Practice tests ahead this year’s online NAPLAN testing have alarm bells ringing.
The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority created the ‘mini-tests’ to help students become familiar with the new digital format, but some say they’ve taken the digital theme too far.
According to The Courier Mail, “The Year 9 reading test is already causing alarm because it asks 14 and 15-year-olds to answer a series of basic comprehension questions in response to a screenshot of text message conversation about a drama teacher’s facial hair.”
Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University, told the publication: “The bar is set so low that it is giving students, teachers and parents a false sense of the standards."
“By Year 9, I would expect that rather than having a very simplistic, superficial text as this one, there would be more focus on students being able to read more literary works, whether it is an extract, or poem, or prose, where they are asked to infer and deduce more high order skills.”
In an opinion piece also published in The Courier Mail, the author claims the questions are “dumbing down” kids.
“The fact is our kids are already adept at the language of the internet, but where they are falling behind the rest of the world is in more complex comprehension."
However, An ACAA spokeswoman defended the text test saying students are required to “analyse, interpret and evaluate a wide range of texts in context, including various types of authentic media texts, such as newspapers, film and digital”.