NAPLAN keeps hundreds of educators in permanent jobs. Since its inception, NAPLAN has become an institution costing at least a billion dollars, maybe more.
Since being introduced in 2008, it has become a monster.
NAPLAN dominates the educational thinking in schools, their controlling systems, State, Territory and Australian Education Ministries.
It has spawned countless highly level salaried positions in curriculum departments and ACARA.
NAPLAN underpins the focus of many school staff meetings. It always influences the agendas of school principals gatherings. It occupies the system hierarchy whenever state and territory administrators and leaders meet to consider key issues. It exercises the minds of education ministers whenever they gather to consider Australia wide educational matters.
Without NAPLAN, meetings would be shorter and called far less frequently than is the case.
NAPLAN predicates the thinking of classroom teachers. “Your score is my score”, the words of Tim Chappell when singing about the subject, are ingrained into the thinking of those responsible for preparing children for these annual excursions into the study of comparative data.
NAPLAN is about more than three days of testing each May for students sitting the tests. ‘Pretesting’ programs commence in many schools weeks and even months before the tests are administered. Students practice and practise and in all honesty get to be bored stupid by all the pretesting attention that goes on. When students are asked about the tests, they confirm this to be the case.
NAPLAN is an industry. It engages thousands of people in primarily focussing their attention on its accumulation of data. Teaching and strategies are driven by the data imperative that has its base in NAPLAN.
This program in its many parts is like unto the seven headed hydra of Australian Education.
NAPLAN has come with a huge cost and through the years of its operation, has given little back.