The effects of NAPLAN: Teacher perceptions of the impact of NAPLAN on pedagogy and curriculum

Year: 2012

Author: Thompson, Greg, Harbaugh, Allen G.

Type of paper: Refereed paper


This paper reports preliminary findings of a survey of in-service teachers in WA and SA conducted in 2012. Participants completed an online survey open to all teachers in WA and SA. The survey ran for three months from April to June 2012. One section of the survey asked teachers to report their perceptions of the impact that NAPLAN has had on the curriculum and pedagogy of their classroom and school.

Two principal research questions were addressed in this preliminary analysis.  First what are teacher perceptions of the effects on NAPLAN on curriculum and pedagogy? Second, are there any interaction effects between gender, socioeconomics status, location and school system on teachers perceptions? Statistical analyses examined one- and two-way MANOVA to assess main effects and interaction effects on teachers' global perceptions.  These were followed by a series of exploratory one- and two-way ANOVA of specific survey items to suggest potential sources for differences among teachers from different socioeconomic regions, states and systems.

Teachers report that they are either choosing or being instructed to teach to the test, that this results in less time being spent on other curriculum areas and that these effects contribute in a negative way on the engagement of students. This largely agrees with a body of international research that suggests that high-stakes literacy and numeracy tests often results in unintended consequences such as a narrow curriculum focus (Au, 2007), a return to teacher-centred instruction (Barret, 2009) and a decrease in motivation (Ryan & Wesinstein, 2009). Preliminary results from early survey respondents suggests there is a relationship between participant responses to the effect of NAPLAN on curriculum and pedagogy based on the characteristics of which State the teacher taught in, their perceptions of the socioeconomic status of the school and the school system in which they were employed (State, Catholic, and Independent).


Au, W. (2007). High-Stakes Testing and Curricular Control: A Meta-Synthesis . Educational Researcher, 258-267.

Barret, B. (2009). No Child Left Behind and the assault on teachers' professional practices and identities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25 (8), 1018-1025.

Ryan, R., & Wesinstein, N. (2009). Undermining Quality Teaching and Learning: A Self Determination Theory Perspective on High-Stakes Testing. Theory and Research in Education, 7 (2), 224-233.