NAPLAN tests to move online from next year

Many Australian children will be taking NAPLAN tests with a pen and paper for the last time this week, with an online option to be introduced next year.

The National Assessment Program of Literacy and Numeracy test is held annually and tests children in years three, five, seven, and nine on their numeracy and literacy skills.

It is usually held in an exam-like setting with all students taking the same test at the same time.

Under the new plan, agreed to by state education ministers, students will be able to complete the test online using a computer or tablet.

By 2019, all students will be expected to complete the test online.

Education experts say they are concerned with the sudden change.

Australian Primary Principals Association president Dennis Yarrington said he was concerned about students in their third year of schooling having to complete an online test.

“Up until Year three most of the teaching of writing is done with pencil and paper and writing is assessed and responded to on a daily basis within classrooms,” he said.

Murdoch University director of professional experience Susan Ledger said NAPLAN only assessed some elements of literacy. Moving online would not change this, she said.

But Willetton High School principal Christopher Booth said an online test  would help schools test a large number of children at the same time.