Empowering teachers with NAPLAN data
When Jeremy Waters returned to Australia after a successful stint leading various education recruitment organisations in the UK, he was quickly picked up by Best Performance – a move that would transform the organisation forever.
Mr Waters believed in the company's purpose – that every child has the right to progress – and saw great opportunity in the business. Soon after he began his tenure in 2015, working alongside founder Luke George, they developed and introduced a new way to tame NAPLAN data by using technology. With a fresh approach to delivering their services, this initiated the transformation of what was once a small consulting company into a cloud-based solutions service provider with unlimited scope.
"Best Performance has always been about changing the lives of teachers and students."
"Best Performance has always been about changing the lives of teachers and students," explained Mr Waters.
"By bringing our services into an online offering, we could be helping more students, more teachers, and more schools."
However, it was essential to translate the same experience and knowledge that Best Performance previously offered through one-on-one workshops and live presentations to an electronic form that was still easily accessible and user-friendly.
With this value-driven mindset, the two created CNAP.
Customised NAPLAN Analysis Platform (CNAP)
CNAP gives teachers and administrators a range of resources and services that both help them understand and use NAPLAN data effectively. Presenting statistics and charts, the service also develops learning plans for each student it has data on and offers a course of action that can be individualised to each student.
"CNAP will develop intervention strategies, provide information about setting up learning plans and strategies to enhance the journey of each student – it doesn't matter if he or she is at the top or bottom of the class," stated Mr Waters.
What's more, these learning plans are not just based on their most recent test performance. It accumulates the data and makes recommendations based on each student's entire NAPLAN history, offering an holistic analysis that teachers and administrators generally are not capable to do independently.
In essence, CNAP enables education personnel to not only uncover which students are at risk, but find out what exactly it is that they do not know and how best to help them.
Overcoming NAPLAN issues with better use of the information
It is no secret that there is an undertone of adversity towards the use of NAPLAN. Reports of stressed students and a lack of dialogue with parents seem to be driving the problems. But this could largely be due to the way the system has been implemented, as it has not emphasised how the data can be utilised.
While NAPLAN testing is not mandatory in most states, many Australian schools use it as a guide to know what is working in their curriculum delivery and what is not. With most schools relying on it, the national database creates a benchmark for our children's education and enables better-informed educators, explained Director General of Education Diane Joseph to ABC.
"It is expected that children do sit the NAPLAN tests because it enables everyone – parents, teachers, students – to have more information about how children are progressing," said Ms Joseph.
But without an analysis system in place to ensure teachers are best utilising this data to their own and their students' benefits, there is no guarantee that the testing will result in positive, timely and actionable outcomes. And this is not necessarily the teacher's fault.
"CNAP is about generating more intelligent conversations about the classroom."
In larger schools, there is also the issue of bureaucracy, as teachers generally have to wait for the analysis and recommendations to be pushed down to them by principals and school administrators before they can engage in the data. But too often they do not explore the rich data procured by the NAPLAN tests, limiting the depth of their insight and reducing their ability to make informed strategic changes in the classroom.
Empowering teachers with real-time data
CNAP overcomes many of these problems. The service complements the core purpose of NAPLAN testing, but repackages it as a complete, truly usable and meaningful assessment of student performance.
By creating the CNAP service, Best Performance allows for the standardised NAPLAN testing to generate customised plans that can enhance each and every student's education. They are using the blanket test results to facilitate a personalised learning experience. But it also allows for teachers to feel confident in their decisions.
"CNAP is all about generating more intelligent conversations about the classroom," stated Mr Waters.
"It's empowering teachers to have better conversations – with themselves, with principals, but also with parents – because they are armed with information. They are not guessing or using intuition, they are looking at hard and fast data and can use this information to make adjustment themselves."
"It's really empowering."
Schools can generate deeper insights about student performance and provide solutions to help each and every student progress with CNAP. To find out more or to sign your school up, get in touch with Luke or Jeremy today.