Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace has been pushing for a national review into NAPLAN. Picture: Annette Dew
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace has been pushing for a national review into NAPLAN. Picture: Annette Dew

Parents pulling kids from NAPLAN as stress not worth it

PARENTS of students taking part in NAPLAN next month have been urged not to pull them from sitting the national tests, despite rising anxiety levels over the controversial system.

The number of parents opting to withdraw their children from NAPLAN participation has risen over the past few years in Queensland, across the various age groups and subject areas.

Education Minister Grace Grace said she was aware parents were choosing to stop their children sitting NAPLAN tests, which were undertaken by years 3, 5, 7 and 9 each year.

Ms Grace said many parents withdrew their children due to "the anxiety and stress that they feel their child is unnecessarily going through".

The comment was backed up by a review into NAPLAN released by the Queensland Government last month. It included responses from more than 7500 parents and carers, 3000 students and 6000 teachers, principals and education stakeholders.

More than half of parents said their children were anxious or very anxious about NAPLAN tests.

The 2018 NAPLAN national report showed withdrawal rates in Queensland had steadily climbed, with Year 9 students the most likely to be withdrawn.

Ms Grace said she would continue to push for a national review into NAPLAN. She said "a week doesn't go by without having someone talk to me about NAPLAN".

"I think every child should do NAPLAN and I encourage parents to see how their child is progressing," she said.

"But clearly parents exercise a choice at times, and that's one of the issues I want to have a look at ... why are parents doing that?

"Hence we are providing information online to parents to put NAPLAN into perspective about what it's all about, as far as their child's education goes."

In the Queensland review one parent said they were "not given any information by the school about NAPLAN except when the children would be taking the test".

Another said it put too much stress on students, particularly those in Year 3 "who really doesn't understand why they are doing it in the first place".

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority said "while participation by all students is expected, students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer". ACARA said student withdrawals from NAPLAN were intended to address issues such as "religious beliefs and philosophical objections to testing", and required a formal application to the school's principal before testing.

This year's NAPLAN will be held from May 14-16.