NAPLAN 2022 testing starts as students and teachers weigh up benefits

(Story and photo courtesy of the Northern Daily Leader May 12)

STUDENTS around Australia sat down to take part in the new look NAPLAN test on Tuesday, but some are still unsure about its benefits. 

For the first time ever the national test took place completely online, with students quizzed on their reading and comprehension on the first day of the testing period. 

Year 9 Calrossy Anglican student, Molly Carey, said she found the transition from paper to computer hard to get used to. "It was very distracting with all the other screens, you've got that bright light in the corner of your eye and you just want to look," she said.

While the first day of testing was relatively smooth, Molly said there were a few glitches which resulted in lost time to answer questions.Throughout the remainder of the week students in Years 3,5,7 and 9 will be tested on maths, science and writing.

Year nine student, Ella McWilliam, said while she thought the test was more appropriate for the younger age groups there were still some benefits. "I think it's still good to practice in exam conditions so when you get to assessment tasks and HSC you have those basic skills," Ella said."You can learn to focus, learn to block out distractions and learn how to cope in exam conditions."

Calrossy Anglican School principal, David Smith, said while data is crucial in tracking the progression of students, NAPLAN was by no means the "be all and end all"."It certainly highlights kids with needs, but with good teaching and learning we already know those needs," Mr Smith said.

"NAPLAN confirms what we already know, rather than illustrates that."With this being the first year testing was conducted online across the country, Mr Smith said he was unsure whether the data would be comparable to previous years of paper testing. 

Calrossy often compares NAPLAN results to HSC Year 12 results, but Mr Smith said they don't always correlate. "There are benefits. But do the benefits outweigh the incredible costs, are there other ways we can do it better? That's the question I want to ask."Results for the NAPLAN test are expected to be released in Term 3.