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The cost of NAPLAN

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 13 May 2014

Today (Tuesday 13 May 2014) I had edited versions of letters about NAPLAN published in both The Courier-Mail and The Australian. In each case, underlined words were deleted and the bracketed ones were added. Both letters were submitted in my capacity as a private citizen and did not cite any connection with ETAQ or AATE.

  • The heading for a group of three letters in The Courier-Mail was “Total recall passes test”.

Is NAPLAN worth the cost?

With this year’s nation-wide NAPLAN tests coinciding with what is anticipated to be a tough federal budget, it is reasonable to ask whether a proper cost-benefit analysis has ever been conducted on this government program.

Whether the program per se does more harm than good continues to be debated. But, even if there were universal agreement that it makes a useful contribution to teaching and learning in schools, it may still not be worth the chunk of a finite (the) education budget that it currently consumes.

I appreciate that the journalistic resources of newspapers are not what they once were, but I hope they can stretch to reporting and comment on this aspect of federal government expenditure.

 

  • The heading for a group of three letters in The Australian was “There’s no need to stress about NAPLAN – it’s just more class work”. The paper incorporated my proposed heading into the actual letter.

Is NAPLAN worth the money?

(Is NAPLAN worth the money?) One important aspect of NAPLAN that Justine Ferrari’s piece didn’t address was the cost (“Busting the NAPLAN myths”, 12/5). Perhaps the claim that it is worth the money is a myth.

With a tough federal budget anticipated, surely a hard headed cost-benefit analysis of this program is called for. I do understand that the journalistic resources of papers are not what they once were, but I hoped (hope) that reporting and commenting on the cost of a government program like (such as) NAPLAN was (is) still possible.

On a minor point, Ferrari refers to a piece by Christopher Bantick which, she says, appeared in the Fairfax media. I read it in a News Limited paper, Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail.

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry was ETAQ President from July 2005 to 15 March 2014 and is currently President of AATE. After teaching in EQ high schools for around 35 years, he is now a sessional tutor in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: Assessment

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