How do secondary school English teachers score NAPLAN?

A snapshot of English teachers' views

Don Carter, Jacqueline Manuel, Janet Dutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The ubiquitous use of mass testing regimes in school-based education throughout the Western world continues to be controversial and contested (Biesta, 2017; Ozoliņš, 2017; Stolz & Webster, 2017). Currently, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) constitute international testing schemes, while in Australia, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across the nation. This paper reports on a study undertaken with secondary school English teachers in New South Wales (NSW) Australia in 2017. The study, utilising a questionnaire, sought teachers’ views on a range of issues including attitudes to the NAPLAN literacy tests and the introduction of a new standard of achievement for NSW Year 9 students. Given the paucity of teachers’ voices and perspectives in public discourses and debates about NAPLAN, one significant aim of this study has been the collation and direct representation of English teachers’ views. Far from endorsing NAPLAN as a beneficial source of data on students to support quality teaching and learning, teachers in this sample questioned the premise, validity and purpose of the tests and considered the new Year 9 requirement as both unnecessary and the cause of deepening stress and anxiety for students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Language and Literacy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • High stakes testing
  • English teachers

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