NAPLAN (National Assessment Program- Literacy and Numeracy) is a testing period undertaken by students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN tests the skills essential for progressing through schooling and include aspects such as reading, writing, spelling and numeracy. Currently the annual assessment occurs in the second full week of May. The purpose of NAPLAN is to allow the government, education authorities and schools determine whether important education goals are being achieved and reached.
Currently the NAPLAN testing process is paper-based and will continue to be so in 2016. ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority) is working with NAP (National Assessment Program) to move the testing process to an online based system. Currently, federal, state and territory education ministers have agreed to move NAPLAN online from 2017, spanning over a two-to-three year period. The aim is therefore to conduct testing using a computer or another electronic device (ie. a tablet). The movement towards the online based system will bring new opportunities for students and teachers that are currently limited by the paper-based testing approach.
There are many benefits that will arise by the implementation of this system in the near future. The use of the online testing will allow for more specified and tailored questions for students, including those with disabilities. This means that students will answer an initial set of questions and dependent on their accuracy will be directed to subsequent questions. Students that obtain a high number of correct answers will be directed to more challenging questions and similarly for students scoring lower results, less challenging questions. From the tailored testing system, teachers and schools will be provided with more detailed information regarding student’s performance and therefore allow teachers to work with students to strengthen these weaker aspects. The online testing process will also reduce the time delay in providing feedback to schools, students and teachers.
Overall, the online based testing system for NAPLAN, will be an anticipated move and provide a more efficient and specified system, benefiting students in multiple ways.