Responding to reports that some schools are experiencing technical difficulties during practice tests, the Australian Education Union (AEU) labelled the transition to online testing a “debacle”.

“Schools have raised a raft of problems in practice tests over recent weeks,” AEU Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said.

“NAPLAN online has been fraught with technical difficulties.

"Schools are having trouble logging on to the online NAPLAN system and then difficulties with system drop-outs and internet bandwidth.

“Parents won’t be able to trust the 2019 NAPLAN results and their confidence in their school will be undermined.”

Around 50 per cent of schools nation-wide are expected to use NAPLAN online this year, up from just 15 per cent in 2018.

A spokesperson for ACARA said that safeguards are in place to protect against technical issues.

“If technical issues or anything unexpected do occur, there are procedures in place to manage any issues and ensure that all students are able to take the test. 

"For example, if internet connectivity is lost, the platform has been designed to manage this and saves student answers every 30 seconds,” the spokesperson said. 

“If there is an issue with the technology, assessments can be rescheduled if needs-be.

"Or the test can be taken on paper as a last resort, so that no student is disadvantaged and students are able to complete their NAPLAN assessment.”

The AEU is also critical of NAPLAN more broadly.

“The most effective way to assess students is the informed judgement of a teacher,” Peace said. 

"A point in time standardised test cannot capture the abilities and progress of a diverse student population.

“We call on the Morrison Government to conduct an urgent review of NAPLAN, rather than proceeding blindly with a flawed testing system.”

In a media release distributed today, ACARA highlighted the importance of the data gathered by NAPLAN.

“The data gained from NAPLAN have proven value – they are the only national set of education data available in Australia, which inform decisions about improving learning for all young students,” the release said.