Annual NAPLAN Report reveals steady performance, concern over withdrawal rates - Education Matters Magazine

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Annual NAPLAN Report reveals steady performance, concern over withdrawal rates

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The NAPLAN results of Australian school children have remained relatively steady despite a rise in withdrawal rates according to the annual NAPLAN report released by the Australian Curriculum Assessment Authority (ACARA) today.

The 2014 NAPLAN National Report has revealed that, relative to 2008 and 2013, student achievement has remained steady for each year level and most domains. It reported moderate increases in reading achievement, relative to 2008, for students in Years 3 and 5, and a moderate decrease in the writing performance of Years 3, 5 and 7s.

This year also marks the first time the progression of a cohort of school students that undertook the NAPLAN test from Year 3 to 9 can be tabled, as those that sat the test as Year 3 students in 2008, sat it for the final time as Year 9 students in 2014.

Following the preliminary report in August, the national report provides comparable data for the 2014 national and state/territory results for each year level – 3, 5, 7 and 9 – and for each test domain – reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy. It also gives comparisons of national and state/territory achievement in each year and test domain between 2008 (2011 for persuasive writing) to 2014 and 2012 to 2014.

This year’s report showed the level of withdrawals, where a student was deliberately kept from sitting NAPLAN, were at a record high. The withdrawal rate for Year 9 reading and numeracy recorded one of the greatest rises, up 1.4% since 2010.

Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, ACARA’s General Manager, Assessment & Reporting, called on parents to have their children participate in NAPLAN, and said all parties are better off getting the information the test provides.

“Parents who do not allow their children to sit for this test are not getting the benefit of a second set of eyes on how well their children are doing,” he said. “Schools are not getting that benefit, and the trends that we’re presenting are still 95%, which is normal attendance, are still fully valid but not as complete as they could be.”

To combat the rise in student withdrawals Dr Rabinowitz said ACARA would emphasise the value of NAPLAN test results and why they’re important, not just for the state and territories but for the schools and the students, and show how the information can be positively used.

“The best strategy for a school is to understand the value of these results and to make students comfortable as they sit for this test and not put undue pressure on them.”

ACARA’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Randall said although the results show steady student achievement, there are some great examples of sustained effort and improvement in school level results, which will be evident when the My School website is updated in March 2015.

Australian school students will sit their NAPLAN tests online from 2017 which has been touted to be able to provide better assessment, more precise results and a faster turnaround of information.

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