Earlier Naplan testing would mean children who needed help would get it sooner, a regional educational leader has said. But the Australian Education Union said that the test failed to properly assess student outcomes and disregarded "the actual learning happening in classrooms". The nation-wide test, this year held in March for the first time, measures whether students are hitting important literacy and numeracy goals. It has continued to divide opinions over its effectiveness. Dr Chris Hayes who is the chief Catholic mission learning and teaching officer from Catholic Education Sandhurst in Bendigo said the earlier testing for literacy and numeracy skills would enable children to get the assistance they needed sooner. "Schools use a variety of diagnostic tools to measure student's learning achievements and NAPLAN is just one of those tools," Dr Hayes said. "Bringing NAPLAN forward to March will provide more time for schools to set priorities for the student to build further capacity and to enable them to flourish. "NAPLAN provides information about how literacy and numeracy programs are working in individual schools and identifies strengths, as well as areas for improvement. "By gaining an understanding of where schools are at in their learning and teaching, teachers are able to develop strategies to improve outcomes." This year, NAPLAN testing ran from March 15 to March 27 after it was brought forward from May in previous years. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority CEO David de Carvalho said the change had been made following agreement by education ministers. READ MORE: "This means valuable data will be available earlier to inform teaching and learning programs, and to identify professional development needs," Mr de Carvalho said. "It also means parents will receive results earlier in the year, helping to inform the conversations they have with teachers." Australian Education Union federal president Correna Haythorpe said the shift in timing "has done nothing to address the problematic nature of the test". "NAPLAN fails to properly assess student outcomes and disregards the actual learning happening in classrooms," Ms Haythorpe. "The AEU's 2021 State of our Schools survey found an overwhelming majority of public school teachers, principals and education support staff believe that NAPLAN is not fit-for-purpose and is ineffective as a diagnostic tool. "Instead, 73 per cent said that NAPLAN adds to teacher workloads and 86 per cent said that it contributes to student stress and anxiety." Ms Haythorpe said the union and its members should be consulted to develop "teacher-led and formative classroom based assessments that relieve the competitive and high stakes nature of NAPLAN to focus on student and teacher needs". The change of dates to bring NAPLAN testing forward in the academic year follows a transition to NAPLAN online. All students undertook NAPLAN online in 2022, with the exception of year 3 writing which remains a paper test. These maths questions came from previous NAPLAN tests for students in years 7 and 9. Students weren't able to use calculators, see how you go.