ACARA news, March 2020


20 March 2020
Education ministers met this morning to discuss the evolving COVID-19 situation and the implications for schools and have today decided that NAPLAN testing will not proceed for 2020. The communique can be found here.

Use of NAPLAN data from the My School website by News Corp

20 March 2020

ACARA is aware of news items published recently by NewsCorp that use school-level NAPLAN data which appears to be sourced from the My School website.

While the content of many of the stories focuses on achievements made by schools, league tables have been created using NAPLAN data apparently sourced from the My School website. The terms and conditions of use of the site are intended to prevent this from occurring.

The tables in the stories do not provide the information they purport to provide, that is, information on the performance of schools. This is because performance cannot be measured just by looking at the average score of the students at the school.

The News Corp tables simply report average scores, making no allowance for socio-educational background of the student body. Between 70 and 80 per cent of a school’s level of achievement is determined by factors outside the school’s direct control or influence.

The new My School website foregrounds student progress and socio-educational background rather than average scores because it is the amount of progress, seen in the context of the socio-educational background of the students, that tells parents if the school is performing well. 

For example, one News Corp story describes a certain school as “the state’s top performing school” simply on the basis of average scores. However, a check of the level of progress that the school has achieved in reading, writing and numeracy over the last two years between Years 3 and 5, shows that it is about what you would expect for a school with that starting score and socio-educational profile.

However, another school in that state had lower average scores, but a much higher proportion of its students achieving above average progress, taking account of socio-educational background. The second school is a better "performer”.

ACARA works to ensure My School data is used to promote fair and accurate reporting and we expect media organisations to do the same.


18 March 2020

ACARA is working closely with all governments (including state/territory education departments) in monitoring the evolving situation with respect to the coronavirus, and in giving consideration to any potential impacts on NAPLAN.

My School 2020 – a fairer focus on student progress

18 March 2020

Today, the My School website has been updated with the most recent data available on Australia’s schools, presenting NAPLAN data in a fresh way.

Following last year’s review into NAPLAN data reporting on My School, education ministers agreed in December to overhaul the way NAPLAN data is presented on the website.

Read ACARA's media release (PDF 70 kb).