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2022 NAPLAN Hit by Pandemic, Flu, and Flood

NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) 2022 saw lower student participation because of the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as disruption in education due to flu and floods.

David de Carvalho, CEO of ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority), said, “Despite the challenges of attendance and staffing due to COVID-19, widespread influenza, and even floods, 4.3 million tests were submitted to us successfully. While the participation rates this year have been historically low, it is still a significant achievement considering the unique circumstances.

The participation rates were down by 1 to 2 percent from 2021 NAPLAN in primary school students. In high school students, NAPLAN participation rates were down by 2 to 3 percent from last year.

The lowest participation rate was 85 percent for the Year 9 Numeracy test and the highest was 95 percent for Year 5 Reading test. Year 9 participation rates were less than 90 percent for all tests – less than 90 percent which ACARA considers as the technical data standard for the test.

NAPLAN 2022 was held online in May. This was the first time when students took the test at home instead of in the classroom. This change was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online test has caused some technical difficulties like students being unable to log in or submit their answers. NSW, ACT, and Tasmania were the most affected states by these technical issues.

This year, the preliminary results of the national standardized test have been delayed as ACARA wants to do a closer analysis of the test results. Typically, the results are published in August. But this year, because of the lower-than-usual participation in the NAPLAN exam, authorities want to examine the results concerning students’ background information to get a clearer picture of education trends and performance cohorts.

David said, “Studying trends at the jurisdictional level can give us vital clues whether some changes need to be done to help students who were absent through testing or are from lower or higher performing groups. Also, we need to see what we can do to improve the overall achievement level of school students in these times.”

NAPLAN is the only national-level test that can measure the effects of the pandemic on schooling. Hence, analyzing its data closely can give us a better understanding of how students have been affected by the pandemic and can help in making necessary changes to education policy.

Schools and parents need not worry as this data analysis will not affect the results of individual students. It will only show the data trends at the state, territory, and national levels. NAPLAN 2022 results are expected to be declared soon in the coming weeks.

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January 5, 2023

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