Queensland teachers drop NAPLAN bombshell

 

Queensland state school teachers will boycott teaching and administering NAPLAN after a 94 per cent vote to ban the controversial test by the teachers' union.

The Queensland Teachers' Union yesterday revealed the overwhelming majority of 8,000 members who participated in a ballot voted to ban the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy testing "in all its forms" after years of opposing the workload and high-stakes nature of the test.

However, Education Minister Grace Grace warned the Union's longstanding opposition to NAPLAN should not come at the cost of Queensland students' education.

"This is a fight the QTU needs to take up with Scott Morrison and Dan Tehan, but not to the detriment of Queensland students," she said.

Queensland Minister for Education and Industrial Relations Grace Grace said the Union’s long-standing opposition to NAPLAN should not come at the cost of Queensland students’ education.
Queensland Minister for Education and Industrial Relations Grace Grace said the Union’s long-standing opposition to NAPLAN should not come at the cost of Queensland students’ education.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said NAPLAN was the best tool to understand the impact of COVID-19 on children's education and to inform how teachers respond.

"The Queensland Teachers Union don't run the schools in Queensland," he said.

"The Morrison Government believes parents and students deserve transparency and accountability when it comes to their education."

Education Minister Dan Tehan said NAPLAN was the only tool we have that could measure the impact of COVID-19 on children’s education. Picture: Sean Davey.
Education Minister Dan Tehan said NAPLAN was the only tool we have that could measure the impact of COVID-19 on children’s education. Picture: Sean Davey.

Ms Grace said the state government was "well aware of the problems with NAPLAN" after the latest review of the test recommended its replacement with a new, more expansive national standardised test.

As a result of the vote, the QTU executive yesterday issued a directive to all 48,000 of its public school members to cease any and all activities directly associated with the test for 2020 and 2021.

This includes participation in NAPLAN training and professional development, practice tests, school readiness testing, data analysis, and administering the test either online or in paper format.

"The QTU has previously outlined the many issues with NAPLAN … and these issues remain," a QTU statement said.

Meanwhile Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said private schools were preparing for NAPLAN 2021 and its full transition online in 2022.

"NAPLAN is an important tool to track the progress of student learning and the performance of Australia's national and state education systems and a requirement of federal funding," he said.

He said about half of all independent schools (109) were preparing for online testing next year, which "has required a significant investment of time and resources."

Centre for Independent Studies research fellow Glenn Fahey said NAPLAN assesses content within the Australian Curriculum so it would be impossible not to teach the core skills of literacy and numeracy,

But he said it would be students' test-taking confidence that suffered.

"Students not having had the preparedness in test conditions are less likely to perform confidently in the test," he said.

"So not only does it mean they might score more poorly, it makes it harder to get a more accurate recording of their ability which makes it harder for teachers to act on the results of that test."

Ms Grace said the state government would continue to "advocate strongly for the replacement of NAPLAN with a more effective and contemporary national assessment."

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Originally published as Queensland teachers drop NAPLAN bombshell


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