What the NAPLAN Fail Tells Us About Testing in Education?

Implications of Software Testing in the field of Education

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) are school tests administered to Australian students. This August, the online program was offered to 1.5 million students. Students failed to log on. 

Had the software undergone functional testing, the program could have launched successfully. A functional testing company verifies every function of the software function as per requirements. It is a black box type of testing where the internal structure of the product is not known to the tester.

Functional and Performance Issues – Naplan’s problem has been ongoing. In March, it took students 80 minutes to get to online tests. The requirement was of 5 minutes. The software performed shockingly different from what was planned. 30,000 students had to retake tests, which too were marred by technical glitches. The test data was not automatically saved. The data recovery time was 15 minutes compared to the requirement of zero minutes. Once again, the software did not perform as expected. Eventually, the problem was resolved, however, it came at the expense of dropouts and time lags. 

Accessibility Issues – Naplan software had other errors that a functional testing company could have taken care of. The features that were designed for students with disabilities were not functional. Alternate text for students was missing, incorrect and inaccessible for students with auditory disabilities. The color contrast was poor. The color contrast was of immense importance to those who required accessibility help with seeing visuals. 

In the Naplan case, a functional testing company would prepare several test cases to verify the functionality of the login page, accessibility features, load times and data recovery times against the requirements specified. Functional testing would cover unit testing, integration testing, interface testing, and regression testing. In addition to manual testing, a functional testing company would perform automation testing. Software testing tools automate tests to improve the accuracy and speed of execution.

Read More »