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NAPLAN Narratives: Stakeholder Perspectives Surrounding Students Well-being

The National Assessment Program – Language and Numeracy (NAPLAN) managed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) provides standardised assessment for students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Despite underlying benevolent goals, concerns have been raised regarding the  high-stakes nature of the testing that arises from the open publication of results on the My School website. Research investigating the subjective experience and perceptions of NAPLAN testing among students, parents, teachers and administrators in Australia is currently limited. The current study seeks  to add to the research literature by obtaining a number of measures (via survey and interviews) regarding the NAPLAN experience of students, parents, teachers and administrators. This will be achieved by studying students and other stakeholders in Year 3 & 5 in participating AISWA schools.

The project aims to explore a number of aspects associated with NAPLAN testing that may influence student wellbeing. These include:

  • worry about being compared to, and disappointing, others;
  • stereotypical beliefs (e.g., "boys are better at maths, and girls are better at English");
  • perception of the high stakes nature of NAPLAN;
  • perception of how well the results of NAPLAN are communicated; and
  • how perceptions relate to actual NAPLAN performance.

In addition, early years teachers will be interviewed regarding their perceptions of changes in pedagogical approaches and curriculum construction in the early years.

This project will provide new insights of multiple stakeholders on the impact of NAPLAN testing on student wellbeing and pedagogical practices within schools. The findings can be applied by schools administrators, policy makers and teachers to improve student's NAPLAN experience. Further, the information  can be used to inform pre-service teacher education and school psychology programs.

Funding agency

Association of Independent Schools Western Australia (AISWA).

Project duration

The project commenced in December, 2014, with completion to be by December, 2015.


Associate Professor Lennie Barblett
Dr Shane Rogers
Dr Ken Robinson
Mrs Cindy McLean
Mr Liam Gately
Miss Jacqui Hollier

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