NATIONAL LITERACY AND NUMERACY ONLINE (3)


The SPEAKER: The deputy leader is warned.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: The deputy leader will get further briefings if she likes about how the school improvement model works, but the NAPLAN writing examination is indeed not relevant in that sense. The fact is that there were unacceptable problems on Tuesday.

Mr Malinauskas interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: The member for Croydon can get a briefing on how NAPLAN works if he likes, but his interjections are utterly irrelevant.

The Hon. S.C. Mullighan: Perhaps you could get a briefing for the IT coordinator as well.

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the call.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: As I said on Tuesday, there were problems that were unacceptable on NAPLAN. The member for Lee's suggestion that these were South Australian government problems is possibly lent a lie by the fact that some other states had these problems, too. He can get on the phone and talk to New South Wales or Queensland or Western Australia or Victoria if he likes.

We are very disappointed that this has taken place. We have serious questions to ask of ESA, the company which is owned by all the education ministers and which provides the technical device that delivers the NAPLAN online checks. However, the advice I have received is that, as of 12.30pm today, from having 103 schools of the 500 report platform connectivity issues on Tuesday, today there were three, and that is significant improvement.

There may well have been more that have been reported in the last couple of hours, but it is clear that the issues are far diminished from two days ago, and that is good news. There are also a couple of things that the government in South Australia is responsible for which we have done to ensure our diligence here.

First, we put on extra technical support over the last two days, and those men and women have certainly been earning their money. Today, I can also advise the house that there are a number of schools that have used the other backup, which is of course the provision of paper and pen tests where necessary. We provisioned for that for all schools, and schools have gone through that protocol. There were three on the first day and six government schools on the second day have done that. So nine of those 400 or so government schools in the first two days moved to paper and pen.

The utterly overwhelming majority of our students have been able to undertake their tests with no or very minimal inconvenience. I invite you to reflect on the young student who was interviewed on the tele on Tuesday night. We sent the press to one of the schools when they invited us to give them an opportunity to film a classroom doing NAPLAN tests. We invited them to a school that had some of these issues, and the girl who was interviewed described the challenge that she had of waiting for a couple minutes for the server to connect, and then she was able to undertake the test. She didn't look too stressed, I have to say.

Other students had different experiences, and it is unacceptable when that happens, but the catastrophisation put on this by the member for Port Adelaide suggests that this is a high-stakes test that is going to determine a student's future. We should be taking the opportunity at all turns—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER: —to reduce the stress level on students because this is not a high-stakes test that determines a student's future. This is not a high-stakes test that determines what sort of job somebody is going to get: it is a check on their academic progress, and something they shouldn't be stressing about, shouldn't be worrying about. That is the important message for us to be telling all of our children, all of the students, in our system.