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Home > News > Professional Issues > Professional Issues Volume 11 > Teachers’ professional judgement overlooked as NAPLAN results take centre stage

Teachers’ professional judgement overlooked as NAPLAN results take centre stage

student.pngPreliminary National Assessment Plan – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results have been recently posted, revealing an overall trend of improvement for students, yet the teachers’ role in students’ academic success continues to be ignored. 

Issue snapshot: 

  • Raw data of the 2017 NAPLAN results has been published by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), revealing an overall improvement in achievement across most states and territories. 
  • Our union acknowledges the vital role teachers play in the academic success of students – however, NAPLAN continues to lack utility compared to school-based assessment. 
  • The professional judgement of teachers is far more valuable than the results of a national test. 

The recent publishing of preliminary NAPLAN results has revealed that the percentage of students meeting the national minimum standard remains high – with over 90 per cent nationally and in most states and territories achieving the minimum standard across all domains and year levels.

IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the overall trend of increasing scores is a product of the hard work of teachers, yet there continues to be a reticence by authorities to acknowledge the quality of their work, their contribution to students’ success and their professional standing. 

“Teachers are to be commended for the vital role they play in the academic success of students. 

“It is clear, however, that national testing regimes such as NAPLAN are inherently problematic. 

“The overall positive results of NAPLAN should not diminish the fact that it and other national and international tests have limited utility for classroom teachers.”

Mr Burke said the test results capture student ability at a single point in time and, by the time results are made available to teachers, they are essentially out of date.

“Turnaround of these results is not adequate in providing enough time for teachers to make any meaningful use of the findings in the classroom this year. 

“Our teachers nurture excellence in students on a daily basis, and if a test cannot provide a means for teachers to give feedback to further the academic success of these students, the intentions of those implementing such a test must be questioned – not to mention the equity concerns that arise from issuing the test.

“The professional judgement of teachers is far more valuable than the outcomes of a national test. 

“School-based assessment, conducted by teachers, is more informative and has genuine utility in terms of guiding teachers in their work with individual students.

Mr Burke said teachers should continue doing what they do best – teaching and providing quality education by exercising their professional judgement.

“Our union continues to support and encourage teachers to value their professional judgement more than the results of any national or international tests,” Mr Burke said. 


Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.