AS the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) exams roll round again we start to hear the same questions and concerns.
Some parents and educators call the exams an unnecessary stress for students who don't need to be exposed to such pressure.
Others questions the value of the exam results given they appear open to manipulation by parents who have their children coached specifically for NAPLAN outside of regular schooling.
And then there are those who take issue with the publication of NAPLAN results on the MySchool website each year.
For all of that, though, there must surely be a place for NAPLAN in today's education system.
At its heart, NAPLAN is objective, standardised measure of student achievement in the vital areas of literacy and numeracy. And even allowing for its possible flaws, surely it can only be a benefit to have more information rather than less about each of our students.
While there may be some value in comparing the results from one school to another to try and determine better teaching strategies, the greatest benefit of NAPLAN is comparing each student's results to their own as they progress through school.
As in all areas of life, though, some schools do a better job of interpreting and capitalising on that data than others.
But that's not a fault of NAPLAN. If there is an inconsistency then the focus should be on helping all schools make the most of NAPLAN data rather than trying to stop the exams.
The greater concern as we head into this year's NAPLAN, though, should be the variances we saw last year between schools that conducted the exams online and those who did them by traditional pen and paper.
One-in-five schools in 2018 allowed their students to do the NAPLAN tests online as part of a move to all online testing down the track. As the results were collated, it appeared students who did the online tests were at a significant advantage, though even those findings have been disputed within the industry.
It's a debate that NAPLAN does not need so the sooner we get back to all schools doing the exams one way or the other the better.
NAPLAN is nothing without the data that comes from it. And nobody can afford for that data to be doubted.