education experience, but it does hone in on the basics of literacy and numeracy,” he told media.

“It is valued by many, many parents.”

Australian Education Union Tasmanian president Helen Richardson questioned why the testing was continuing when there had been little change in NAPLAN results over the past decade.

Ms Richardson said any review must investigate the concerns raised by teachers and principals, and governments must commit to respond to any findings.

“NAPLAN is just one test, a snapshot, and on its own provides a narrow and incomplete picture of a student’s education,” she said.

“NAPLAN is a stressful process for students, teachers and parents, and the AEU is asking, after 10 years, is NAPLAN testing still worthwhile?”