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Cultural change a vital key to social justice in disability education: NAPLAN

posted on 2019-07-04, 00:00 authored by Susan Teather, Wendy HillmanWendy Hillman
Background: The start of 2018 has evoked conflict between the State and Federal Governments over National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy’s (NAPLAN) worth in Australian education. NAPLAN prevails over the National Curriculum as a standardised test that not only dominates everyday classroom structure, but also the validity of the existence of students with disability in education; often leaving them shrouded in a cloak of protectionist gatekeeping of ‘invisibility’ on testing days. Purpose: Australian education lacks empirical research to identify areas where students with disabilities are slipping between the cracks of disability legislation and the real world. The research aim was to identify the reality of inclusive practices on NAPLAN testing days for students with disabilities. Method: The research was undertaken using a cross sectional mixed methods, including quantitative and qualitative approaches, sourced from secondary data. The research tested the theory – ‘Is NAPLAN controlled to the detriment of the micro-sociological debate of students with disabilities, for inclusive education and social justice’? Findings: The findings showed a vastly undocumented number of students with disabilities who were either ‘encouraged to stay home’ or excluded from sitting the NAPLAN test; under a deceptive system of gatekeeping within Queensland schools. Conclusion: The study showed students with disabilities experienced exclusion practices that affect not only the NAPLAN results, but also in their absence in vital funding. Thus resulting in Principals having to drain other areas of their budgets to subsidise disability education. Thus culminating in a spiralling situation for students with disabilities to achieve a socially just education that affords them the ability to be counted; slipping between the cracks of legislation and practices, in vastly under estimated numbers. Key learning outcomes: It is not legislation that will improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities in Queensland schools, but a change in the educational culture of inclusion.Impact on educational practice for students on the autism spectrum. This presentation will impact the way we look at disability legislation and the real world of education in Queensland. Highlighting that this is only one side of the story in the challenge for the capabilities of the Australian curriculum, as Autism becomes one of the most prevalent disabilities in schools.


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Brisbane, Australia


Aspect Autism in Education

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

Aspect Autism in Education Conference (AIE 2018)

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