Australian parents have supported the move to online NAPLAN testing for school students from 2016.
Last month, Education Minister Christopher Pyne guaranteed $24.7 million to construct the online platform to demonstrate the Federal Government’s commitment to helping deliver the better-quality results schools, parents, teachers and students will see from online NAPLAN tests.
Australian Parents Council Executive Director, Ian Dalton, told Education Matters parents were pleased with the move to online NAPLAN testing as it will provide the capacity for students to be tested according to their level of ability and faster availability of results means that remedial programs can be put into place more quickly.
“Generally parents like NAPLAN because they like to get as much information as they can about how their children are going at school – and NAPLAN fits that bill,” Dalton said. “But the main concern that parents have is the debate surrounding NAPLAN in the media. Obviously we would prefer that it returned to what it is intended to do – and that is to provide a good diagnostic tool to see how students are going in general.”
Dalton said the Australian Parents Council will continue to advocate for greater parental engagement in schools, particularly regarding issues like NAPLAN and the Australian Curriculum.
“There needs to be some sort of resourcing provided to parents so they can get an understanding of what their children will be learning at the different stages of schooling so they can better support what their children are doing at school,” Dalton said. “And with that information then they’re in a better position to have a better level of conversation with their children’s teachers.
“The only problem is that there is still a mindset out there that parental engagement means involving parents with what schools do, where as our view is parental engagement education needs to start from day one and everything that the parent does from that day on will set their child up to be a learner.
“I think the other thing is that there’s still a lot of work to do with regard to really embedding parental engagement as a feature of the Australian schooling culture. It’s still sort of sitting there as a nice idea but a lot of people still don’t know what to put into effect. There are a lot of schools that think they’re doing parental engagement but when you have a look at what they’re doing it’s not parental engagement as it’s intended to be.”
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is due to release the 2014 NAPLAN National Report in early December.