Students at rich schools ready to switch to online NAPLAN testing faster could receive higher marks, Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright has revealed.
The administrative agency ACARA has told Senate Estimates the new adaptive testing method could lead to higher scores and it would consider bulk-adjusting scores if necessary.
Senator Wright said adaptive testing would ease the stress of NAPLAN testing by adjusting to student capabilities, but warned less well-resourced schools might be left behind.
"I've spoken to schools across Australia that can't imagine having the computer infrastructure to conduct NAPLAN online in the near future," Senator Wright said.
"Online testing will provide a better measure of what students really know, instead of the dated multiple-choice paper tests we have now.
"It is a real concern that in those transition years that we will be comparing apples with oranges and those schools that can go online quicker will have an advantage.
"This matters because NAPLAN is so high-stakes and is being used to rank schools as being superior or inferior on the MySchool website."
NAPLAN online, which will be rolled out from 2017, will include adaptive testing measures - meaning students performing well will get increasingly challenging questions, while struggling students will get easier questions.