NAPLAN results uncover year 9 students’ disengagement

28 August 2019

Written by: Monique Naumovski

The Andrews government proposes proficiency certificates and a change in the year levels NAPLAN tests are taken.

Preliminary NAPLAN results reveal year 9 students have not improved their literacy and numeracy skills over the last decade.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino blames overall disinterest for the lack of progress.

“We know we have more to do in year 9 to ensure students see the relevance of NAPLAN and are better engaged,” he said.

Merlino has proposed the introduction of a proficiency certificate tied to year 9 students’ NAPLAN results. This would create a link between the students’ results and their future employers.

The certificate aims to encourage the year level to engage with the testing, while also guiding them through their VCE subject selection. A special committee of principals, teachers, parents and students will begin assessing the proposal.

Merlino also wants to see the NAPLAN tests moved from years 3, 5, 7 and 9 to years 4, 6, 8 and 10.

It is suggested that a year 10 test would better enable students to use their results to select their VCE classes, while a year 6 test will help analyse a student’s results before they enter secondary school.

The Andrews government will forward the proposals to both the NSW and Queensland governments. This follows their joint review of NAPLAN that aims to determine if it is still fit for purpose.

Both government and non-government schools experienced similar flat results amongst the year 9 cohort.

“Year 9 has long been considered the hardest cohort to engage in education,” Merlino said.

“These results don’t reflect what students are capable of and we must investigate options to ensure our Year 9 students are more engaged. This is about making the test more relevant, not adding unnecessary stress to NAPLAN.”

However, in spite of stagnant results amongst year 9 students, Victorian primary students achieved their best NAPLAN results. Victoria’s mean scores exceeded other states and territories in seven of the 10 measures on proficiency in reading, writing and numeracy.

Photo: ‘False Progress’ By Michael Coghlan available here and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.

Monique Naumovski is a second year Bachelor of Media and Communications (Journalism) student at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter @moniquenaum