Pupils at St Francis Xavier Primary School were among the first in Ballarat to sit their NAPLAN tests online as the 2019 round of testing kicked off this week.
Thousands of Ballarat primary school pupils in grades three and five, and secondary students in years seven and nine, competed the first of five NAPLAN tests measuring literacy and numeracy.
Sixty-six year three students at St Francis Xavier completed their writing test on Monday with traditional pen and paper, while the 52 year five students took the test online.
Principal Paul Bissinella said the online testing went off without a hitch, and would offer the school more meaningful feedback about student progress even faster than before.
"Definitely with the reading and maths tests, because it is an adaptive and intuitive test it will show us how far our kids can go in that period of time," Mr Bissinella said.
NAPLAN will be held from 15 May for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Students will participate in tests for reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. See our #NAPLAN timeline infographic for key dates over the year. pic.twitter.com/mVeTFCIk1d— ACARA (@ACARAeduau) March 28, 2018
Unlike the paper tests, the online questions vary and extend the students depending on their answers.
"It adapts to their ability and extends them," Mr Bissinella said. "A lot of our kids do really well and we don't know what we don't know so this will help us to challenge them."
The school will receive the online results back far earlier than the traditional paper test which requires grading and assessment.
"This will be beneficial because we will be able to use that information to help set student goals, so instead of receiving results in August or September we will get them back earlier."
Mr Bissinella said the results would also measure how effective the school's teaching and learning programs were, and the school could adapt to the results.
It adapts to their ability and extends them," Mr Bissinella said. "A lot of our kids do really well and we don't know what we don't know so this will help us to challenge them.Paul Bissinella
To ensure the online testing was sound, the school took part in coordinated practice testing and a number of staff went to training provided by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority who implement the NAPLAN testing.
"We wanted to make sure we were familiar with the process, and the kids were familiar with how it might look so we took part in the practice testing," he said.
Online NAPLAN testing last year was problematic with schools reporting glitches, drop outs and other technology issues. The goal is for all students to do NAPLAN online next year.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.