EDITORIAL: NAPLAN is inconclusive
AN education expert has played down the significance of NAPLAN testing after the latest results showed Albury-Wodonga’s government high schools were being outperformed by their private counterparts.
New figures show Year 7 and 9 students at The Scots School, Trinity Anglican College and Victory Lutheran College were above the national average in maths and English results, while their equivalents at Wodonga Middle Years College, James Fallon High School and Murray High School were all below the par mark.
Professor Bob Perry, from Charles Sturt University, said the scores needed to be interpreted with “great caution”.
“All these public results do is give an indication of how the school performed on one day,” he said.
“For example, the weather could have been unpleasant that day and affected the responses.”
Xavier High School, Albury High School and Catholic College Wodonga met the national average.
Professor Perry said it was important for teachers to view the results in individual schools because they could then gauge how students were tracking and make decisions about what needed to be taught.
However, he did not believe schools should be compared based on the results alone.
“NAPLAN (National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy) is just one aspect of what schools do,” he said.
“There are a number of other aspects that are not available to the public and parents should not make judgments about which school they should send their children to based on those results.”
The findings were released by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority on the My School website.
Assessment and reporting general manager Peter Adams said results opened up conversations.
“It is quality data that parents can use to find out more about the schools and it opens up discussions between principals and parents based on facts,” he said.
The website also shows how a school ranks against those with statistically similar backgrounds.
“We have developed a concept where you can make comparisons between similar schools,” Mr Adams said.
“It’s fair to compare schools who come from a similar advantage.”
The NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Association Riverina councillor Jinette Graham said they agreed NAPLAN helped schools understand where students’ numeracy and literacy skills were headed but they did not approve of the public being able to compare schools.
“We are worried people would judge a school based on NAPLAN alone,” she said.
“It’s not just literacy and numeracy parents have to think about, they also need to know about the school’s policy.
“What they do in terms of child welfare does not show up in the NAPLAN test.”