Students around Australia will take part in the NAPLAN testing program next term, but a growing number of parents feel that it that creates unnecessary anxiety.

The NAPLAN testing program will return for another year this term, aiming to collect important data that can be used by teachers to assess student performance. The NAPLAN tests are also marketed as a way of allowing governments to identify state-wide issues and provide additional support to disadvantaged students and schools. A growing number of parents, however, are expressing their concern about the impact of the tests on the mental health of students.

Nothing New

There have been calls not only from parents but also from teachers and former education ministers, to put a stop to the NAPLAN program. Dr. Rachel Wilson, a senior lecturer at the Sydney University School of Education and Social Work, has said that the tests simply aren’t the valuable resource they claim to be.

“There was a lot of rhetoric that suggested that NAPLAN could be diagnostic and used to inform teaching,” she said. “In practice, the test is not sensitive enough and the timing does not help teachers apply what they can learn from the test.”

One mum said she would not be allowing her son, who requires additional learning support, to take part.

“NAPLAN will do nothing other than damage his fragile confidence,” she wrote. “He’ll not be able to complete the tasks and we will likely get the inevitable results letting us know how behind he is.”

Worth The Stress?

There is evidence that some children worry that poor performance in NAPLAN may mean they “will never get a job, have money or buy a house”. Dr. Rachel Wilson believes that the use of the test results to compare students and schools has reduced its effectiveness.

“MySchool has…created downward pressure and stress on schools, students and teachers,” she said. Her colleague, Jim Tognilini agrees. “Schools are advertising themselves and selecting students based on NAPLAN results,” he said. “Because of this, NAPLAN has lost its credibility.”

NAPLAN has definitely copped its fair share of criticism, and it’s been proven time and time again that these sorts of tests don’t accurately reflect a student’s ability. With parents, teachers, and students calling for it to be abolished, perhaps it’s time to find an alternative…

Are you thinking about pulling your child out of the NAPLAN tests? Let us know in the comments.

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  • when my autistic son was in primary school they didn’t make him do it. when I homeschooled him he didn’t do it. he gets really bad anxiety.


  • NAPLAN isn’t designed to be a reflection on individual children but rather is supposed to help teachers, schools and the department of education understand broader gaps to focus on for students. The pressure put on teachers to have their classes perform well in these tests leading teachers to disproportionately focus on naplan practice is unfortunate. I will not be allowing my child to sit for naplan while this is the case.


  • I do not think it’s worth the stress! I had 2 of mine sit naplan this year and leading up to it they were both stressed. To much focus is on naplan where I think something could be a little different to do for the students.


  • It’s like trying to teach a fish to fly. Everyone has their own skills and abilities. NAPLAN is useless.


  • It can create stress but I was always brought up and share with kids to just do their best.


  • I haven’t any that age now but I thought it was to pick up those children that needed extra help. I think it has become a big thing for teachers to work towards but needed.


  • My children too old for this – but I always wanted them to do every test they could do when they were young and they all now have great resilience.


  • No.I am happy to let them to do the test and understand how they are doing.


  • No I believe that it prepares them for exam conditions later in schooling


  • No. My son was actually excited to do it..


  • No I never pulled any of my 3 kids out of NAPLAN, they stress a bit like with any other test but they do know it’s all not that big of a deal


  • No, but we never ever placed any priority on the NAPLAN results.


  • No we haven’t. It’s really not that big of a deal. Kids do tests all the time at school.


  • My kids never stressed about it. We approached it just as another test or score in time, also for the school to see if they’re on track. I always said you just give it a try, you don’t fail.


  • I think it’s good practice for tests, hopefully the more tests they do, the less they will be worried by them. I try not to make it a big deal, and encourage them to enjoy the fun, puzzle solving aspect of it.


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