'Principal feels gutted: students unable to complete NAPLAN resits

Students face another day of NAPLAN testing after schools suffered more technical glitches during resit exams on Tuesday, including at least one Sydney class that was unable to log on.

About 30,000 students across Australia, including 9700 in NSW, had to resit tests after connectivity and platform issues plagued the first round of testing that began on May 14.

However, some have reported experiencing a range of problems again, including one Sydney principal who said the countdown for some year 5 students' tests started at the point they had left the tests two weeks ago, locking them out in as little as 10 seconds after they began Tuesday's test.

"We then had to get all students to reopen the tests … that whole process took 30 minutes and one class could not be restarted, they're still waiting [to do the test]," the principal wrote in an email to her representative body.


She reported that her school never received the paper tests that the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) had promised to send as backups, meaning some students will either be unable to do the resit at all or will need to spend another day on NAPLAN, head of the NSW Primary Principals' Association Phil Seymour said.

Mr Seymour said teachers and principals had to contact the parents of each student who experienced glitches during the first round of testing to ask if they wanted to participate in the optional resits.

"That principal feels gutted that she had them go down this path and now the kids are distressed again," he said.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, which is responsible for the tests, acknowledged problems with the timer during the resits and said some students may have had to revert to paper.

"In organising the resits, steps and processes were required to enrol students, including resetting the timer. For some students the timer was not reset appropriately," a statement by ACARA reads.

"Many of these instances were managed in-class using procedures available in the platform. Advice received so far from [local test administration bodies] indicates that the majority of students successfully completed the tests, while others may have reverted to paper."

Jihad Dib, the NSW Opposition's education spokesman, said the online tests were expanded to 50 per cent of all students this year from 15 per cent last year, despite widespread warnings that schools weren't ready.

"Educators, including teachers' and principals' groups, had warned that going online would cause problems and ACARA's resolution was to expand it to 50 per cent," Mr Dib said.

"We need to think about the disruptions this has caused. And there were schools that had booked in excursions or events that couldn't be refunded on Tuesday and couldn't participate in the resits, what about those kids?"


Mr Dib and the heads of major teachers' and principals' groups are calling for this year's results to be kept off the MySchool website.

"We have schools that did the tests on paper, some did the online adaptive version, some students had problems, some had to resit new tests, there's no way in the world that this year's NAPLAN has data that is valid," he said.

A spokeswoman for NESA said in a statement it “is not aware of any schools, that notified of their intention to re-sit in time, not receiving paper contingency tests. NESA continues to provide follow up support to schools.”

Head of the NSW Secondary Principals' Council Chris Presland said principals will raise their concerns about NAPLAN online and the publication of this year's results onto the MySchool website at their next meeting with NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.

"They couldn't possibly push for NAPLAN to go completely online next year after what's occurred," Mr Presland said.

Most of the 9700 students that resat tests in NSW did so online but nationally, only half of the 30,000 students resitting tests did them online, while the remaining 15,000 did the paper versions.

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