NAPLAN and school-based tests: Comparing student responses

Year: 2016

Author: Dowley, Mark, Rice, Suzanne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

State and national testing regimes have become an increasingly common feature of the policy landscape in education, both in developed and developing countries. Some research suggests that such testing regimes can generate a range of emotional responses among students, including high levels of stress within specific groups (Wyn et al., 2013; Rice et al., 2016). However, it may be that student reactions observed by researchers are general ones that relate to any testing situation, rather than being particularly associated with large-scale standardised tests. This study sought to compare the self-reported responses of Year 7 and Year 9 Australian students in relation to both NAPLAN and their school-based tests. We found that students reported slightly higher levels of stress in relation to their school-based tests, but also had greater confidence that they would do well in school-based tests than in NAPLAN. There were no significant differences between school-based and NAPLAN tests in the number of students reporting stressful responses. Implications for schools and policymakers are discussed.