Home' Teacher : July 2010 Contents News
The Australian Education Union (AEU) in
May lifted its ban on the administration of
National Assessment Program -- Literacy
and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. The AEU
threatened to disrupt the administration of
this year's NAPLAN tests because of con-
cerns about the My School website managed
by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment
and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos
said the decision followed an offer by Dep-
uty Prime Minister and Commonwealth
Minister for Education Julia Gillard to form
a working party of educational experts,
including representatives of the AEU and the
Independent Education Union of Australia
(IEUA) to provide advice on the use of stu-
dent performance data and other indicators
of school effectiveness. The IEUA has not
supported a ban on NAPLAN but remains
opposed to the misuse of data for the pur-
pose of constructing league tables.
'The working party will provide a way
to advance and address the profession's
educational concerns relating to the misuse
of student test data including school league
tables,' Gavrielatos said. In a letter to the
AEU, the Minister for Education empha-
sised her opposition to the misuse of student
performance data for the purpose of con-
structing league tables and invited the AEU
and other education experts to provide
advice through the working party, but also
pointed out that 'the My School website . . .
will include the 2010 NAPLAN data.'
A back down by
any other name WHEN A MILLION STUDENTS IN YEARS 3, 5, 7 AND 9 SAT THE NAPLAN
TESTS IN MAY, ATTENTION TURNED TO CHEATING.
STEVE HOLDEN REPORTS.
Testing times in May
A million or so students in Years 3, 5, 7 and
9 sat the National Assessment Program --
Literacy a nd Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests
in May, and everyone got excited. Teachers
were allegedly caught tampering with tests.
Students claimed posters that were effec-
tively cheat sheets were on classroom walls
du ring tests. Teachers allegedly coached
and excessively drilled students prior to
the tests. Students with learning difficul-
ties were allegedly told to stay home from
school rather than sit the tests, presumably
to avoid the risk of lowering their school's
Candice Keller and Lauren Novak, in the
Adelaide Advertiser, named a St Leonard's
Primary School teacher who was allegedly
caught making changes to Year 7 reading
test answers by another member of staff,
who reported it to the school's principal.
Keller and Novak also reported claims by
students that the teacher advised them to
erase answers during the test that 'weren't
neat enough' and indicated replacement
South Australian Education Minister Jay
Weatherill described the alleged incident as
a 'gross breach of professionalism' -- despite
the fact that the allegation of tampering had
yet to be proven. The teacher was stood
down while SA Education Department
undertook a full investigation.
The Courier Mail's Tanya Chilcott
reported a Gold Coast parent's allegation
that posters displaying basic mathematics
information were on display during the
nu meracy exams at Merrimac State High
School. A teacher at the school is also under
investigation for allegedly helping at least
one student. According to ABC News, Edu-
cation Queensland is also investigating an
allegation that a principal knew a topic in
one of the tests a week before the tests took
A BC News also reported an allega-
tion by a pa rent that Year 9 students at a
Brisba ne high school were allowed to take
a n unsupervised lunch break in the middle
of a NAPLAN test. 'The kids that didn't
know the a nswers to the difficult questions
went and saw all the smart kids, got the
a nswers, then they were allowed back into
the hall and they were able to do part two.
A lot of the kids were updating the first part
of the exam ,' the parent told ABC Ne ws.
The Queensla nd Education Department's
initial investigation fou nd super vision was
adequate and there had been no cheating.
ABC News also reported that the West-
ern Australian Education Department is
investigating two allegations of cheating in
the NAPLAN tests. In New South Wales,
meanwhile, students in three schools were
given the wrong Year 9 reading test.
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