Emojis land on NAPLAN: Students to analyse text chats

HIGH school students are being asked to analyse SMS chats with emojis instead of literary texts in practice ­NAPLAN online exams, sparking concerns the flagship literacy assessment is being dumbed down.

The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has posted a series of public demonstration "mini-tests" ahead of this year's transition to online ­NAPLAN testing, so students and teachers can become familiar with the digital format.

But the Year 9 reading test is already causing alarm, because it asks 14 and 15-year-olds to answer a series of basic comprehension questions in response to a screenshot of text message conversation about a drama teacher's facial hair.

Students are asked questions about the text, including who sent the first message and whether 'mo' refers to Mr Grigg's moustache.
 

Year 9 students Imogen Crawley and Bethany Lord will be analysing text message chats with emojis instead of literary texts in practice NAPLAN online exams this year.
Year 9 students Imogen Crawley and Bethany Lord will be analysing text message chats with emojis instead of literary texts in practice NAPLAN online exams this year. Tara Croser

The NAPLAN website says the sample tests have questions "similar to the NAPLAN Online 2017 tests".

An ACAA spokeswoman defended the text test, saying the demo site included a range of reading text types "from traditional to contemporary", with students expected to "analyse, interpret and evaluate a wide range of texts in context, including various types of authentic media texts, such as newspapers, film and digital".

Kevin Donnelly, a senior research fellow with the Australian Catholic University, slammed the practice test as "very unsophisticated".

"The bar is set so low that it is giving students, teachers and parents a false sense of the standards," Dr Donnelly said.

"By Year 9, I would expect that rather than having a very simplistic, superficial text as this one, there would be more focus on students being able to read more ­literary works, whether it is an extract, or poem, or prose, where they are asked to infer and deduce more high order skills."

Fiona Laing, the president of the English Teachers Association of Queensland, also criticised the text choice.

"If you are trying to assess how kids are going ... it is just a slightly odd choice to make - a fake adult version of how kids text," she said.

Jennifer Buckingham from the Centre for Independent studies said her initial reaction was the reading test took a "dumbed-down approach", but she said it was important students were able to understand and interpret informal communication.

News Corp Australia


How to save $200 on your electricity bill

How to save $200 on your electricity bill

Slash your power bill and reduce your impact on the environment

12 fantastic things to do this week

12 fantastic things to do this week

From ice skating in Ballina to a tantra festival in Byron Bay

Attention gin lovers: Impressive wins for local distillery

Attention gin lovers: Impressive wins for local distillery

North Coast distillery takes out top gongs at major competition

Local Partners