The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 327–343 | Cite as

Investigating the impact of NAPLAN on student, parent and teacher emotional distress in independent schools

  • S. L. RogersEmail author
  • L. Barblett
  • K. Robinson


Concerns have been raised about the impact Australia’s national standardised testing, the National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), has upon the well-being of students, parents and teachers. To date, research evidence is unclear as to the level and extent of emotional distress experienced by stakeholders during testing. Despite an unclear evidence base, the prevailing view is that NAPLAN has a general negative impact upon stakeholder well-being. In a pilot study that surveyed all stakeholder groups across 11 independent schools in Western Australia, we found evidence of a minimal impact from the testing. We also found evidence for a small positive association between student and parent distress during testing, and a moderate positive association between parent and teacher distress during testing and their estimations regarding how NAPLAN impacts other people. Our results are not consistent with the prevailing view that NAPLAN has a broad negative impact on well-being, and highlights the need for further research to inform debates about the usefulness and impact of NAPLAN testing.


NAPLAN Well-being Emotional distress Standardised testing Stakeholder perspectives 



This research was funded by the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA). The authors would like to acknowledge the participation of all the principals, teachers, parents and students who made this research possible.


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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