National Literacy and Numeracy Online (2019)


Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: The rollout of NAPLAN Online, as set to start last year—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! I would like to hear this answer.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —which we did with 140 schools, continued this year with 500 schools. The plan set by the member for Port Adelaide was that, in 2020—

Dr Close interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Deputy leader, please!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —all our schools will be on NAPLAN Online. A series of issues happened yesterday, which I am very happy to provide some information to the house about. In moving to NAPLAN Online, it is important to note that there are reasons we are doing so. This is a more responsive test. This is a test that, when it is fully rolled out, will enable the provision of answers and the provision of results to teachers and parents more quickly, which is incredibly beneficial to the outcomes for students.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order, deputy leader and member for West Torrens!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: What happened yesterday at a number of schools were minor inconveniences. What happened at some schools were major inconveniences. Backup plans were put in place. We had significant technical support on hand to handle calls and to assist schools that had errors. Some of those were able to be resolved within a matter of minutes. Some of them, indeed three schools yesterday, had to go to the backup, which was the paper and pen tests as per the protocols put in place by the national body, as per the state's rollout.

There are significant benefits to NAPLAN Online as opposed to the paper and pen test. I am confident that the tens of thousands of students who undertook their writing test yesterday and were able to successfully complete their writing test yesterday had a better experience than those who were doing the paper and pen test. We know that it's very unfortunate for those who had a disruption, and we are asking very serious questions about how that took place. It is very disappointing.

The member for Port Adelaide casts this in a catastrophic light that I think is increasing the stress. But it is important to note that the whole idea that NAPLAN is a high-stakes test is something that needs to be dispelled. NAPLAN is there as a check on the individual—

The Hon. V.A. Chapman interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Deputy leader!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —performance and academic development of a student. It was worth noting. I have come to understand that the Facebook page called Mouths of Mums is an incredibly important resource for this. Statements on that page are from parents talking about how they have presented their NAPLAN tests to their children. An example is, 'My kid is fine; I haven't made a big deal out of it, so he's not fussed about it.' Another example is, 'We have never made a big deal about it so there's never been an issue yet with any of my kids.'

It is important that, as kids are undergoing their NAPLAN tests, we do not set this up as a high-stakes test but as a check on how they are going. In that context, it is important that we do not want to inconvenience our schools nor our students as they do that. But if there have been examples where students have had an interruption to the way they are doing their tests, the idea that it is the end of the world, that it is as catastrophic as the member for Port Adelaide is suggesting, is in fact doing the opposite of what she always argued as a minister. It is in fact suggesting that it's a higher stakes test than it is. It is not a high-stakes test: it is a diagnostic check on how students are going, and those students should not be stressed because it is not a high-stakes test.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order: if the minister is quoting directly from a document, I would ask that he table it.

The SPEAKER: The document (a) it was not public and (b) I was looking astutely, member for West Torrens, because I anticipated this point of order, and it appeared that the Minister for Education was quoting off some notes, which I believe he has in his hand.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: I can clarify, sir. These are notes that I wrote having had a look at the website in question. I am happy to table them for the assistance of the Member for West Torrens.

The SPEAKER: Please table them, thank you.