At the beginning of Term 4, a research report into the move to shift NAPLAN to an online test highlighted the significant problems with the proposal, including the flawed idea to introduce 'robot marking' of students' extended writing tasks (see p17-18 of report).

The report comes on the back of a decision of the AEU Federal Executive to withdraw the union's support for NAPLAN Online - a position endorsed by our Victorian branch. You can read the Victorian Branch Joint Primary and Secondary Council resolution on NAPLAN Online here, and on robot marking here.

Every state and territory branch of the AEU has endorsed this move on the basis that NAPLAN Online is educationally unsound and will significantly disadvantage students and schools in Victoria by:

  • Reinforcing existing inequity because of unequal access to computer technology (including insufficient ICT hardware and inadequate bandwidth) for students from lower socio-economic, rural, and regional communities.
  • Inappropriately requiring children in the early years of schooling to complete NAPLAN testing online.
  • Further adding pressure on teachers to 'teach to the test', including developing and implementing  NAPLAN Online preparation programs addressing student ICT skills for the specific purpose of undertaking online testing.
  • Seeking to introduce computer-based marking of students’ written prose responses.
  • Disrupting the educational program of schools for the duration of the two week testing period.

Consistent with the national AEU approach we are calling on the Andrews government to follow up their decision to withdraw from the 2017 NAPLAN online trial, and defer any involvement in the roll out of NAPLAN online until at least 2020.

AEU branches around the country are requesting the same of their state or territory governments.

The AEU focus on NAPLAN Online is one element of broader concerns about the negative impacts of NAPLAN on students, teachers and our public schools.

Even without an online process, the current NAPLAN system is deeply flawed. Moving to an online process will entrench those flaws and foster new ones.

Over the coming months we will have much more to say about NAPLAN. We are keen to hear the views of members about the impact of NAPLAN on their students, their teaching and their school through regional meetings, workplace visits and via your organiser.
Look out too for the next edition of AEU News, which will feature a range of research and analysis of NAPLAN.

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