NAPLAN Online has passed an important milestone with flying colours, with online tests being conducted for almost 200,000 students, paving the way for transformation of the way that national assessment of Australian schoolchildren’s learning is performed.
The goal of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, which administers NAPLAN (National Assessment Programme – Literacy and Numeracy) is that by 2020 all NAPLAN testing will be conducted online. Over 1 million students currently sit NAPLAN each year.
Developed by Janison using Microsoft Azure the platform was designed with performance, security and resilience top of mind and has already been stress tested to handle up to 400,000 concurrent users.
NAPLAN Online has been designed to provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information. Results can be provided faster to schools, supporting teachers to address any learning gaps much sooner.
Also, NAPLAN Online has been designed to allow tailored testing. This provides students with questions that better test their individual ability to ensure more precise assessment, meaning teachers are provided with much more detailed insights about individual students.
Tom Richardson is CEO of Janison, which has developed the underlying technology platform working closely with Microsoft engineers to ensure a robust, secure and high performing solution. He explained that the way the platform has been designed allows for adaptive testing where the way a student performs on one set of questions determines the set of questions they are next directed to. “That can’t be done on paper,” said Richardson.
“This delivers a lot more insight about a student. You can precisely work out where someone sits and where their specific areas of strengths and weaknesses are.
“That gives you the kind of insight so that you can have a much more focused intervention and a much more precise development opportunity.”
The online platform also lends itself to the sort of continuous assessment that has been recommended as part of the David Gonski-led, Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools released in May.
“That’s really the next wave of evolution in this sort of style of testing. It is much more continuous, much more personalised, and delivers outcomes quickly so that teachers can intervene directly with students in a personalised way to deliver educational outcomes faster and with reduced stress” said Richardson.
NAPLAN Online demonstrates that with the correct design and robust technical foundation it is possible to conduct secure online testing at scale.
Janison’s design and Microsoft’s resilient and high performing technical foundations meant; “NAPLAN Online did perform and performed under load, under extensive load. This demonstrates that online assessment can be done at scale, it can be done reliably, and it is a viable way to do assessment,” said Richardson.
Richardson added that because the solution has been developed on Microsoft Azure and makes use of the highly flexible Azure Service Fabric, similar – but tailored – online testing solutions could be developed for international markets. “There’s no reason why that same technology and that same platform can’t be used in other geographies, which is essentially what we’re starting to do now in the UK, Singapore and other geographies,” he added.