Less than two weeks after the NSW Education Minister called for NAPLAN to be scrapped, the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, has vowed the controversial test is not going away.
Speaking at a research facility in Adelaide this week, Birmingham said the test was “here for the long term”.
“In terms of NAPLAN, as we stand here, in a world-class research facility, you don't get world-class researchers without them first having the fundamental basics of literacy and numeracy,” he said.
“It's important for policymakers to track where our education system is heading, and identify those who are getting the best possible outcomes.”
Birmingham added he would receive a report outlining the effectiveness of the test, as well as areas for potential improvement.
The Minister’s comments come as more than one million students sat the test on Tuesday, with one-in-five doing the test online.
Earlier this month, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes called for NAPLAN to be scrapped altogether, making NSW the first state to formally reject the test in its entirety.
“You now have an industry that's grown up alongside it, where teachers are being encouraged to teach to the test rather than the curriculum,” Stokes said.
“When you now have private schools marketing their NAPLAN success, that points to the failure of NAPLAN, and it's time we had discussions about replacing it.”
However, a new report by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) argues that NAPLAN should be retained because it has three major benefits: it is a tool to improve teaching and learning, it is transparent, and it holds governments and schools accountable.
CIS education policy analyst, Blaise Joseph, said the suggested alternative to NAPLAN of having a sample test would be “inadequate”.
“A sample test would not have the same major benefits of NAPLAN, could not be used as a tool to help individual students, and would not promote school transparency and accountability,” Joseph said.
“Moving NAPLAN tests online will have significant benefits, including providing more timely results to schools to facilitate earlier intervention and allowing for computer-adjusted testing that is tailored to individual student ability.”