Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1265 ..
MS BERRY: Mr Milligan, it is every state and territory’s responsibility to deliver NAPLAN as part of an agreement with the federal government, but it is not this government’s responsibility as far as how NAPLAN works across our communities—I am supporting our schoolteachers in making sure that our kids get great education every single day of the year, not just for this week, for these three days of the year, when there is a point-in-time test that provides a tool, but just one tool, for teachers to use to support a child in their education.
MR HANSON: Minister, do you not like NAPLAN because, in actual fact, it exposes 20 years of failure in the education system by ACT Labor?
MS BERRY: Again, I am happy to talk about my views on NAPLAN, because my views on NAPLAN, the test itself, are that it is there; it provides some data for teachers; and it is an additional tool that they can include in their kit, to be able to support a child’s education. What I do not support about NAPLAN is the way that it is reported—the way it points the finger at individual schools and individual students, belittles them and makes them feel like they have not been successful. It does not tell the whole story of a child’s education journey, and that is where I disagree with NAPLAN. I do not see that it is of value to be able to pit schools against each other, or students and classes against each other, in such a public and national way. I just do not think that is useful for a child’s education, and I have been consistent on that all the way along.
MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. Minister, an ACT Auditor-General’s report of 2017 found that ACT public schools are performing below similar schools in other jurisdictions. The Australia Institute in 2017 found that there is a systemic problem with the relative performance of high-SES government primary schools in the ACT. Victoria University in 2017 found that ACT numeracy results are markedly below those of the rest of the country. And an ANU report in 2018 found that for government schools there was systemic underperformance in primary and high schools in NAPLAN. Minister, are the Auditor-General, the ANU, the Australia Institute and Victoria University wrong when they say that the ACT schools are underperforming?
MS BERRY: As I said before, I think you need to be careful around comparisons in different jurisdictions and for different schools because in the ACT we have a unique feature where we have high numbers of parents and families who are on higher incomes or higher levels of title, if you like, and then that skews the kinds of comparisons that these organisations are making. Of course academics and various researchers will make assessment and use data and tell different stories. That is what data is used for. But I think you need to be careful when you are comparing jurisdictions against jurisdictions—
Mrs Kikkert interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: Do not respond to interjections.