Essay on The National Assessment Program : Literacy And Numeracy

Essay on The National Assessment Program : Literacy And Numeracy

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The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), which is implemented by the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA), is a system-wide, standardised assessment program that measures high-stakes achievement for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across Australia. Rather than being focused on content, NAPLAN is a basic skills assessment program which tests the essential skills in reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy. Although many resources are available to teachers about the nature of NAPLAN, the ways in which NAPLAN improves literacy and numeracy skills for Australian students and what stake-holders should do with the data from the system-wide program, excessive debate continues to circulate within the education sector about the impact and usefulness of NAPLAN in Australian schools as a measure of student and teacher achievement.
Research in recent times implies that NAPLAN heavily influences the way teaching and learning is planned and executed in schools. Hughes (2003) refers to this type of accountability testing as backwash, explaining that teachers can too easily fall into the trap of simply “teaching to the test” in order for their students to achieve good results. Borlagdan (2014) claims that this phenomenon of teaching to the test can actually “distort” and “narrow” the content within the curriculum, by more time being spent in preparation for the test than actually moving through the content in the curriculum meticulously. Despite this research, ACARA’s info-graphic brochure clearly states that familiarisation is important, but drilling and excessive practice is unnecessary (ACARA, n.d). In addition, Barry McGaw, the chairman of ACARA defends that “NAPLAN takes o...

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... classroom issues that students are experiencing. They key to getting the most of out the NAPLAN results is to use the NAPLAN data in conjunction with other methods of assessment. If areas of concern were identified in the NAPLAN results of my students, I feel that I could use the data, along with their other assessment results to identify trends, compare their results, talk to colleagues to see if the same issue is common amongst their students and develop strategies and teaching plans in order to overcome the problems. Furthermore, the data could help me identify learning difficulties among the students and prompt me to seek the right strategies to help the students, whether it may be to add or change my current teaching strategies or whether it is to seek advice and resources from curriculum advisors, special educations consultants or other supporting agencies.

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