NAPLAN goes online in new trial

Holy Spirit School student Ashley Boswell, 10, trials the NAPLAN test online in preparation for the real thing. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Holy Spirit School student Ashley Boswell, 10, trials the NAPLAN test online in preparation for the real thing. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

SCHOOLS who make the switch to having students take NAPLAN tests online instead of on paper will have the results within a week rather than waiting months.

Holy Spirit School in Lavington is one of 300 schools in the country to trial a new online test, which has been initiated by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Principal Mark Mac-Lean welcomed the online testing and said it would make NAPLAN more relevant for students and their teachers.

“Research shows students learn from immediate feedback,” he said.

“At the moment we do the test in May and don’t get the results until about term four; by then it is too late in the year for teachers to adapt their teaching.

“We’ll be able to do the test and have the results early the next week.”

Students in years 3 and 5 yesterday trialled the online test, with Mr Mac-Lean noticing the students were more engaged.

“This is their world,” he said.

“The test is immediate, colourful and interactive and that’s the beauty of it.”

The authority’s communications director, Robyn Ziino, said the online system focused on tailored testing.

“NAPLAN online is about what a child can answer, which leads to greater engagement,” she said.

“Everyone starts on the same level but students who are progressing easily through the test will get harder questions and those who are having difficulty go to a lower level.”

Mrs Ziino said a key part of the online system was addressing some of the concerns people had about NAPLAN.

“The results will be given back to schools in a shorter timeframe and greater use of them can be made within the school,” she said.

Mrs Ziino said research showed children from all backgrounds — including indigenous and disadvantaged students — were more engaged online.

Mrs Ziino said she expected the online system would come into full effect by 2016-17.

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