WA Education Minister hits out at federal counterpart

Sue Ellery. Photo: The West Australian
Sue Ellery. Photo: The West Australian

WA Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery has hit back at her Federal counterpart after he criticised WA’s decision to use students’ highest NAPLAN score from the technologically blighted tests this year.

In May this year, 40,000 WA students had their NAPLAN writing tests disrupted by technical problems with the online platform.

In WA students who had to re-sit NAPLAN because of the glitch will have their highest score reported, regardless of whether that was achieved in the first or second test.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan wrote to Ms Ellery, saying it was disappointing WA had decided to do this.

But Ms Ellery felt it would have been “irresponsible to use the earlier decision to only count the second test result”.

The information provided by the WA School Curriculum and Standards Authority showed examples of many students with dramatically worse outcomes between the two tests.

“No student should be disadvantaged by the technical issues experienced this year,” Ms Ellery said.

“Once we realised we had two sets of data, and I was shown clear examples that there were significant differences between the two test results, it would have been irresponsible to use the earlier decision to only count the second test result.

“The integrity of NAPLAN is brought into question if parents are provided with information that clearly does not reflect their child’s proficiency.

 “There’s no reason ACARA (the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority)can’t put a note on the results saying WA used the best result of the two tests so you can’t compare WA to other States.”