Changes to NAPLAN in 2015: what they mean for your school

by The Educator30 Jan 2015

Two new writing prompts will appear for students in this year’s 2015 NAPLAN writing assessment.

One prompt (question) will be given to Years 3 and 5 while another will be given to students in Years 7 and 9. Previously, prompts were uniform across all year levels.

NAPLAN said the changes were made following consultation with content and assessment experts, as well as with State and Territory representatives and other educators and researchers.

A downward trend was revealed in persuasive writing achievement, compared to 2011 and 2013.

Recommendations were then made and subsequently implemented.

Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, general manager of assessment and reporting at ACARA, said that the changes will enable better questions to be set, ensuring that “all students have the opportunity to produce their best writing.”

“NAPLAN is an evolving assessment and ACARA continually works to identify improvements to the assessment model.

“Having two prompts will enable better questions to be set. More age-appropriate writing prompts will better ensure all students have the opportunity to produce their best writing,” Rainowitz said.   

In a post on NAPLAN’s blog, writer Bill Healey elaborated on the changes, saying that the two prompts “should have no impact” on how teachers prepare their students for the test because students will still be required to write the same sorts of responses.

“Both writing prompts will be on the same type of text – either narrative or persuasive. Students will not have a choice of genre.”

“The genre will be revealed on the day of the assessment,” Healey wrote.

NAPLAN is expected to have completed its online transition by 2017.