Expert review suggests NAPLAN be replaced


An expert independent review of NAPLAN has found the decade-old test needs to be overhauled to ensure it meets the needs of students, parents and teachers.

The review was commissioned by the Queensland, Victorian, New South Wales and ACT Governments and conducted by renowned education experts, Emeritus Professor Barry McGaw AO, Emeritus Professor William Louden AM and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith.

They recommended that NAPLAN be replaced with a new test, The Australian National Standardised Assessment (ANSA).

If adopted, ANSA would bring about sweeping changes to the writing assessment and see a greater focus on critical thinking and science.

ANSA would be undertaken earlier on the year to reduce stress placed on teachers and students by the practice of “teaching to the test” and would see results returned within one week, to better inform teaching and learning for the year ahead.

The report also proposes shifting the Year 9 test to Year 10 so that it can better inform teachers, parents and students when making critical decisions regarding subject selection for years 11 and 12.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said while the review acknowledged that standardised testing should remain, it needed to be improved on its current form.

“It is clear that the current NAPLAN testing is not world’s best practice,” Ms Grace said.

“Our classrooms have changed drastically in the past twelve years, but our standardised testing has not.

“By modernising these tests, we will be able to find a model that best suits parents, teachers and most importantly students.”

Ms Grace said the review was put to all State and Federal Education Ministers at a special meeting this afternoon.

“We all want the same thing, better outcomes for students across the country,” Ms Grace said.

“In order to make the changes outlined in the review, we need the consensus of all states and territories as well as the Federal Government.

“I am hopeful that all Ministers will consider the recommendations very carefully.

“This is just the start of the process and we will now work with all stakeholders to ensure we get it right going forward.”

The review highlighted Queensland as one of the great improvers in testing over the past ten years, with students improving in spelling, numeracy, grammar and punctuation across the last decade.

Ms Grace said this latest review followed on from a 2018 review in which Queensland parents and school staff were interviewed about NAPLAN.

“This report proposes changes that will address issues we have been hearing loud and clear, that the current testing is onerous for teachers and too high-stakes for students,” she said.

“This review aims to make changes to NAPLAN that alleviate these concerns, all while providing valuable information to schools, parents and the wider community alike.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • the lag between testing and results makes data ineffective teachers
  • the writing test is flawed and needs a major overhaul
  • the timing of the test contributes to stress for our teachers and anxiety for students
  • and a lack of contemporary content and delivery.

Ms Grace said the Government wouldn’t throw out the parts of the testing structure that worked.

“This review has been about identifying the good practice, what’s worth keeping and what needs changing,” she said.

“But it’s time to move on from a ten-year-old testing regime to a more contemporary model that’s useful to everybody.”

For more information go to

Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace

Australian Government Children Community Education & Schools Political Queensland Government

Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training :
PO Box 15033, City East Qld 4002, Brisbane
07 3237 0111
Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training
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