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Rapid decline and gender disparities in the NAPLAN writing data

Thomas, DP ORCID: 0000-0001-6400-6901 2019 , 'Rapid decline and gender disparities in the NAPLAN writing data' , The Australian Educational Researcher , pp. 1-20 , doi: 10.1007/s13384-019-00366-8.

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Abstract

The rapid decline in Australian students’ performance on the National AssessmentProgram—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) writing test is an issue of nationalconcern. This paper presents the frst investigation into patterns of achievement andprogress on the NAPLAN writing test across the tested year levels (3, 5, 7 and 9)between 2011 and 2018, with a focus on gender diferences. The fndings reveal aconsiderable decline in writing performance for both genders over time, with a majordisparity of up to 2 years of learning in test outcomes between male and female students. While performance of girls exceeded year-level standards when averaged overthe 8 years, the average performance of boys was consistently below standards, withmale students falling further behind female students across the school years. Yetaverage scores for both genders have declined signifcantly since 2011. Drawing oncurrent international research into the teaching of writing and standardised writingtests, the paper considers two possible causes for this decline which are often communicated by education stakeholders: inefective writing instruction, and issues withthe design and implementation of the NAPLAN writing test. The paper calls for anational conversation about how we might efectively teach and assess writing

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Thomas, DP
Keywords: NAPLAN, writing instruction, standardised assessment
Journal or Publication Title: The Australian Educational Researcher
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 2210-5328
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s13384-019-00366-8
Copyright Information:

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2019

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