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NAPLAN science tests unlikely to improve science education

Thompson, G. (2013) NAPLAN science tests unlikely to improve science education. The Conversation, 12 April .

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The federal Labor government’s proposal to expand the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) franchise and include science literacy is not a surprising move.

Once national testing regimes start, they tend to spread and intensify.

The government continues to give strong indications that they see testing as the best means to improve student achievement. This political obsession has been most recently enshrined in the Education Bill 2012 where the Prime Minister formalised her aim to be in the top five schooling systems by 2025 on international tests.

But these tests, along with NAPLAN, are problematic. It’s assumed that they can measure what it means to be a quality school, a quality teacher, a quality education and what we should aspire to as a nation.

If quality can be determined in approximately 120 minutes of tests taken every four years by a sample of students (as is the case with the international PISA tests) then it is a neat trick.

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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