Transition to NAPLAN online delayed by a year

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Transition to NAPLAN online delayed by a year

New deadline set after technical glitches.

Federal, state and territory education ministers have agreed to push back the deadline for the transition to NAPLAN online after the online platform experienced technical glitches last month.

The decision taken at a sitting of the Education Council on Friday shifts the goal posts for the transition to the online version of the NAPLAN numeracy and literacy benchmarking tests by all schools to 2021.

The plan had been for all schools to transition to the online platform by next year – a year later than Australia's national curriculum authority, ACARA, had first aimed for.

Around 50 percent of schools took part in the annual benchmarking exams this year, up from around 15 percent - or approximately 190,000 students in years three, five, seven and nine.

While around 2.17 million online tests were completed during May this year, a series of technical issues on the first day of testing caused widespread connectivity issues for schools.

States like NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia were particularly hard hit, with up to 30,000 students having to re-sit the tests.

The issues lead to renewed calls from the Australian Education Union to dump online platform, while state education ministers were also highly critical of the glitches.

At the meeting on Friday education ministers reaffirmed that a key aim of the NAPLAN online program was offering students and schools “a simpler and more efficient experience”.

Ministers also received an update on the independent report commissioned into the disruption that will “support efforts to identify and address the issues for future assessments”.

ACARA is yet to detail the cause of the issue, though the problems have been blamed on an incorrectly configured firewall.

The Education Council will wait until the review has concluded and the “scope of the low/no bandwidth solution finalised” before considering whether to extend the 2021 transition deadline.

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