The annual NAPLAN report was released on Wednesday by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). The key findings indicate that

  • NAPLAN results have remained relatively steady across year levels and subjects
  • there has been a decrease in students participating in the testing.

Relative to 2008 and 2013 student results have remained steady for each year level and across domains. In comparison to 2008, there have been moderate increases in student reading achievement for students in Years 3 and 5, while writing performance for Years 3, 5 and 7 has fallen.

It is of concern that the 2014 results indicate there was a record number of withdrawals; students who were deliberately kept from sitting NAPLAN testing. The report found that the withdrawal rate among Year 3 students was up almost one percent since 2010, while more than two percent of Year 5 students were withdrawn from testing.

Yesterday, the Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP reiterated the Federal Government’s support for NAPLAN and the importance of standardised testing.

“Without NAPLAN there would be no way of knowing if Australian students don’t have the foundations right in the key areas of literacy and numeracy.”

Dr Stanley Rabinowitz (ACARA’s General Manager, Assessment & Reporting) outlined that to decrease the NAPLAN withdrawal rate, they will place a higher emphasis on the importance of NAPLAN results for States and Territories, as well as schools and students.

“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.”

On a more positive note, 3P Learning has commissioned an independent National Numeracy Study, by Dr. Tony Stokes, to examine the impact of Mathletics usage on NAPLAN results in over 8,000 Australian schools. The study indicates that schools who use Mathletics tend to achieve higher NAPLAN numeracy results. By spending as little as 30 minutes each week on curriculum activities, schools can gain a potential advantage of more than nine percent in NAPLAN. Working collaboratively with schools, we want to do our best to lift the performance of every Australian student. A nine percent lift per student would put us right back near the top of global performance tables.

 Access the full 3P Learning National Numeracy Report at www.3plearning.com/au/numeracystudy/