ACARA news, October 2017

ACARA Annual Report 2016–17

31 October 2017
Today, ACARA has published its annual report that documents the agency’s performance and operations for the 2016–17 financial year.

Visit the 'Publications' page of this website to view the ACARA Annual Report 2016–17 (PDF 2.5 mb).

World Teachers’ Day – 27 October 2017

27 October 2017

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World Teachers' Day is an international day to recognise and acknowledge the significant contributions teachers make in educating our young people. Traditionally celebrated on 5 October, it is marked on the last Friday in October in Australia due to school holidays occurring at that time.

At ACARA, our curriculum specialists are all qualified teachers with expertise in primary, secondary and tertiary education, in both public and private school systems. They know the ins and outs of the classroom, engage regularly with education stakeholders and ensure the resources and projects they work on each day supporting the Australian Curriculum are practical, useful and relevant for today’s teachers.  

Happy World Teachers’ Day to all the teachers around Australia – we thank you for your service! 


NAPLAN Online: platform readiness test

23 October 2017

States and territories have selected up to 10 schools to participate in the platform readiness tests (PRTs) between 23 October and 1 November 2017. These schools have demonstrated their technical capability through the school readiness testing earlier in the year, or have previously demonstrated their capacity during 2016–17.

The platform readiness test is a full end-to-end test of the performance of the NAPLAN Online platform and post-test processes, which includes monitoring, reporting and quality assurance. It follows on from the successful school readiness test, which occurred during August–September this year. PRT is not a test of school readiness or of students’ literacy and numeracy skills.

Read more about the move to NAPLAN Online on the NAP website.

NAP activities in schools

16 October 2017

Between 16 October and 3 November 2017, students from selected schools across the country are participating in either an ICT literacy sample assessment or a science literacy pilot study.

NAP – ICT Literacy sample assessments

Around 12,000 students from 640 schools participate in the National Assessment Program – ICT Literacy sample assessments in schools across Australia.  The purpose of the test is to inform schools, educators and the community about the levels of achievement for ICT literacy among Year 6 and Year 10 students. All participating schools will receive reports summarising their students’ results, with a national public report of the outcomes released in 2018. A rigorous selection process is used to ensure the sample represents Australia’s Years 6 and 10 cohorts. The assessments are run by ACARA.

NAP – Science Literacy pilot study

Up to 1,900 students in 60 schools around the country are taking part in the National Assessment Program – Science Literacy pilot study.

Following the education ministers’ decision to extend the assessment to Year 10 students from 2018, the pilot will provide evidence for the new draft assessment framework about the progression of knowledge and skills, the development of age-appropriate assessments for Year 10 students and the vertical linking of Year 6 and 10 assessments. 

Find out more about the sample assessments and NAPLAN key dates on the NAP website.

Automated marking for NAPLAN Online writing: the facts

12 October 2017

One of the main reasons we are introducing NAPLAN Online is to reduce the timeframe between students taking the test and receiving the results, which can be used to inform teaching and learning programs earlier.

Autoscoring systems, which can mark thousands of essays efficiently, consistently and compare favourably to the marks of teachers, are key to providing results in weeks instead of months.

While autoscoring systems should not be used to mark just anything, they have proven to be very suitable for the assessment of NAPLAN writing, which is marked using a set of 10 criteria.

To ensure a successful rollout of NAPLAN Online, significant research and stakeholder engagement have occurred. ACARA's extensive research over the last six years has indicated that automated marking is as reliable and valid as human marking. New research findings will be released in November.

Based on the statistical data to date, the marking deviations between automated systems and humans are no different than the statistical deviations between two different human markers.

For those still not confident about using computers to score NAPLAN Online writing, when NAPLAN moves online in 2018, NAPLAN writing will be marked by human markers with automated scoring being undertaken in a double marking trial of the automated system. This is to provide reassurance that automated marking achieves scores comparable to human markers, but faster.

Making a difference to the learning outcomes of students is what matters most, and automated scoring should be supported as a valid, effective and progressive tool that will assist that cause.

Read the FAQs about automated essay scoring on the NAP website and subscribe to ACARA Update to keep up to date with our latest news.