Teachers have hailed the NSW government's condemnation of NAPLAN as a death knell for the test, even though the federal government insists it is not going anywhere.
At a meeting of education ministers on Friday, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the national test was supported by parents, who considered it a valuable update on their child's literacy and numeracy skills.
NAPLAN will not be going away any time soon because it is an important deliverable in terms of giving Australian parents information about how their child is tracking," he said.
A review of the test, looking at concerns such as child stress and whether the results were misrepresented, was expected later in the year.
"Of course we'll be open to any improvements to NAPLAN, and ultimately if the recommendations in the Gonski report lead to something even better in terms of assessment and progress and transparency to parents, we'll work through that at that stage as well," Senator Birmingham said.
NSW Education minister Rob Stokes said after the meeting that the push to reform or replace NAPLAN had strong support. “I encourage the Commonwealth to take Gonski’s recommendations seriously with regard to implementing a best practice diagnostic testing regime as soon as is practical.”
Mr Stokes this week condemned the test and called for its urgent replacement, saying its results were being misused dishonestly and the industry that had grown around it was extorting money from desperate parents.
He cited the newly-released Gonski report into excellence in education, which said standardised tests were of limited value to teachers and schools and suggested a new system that assessed individual student progress.
Mr Gonski would not be drawn on the NAPLAN debate after Friday's meeting. "We didn't comment on that, and I don't think we wish to comment on that," he said. "We have explained the tool we are in favour of, but I think it's up to others to comment."
But NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said the decision by Australia's most populous state, NSW, to condemn NAPLAN spelled the beginning of the end of the controversial test.
"[NAPLAN's] days are numbered, and there is a momentum building. I think this is a watershed moment. Finally we have bipartisan support [at state level] for what teachers have been saying for years."
Mr Gonski briefed state ministers on his report in Adelaide on Friday.
Senator Birmingham said there was a "shared sense of ambition" about Gonski 2.0 and ministers would follow up with officials in the next few months on discussions over how the recommendations can form part of a new schools reform agreement.