Students succumb to 'significant stress' from NAPLAN tests

UNACCEPTABLE levels of stress, anxiety and illness are being placed on primary school students sitting NAPLAN tests, a Senate inquiry was told on Friday.

The inquiry held a hearing in Melbourne on Friday to listen to the views of the Australian Primary Principals Association along with unions and academics.

Greens Senator Penny Wright, who sits on the Senate Standing Committee on Education, said she had been overwhelmed by the response to the inquiry.

She said from the evidence given so far, there was no doubt that "NAPLAN is a high stakes test causing significant stress for students and teachers alike".

The inquiry heard from APPA president Norm Hart on Friday, after the association had supplied its submission highlighting stress associated with the testing.

In the submission, the association said the tests had "serious unintended consequences" on student wellbeing, as well as parent and teacher stress.

"The CANVASS survey found 66% of respondents said NAPLAN testing has a negative impact on the wellbeing of students," the submission reads.

It also showed up to 59% of respondents believed the test had a "somewhat negative" impact while another 7% said it was "very negative".

"When the survey probed for specific behaviours and impacts relating to wellbeing there was a clear pattern of approximately 50% of respondents sometimes seeing students stressed, expressing fear of failure, being sick around the time of the tests or withdrawing from the tests," the submission reads.

"However, high levels of stress and fear of failure are considerably more prevalent than sickness or withdrawal from the tests."The inquiry has received submission from 89 individuals and groups, and is due to report at the end of next week.

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