NAPLAN a flawed measurement, review needed: COGSO


Sir – COGSO is calling for an immediate national review of NAPLAN testing and assessment.
After 10 years of NAPLAN it is timely that a full review commences immediately as NAPLAN has proven to be a flawed measurement and is limited in its usefulness.
We would be far better off with the millions of dollars it costs to roll NAPLAN out across the country were reinvested into our schools.
A significant amount of teaching time is spent every year preparing students for this flawed test. A test which asks questions about summer, winter, spring and autumn and on catching trains for public transport.
Where is the relevance for our NT students in that?
Having practice tests in Term One which are ramped up in Term Two, only for results to be released so late in the school year makes the whole NAPLAN exercise a waste of time and detracts from core curriculum teaching and learning time in classrooms.
Developing literacy and numeracy skills comes from being exposed to a rich, full curriculum through reading and writing in all areas of the curriculum including science, the arts, history and geography.
NAPLAN testing is focused on Maths and English only. Despite a decade of ongoing concerns of peak parent bodies and school staff, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) this year launched online testing.
ACARA CEO Robert Randall wrote to parents promising this: “Regardless of whether your child takes NAPLAN online or on paper, the results will be comparable with those of other students and from previous years.”
We now find out ACARA is not able to compare paper and online results and the test data may be invalid. This is of real concern as the NT is scheduled to transition to online testing in 2019.
It is time for Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, to ensure funds are a priority for infrastructure to deliver quality internet services and capacity for remote NT schools with low or no bandwidth.
Assessments are moving to online and our remote students deserve access and not be left behind.
ACARA is right to be concerned for their reputation. Their claims of reliability, usefulness and validity of NAPLAN data will now be seriously challenged.
It is time for much more than a narrow review, Minister Birmingham.
Tabby Fudge (pictured)
President of the NT Council of Government School Organisations
[COGSO says it represents almost 19,000 Northern Territory families, their 33,500 children and the school communities that support them, in 154 public schools.]


  1. Clearly Tabby Fudge does not understand the NAPLAN test.
    Perhaps neither does COGSO (NT Council of Government School Organisations).
    The NAPLAN test is NOT about passing or failing.
    The NAPLAN has “No pass” and “No fail”.
    The NAPLAN test measures where each student understands the core education principles. Those seeking grade scores for students or teachers clearly need look elsewhere.
    This failing, when not addressed, reduces their capacity to learn more complex things they often are expected to learn later.
    NAPLAN tests are essential to reduce student fail-to-thrive rates in NT post-primary education.
    Each student needs understanding basic disciplines of literacy, numeracy and learning, their NAPLAN result is their learner education license.
    NAPLAN tests confirm each understands core basics, certifies each is able to proceed to find their own way further around Australian education where they can improve themselves with further experience.
    Many NT students fail their learner education license, yet are still pushed forward.
    Later failure to achieve remains a foreseeable result from their failure to understand basic disciplines of literacy, numeracy and learning in Australian education.
    NT’s failure to ensure these core education skills achieved ensures many students crash later due lack of core skills to understand enough to advance themselves further.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here