The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 93–110 | Cite as

NAPLAN and the role of edu-business: New governance, new privatisations and new partnerships in Australian education policy



This paper provides a critical analysis of the edu-businesses currently working in partnership with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to deliver the Commonwealth government policy initiative of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). These emerging public–private partnerships (PPPs) exemplify new heterarchical governance structures in Australia, where a network of public and private agents now contribute to education policy processes. In analysing the NAPLAN policy network, this account seeks to proffer a critical analysis on the evolving PPPs in Australia and ascertains in whose interests and with what outcomes these PPPs operate. The NAPLAN policy network is analysed in relation to the contemporary state and its changing modus operandi, in which I draw on the notions of heterarchies, networks and new governance structures in education to understand these developments. Network ethnography is employed to document the network of PPPs that are associated with NAPLAN and other government initiatives in Australia, and in particular, I reflect on the activities of Pearson and the Australian Council for Educational Research to problematise what these policy networks mean.


NAPLAN Edu-business Governance Privatisations Public/private partnerships 


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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