30 January 2017 | No. 02-18 | Download as PDF

To: QTU members

Directive to ban NAPLAN online in 2018

All QTU members are hereby directed to cease the implementation of NAPLAN online in 2018 (including readiness activities, trials and other preparations).

The results of the 2017 ballot on a number of questions related to NAPLAN were reported to members in Newsflash 13-17 (1 December), and Newsflash 01-18 (18 January). The ballot overwhelmingly endorsed issuing directives. Issuing the directives was deferred, pending Executive consideration and discussions with the incoming Minister for Education, Grace Grace.

Senior Officers met with the Minister again on 24 January 2018.

The Minister agrees with the need to review NAPLAN, will advocate for a review at a federal level and, in addition, will investigate the issue further in Queensland over the coming year. Some statements from her on reviewing NAPLAN are reproduced below.

On robo-marking, she advised that all states and territories had agreed that robo-marking will not be used in NAPLAN Online.

It is on the issue of NAPLAN Online that the views of the Minister and QTU members diverge. Hence, in line with the ballot in which over 20,000 members participated last year, Executive has issued the directive above.

Why ban NAPLAN Online?

  • The QTU is seeking a fundamental review of NAPLAN with the aim of ceasing the current testing regime and replacing it with something that meets the needs of students and teachers and does not distort the curriculum and teaching practice to meet the needs of the test.
  • This is a fundamental review, not a “tweak”, and there is no point in the further development of NAPLAN through NAPLAN Online.
  • Readiness activities, trials and the other preparations for NAPLAN Online add to already excessive workload for teachers. A fundamental review of NAPLAN means that work is largely for no purpose.
  • The current “trial” is not a trial at all. It is not a proper sample and simply defers the difficult issues about access to technology at school and at home, and about connectivity to conduct any test.
  • The QTU is not opposed to online assessment and computer-based testing. It allows branched testing and immediate feedback. There are any number of areas where it can be used without using it for NAPLAN.
  • No child’s education will suffer as a result of this ban but they will undoubtedly benefit from a fundamental review and replacement of NAPLAN.
  • A ballot in which 89% of more than 20,000 members voted to ban NAPLAN Online.
  • The directive provides backing for schools that might, as has occurred in the past, be bullied into participating in the trial against their wishes or judgement.

Further resources about NAPLAN and the need for a review are available on the QTU website.

Meeting with Minister

The meeting about NAPLAN was the QTU’s second with incoming Minister Grace Grace after a meeting late last year.

She said, “We have been using NAPLAN for ten years and it is timely that we review it. I also intend to investigate this issue further in Queensland over the coming year. I want to make sure that teachers have the time to teach the full curriculum, the right information is used for the right purposes and any unintended consequences are recognised and addressed.”

Areas to be part of a review include looking at research, examining how it operates in the Queensland context, and the views of stakeholders, especially about the impact on teaching and learning.

She also said that all states and territories had agreed to extend the trial of NAPLAN Online to 2020. “No school will be forced to participate in the transition to NAPLAN Online.”

Anti-bullying Roundtable

The Queensland Government has declared its renewed commitment to working with children, parents, teachers and the community to act on bullying and cyberbullying. The QTU was invited by Premier Palaszczuk to participate in yesterday’s Roundtable to contribute to an open discussion as the Government develops an effective response to this issue. Schools can and should play a part in any new plan to tackle bullying, but it is an issue for the whole community and must involve a change in culture. The QTU’s contribution during the Roundtable will be informed by concern for the wellbeing of students, teachers and principals. Follow news of developments on the QTU website.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union