NAPLAN tests suggest pandemic has not harmed skills

Coronavirus has not been as detrimental to students’ literacy and numeracy skills as feared despite swathes of children not being let into classrooms.

Aug 25, 2021, updated Aug 25, 2021
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge (AAP Image/Diego Fedele)

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge (AAP Image/Diego Fedele)

But there are concerns the national literacy and numeracy assessment isn’t painting a true picture of the pandemic’s effects on children.

The latest NAPLAN results don’t show a substantial difference compared with pre-pandemic performance at a national or state and territory level.

Reading and spelling results for students in years three and five, and year five numeracy, have improved significantly at a national level.

A downward trend in writing skills for students in years five, seven and nine has also flattened.

In Victoria, students who spent much of 2020 learning from home ranked first across subjects in all year levels.

Year nine writing results were the exception to this.

About 70 per cent of Australian schools undertook NAPLAN online in May following the assessment’s cancellation in 2020.

Education Minister Alan Tudge is pleased with the overall numbers but worries it masks the pandemic’s effects on disadvantaged children.

“We were expecting to have much more diminished results this year,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“What these results don’t show, though, is where the outliers might be.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“I’m particularly worried about some disadvantaged cohorts who may have lost so much of their learning that are hidden by these average figures.”

The authority responsible for developing the national curriculum labelled the results a testament to the resilience of teachers, parents and students,

“It’s reassuring to see that overall, our students’ literacy and numeracy standards have not significantly suffered, despite the major disruptions of COVID-19 and remote learning,” ACARA chief executive David de Carvalho said.

“However, this does not mean there has been no impact on specific students or demographic groups.”

The Australian Education Union warned against drawing simplistic conclusions from the “deeply flawed” assessment.

“The narrow focus of the test reduces students to a number on a spreadsheet,” union president Correna Haythorpe said.

“And (it) does not take into account teachers’ informed judgement, the daily learning that occurs in the classroom and issues relating to student health and wellbeing which are deeply important during this pandemic.”

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy