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NAPLAN results brought good news and bad

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31.08.2019

This week's NAPLAN results, along with the Grattan Institute's report into high achievers and the teaching profession, were both important. But they stirred a wider debate about a range of issues that seemed to circumvent the very challenges they have exposed, including calls for NAPLAN to be abolished altogether.

NAPLAN results are under the spotlight again.Credit:Adam McLean

Abolishing NAPLAN, or reviewing it out of existence, would be wrong.

The NAPLAN results brought good news and bad. It confirmed a longstanding trend that has seen an improved performance at primary school level. For Victoria to be leading in seven out of 10 NAPLAN measures is to be welcomed, although we need to consolidate that trend and improve it further.

Results for secondary levels and year 9, in particular, only confirmed what NAPLAN has been telling us for some time. Students in these cohorts continue to struggle with no overall improvements.

In light of the results, Education Minister James Merlino made two key announcements.

First, he'll introduce a proficiency certificate for year 9 students. As he said this week, a "special committee will consult with teachers, parents and students, and come up with ideas to improve the relevance of the test for Year 9 students. The committee will consider a range of ideas including, for example, the introduction of a proficiency certificate based on student reading and numeracy results."

It's not a bad idea and I do hope it works. But what concerns me is that the announcement is focused on the test and not the harder........

© The Age