ACARA news, October 2017

NAP activities in schools

16 October 2017

Between 16 October and 3 November 2017, students from selected schools across the country are participating in either an ICT literacy sample assessment or a science literacy pilot study.

NAP – ICT Literacy sample assessments

Around 12,000 students from 640 schools participate in the National Assessment Program – ICT Literacy sample assessments in schools across Australia.  The purpose of the test is to inform schools, educators and the community about the levels of achievement for ICT literacy among Year 6 and Year 10 students. All participating schools will receive reports summarising their students’ results, with a national public report of the outcomes released in 2018. A rigorous selection process is used to ensure the sample represents Australia’s Years 6 and 10 cohorts. The assessments are run by ACARA.

NAP – Science Literacy pilot study

Up to 1,900 students in 60 schools around the country are taking part in the National Assessment Program – Science Literacy pilot study.

Following the education ministers’ decision to extend the assessment to Year 10 students from 2018, the pilot will provide evidence for the new draft assessment framework about the progression of knowledge and skills, the development of age-appropriate assessments for Year 10 students and the vertical linking of Year 6 and 10 assessments. 

Find out more about the sample assessments and NAPLAN key dates on the NAP website.

Automated marking for NAPLAN Online writing: the facts

12 October 2017

One of the main reasons we are introducing NAPLAN Online is to reduce the timeframe between students taking the test and receiving the results, which can be used to inform teaching and learning programs earlier.

Autoscoring systems, which can mark thousands of essays efficiently, consistently and compare favourably to the marks of teachers, are key to providing results in weeks instead of months.

While autoscoring systems should not be used to mark just anything, they have proven to be very suitable for the assessment of NAPLAN writing, which is marked using a set of 10 criteria.

To ensure a successful rollout of NAPLAN Online, significant research and stakeholder engagement have occurred. ACARA's extensive research over the last six years has indicated that automated marking is as reliable and valid as human marking. New research findings will be released in November.

Based on the statistical data to date, the marking deviations between automated systems and humans are no different than the statistical deviations between two different human markers.

For those still not confident about using computers to score NAPLAN Online writing, in 2018 writing will be marked by human markers and the automated marking system for comparison. This is to provide reassurance that automated marking achieves scores comparable to human markers, but faster.

Making a difference to the learning outcomes of students is what matters most, and automated scoring should be supported as a valid, effective and progressive tool that will assist that cause.

Read the FAQs about automated essay scoring on the NAP website and subscribe to ACARA Update to keep up to date with our latest news.