Education Services Australia is investigating the cause of “connectivity issues” that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) said yesterday disrupted access to NAPLAN Online at some schools.
“Any inconvenience to schools and students during testing is regretted, and if technical issues are experienced in the coming days, there are procedures in place to manage them and ensure that all students are able to take the tests,” ACARA said in a statement issued today.
Those procedures can include taking the test on paper as a last resort, ACARA said.
“The technology and logistics of a national online project of this size are highly complex, involving national testing authorities, states and territories and schools, and the cooperation and assistance of all involved is appreciated,” the statement said.
Around 50 per cent of schools are estimated to be using the online system for the test. ACARA said that some 350,000 NAPLAN Online tests were successfully submitted yesterday.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) said that the problems had “shattered any confidence” that teachers had in NAPLAN.
Thousands of public school students were unable to access or complete the online test due to the connectivity problems, leaving many of them in tears after losing work, the union said.
“It is clearer than ever that NAPLAN is in no way fit for purpose, and that the farcical move to NAPLAN Online has been hasty and ill-conceived,” AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said in a statement.
“After last year’s debacle with the delivery of NAPLAN online, federal education minister Dan Tehan had the opportunity to institute a full review of NAPLAN. However, he failed to do so.”
“Following the chaos of the widespread NAPLAN online IT outages yesterday, no one can have any faith in the data which is produced by this round of testing,” Haythorpe said.
The union said reports from its members included some students having to re-sit the test. Yesterday some students were faced with completing the test in a shortened timeframe due to the problems, and some lost work multiple times.
“ACARA’s response to both the 2018 NAPLAN online debacle and yesterday’s IT collapse clearly demonstrates that it is more concerned with preserving the testing regime than ensuring the valid, consistent and reliable assessment of student achievement,” Haythorpe said.