Here’s a small exercise for you to try your child:
Ask them what is the first word that comes to their mind when you mention ‘NAPLAN’. What about the word ‘test’?
Is it a positive response? Depending on how your child performs under test situations, it could be. Maybe they shrug it off as something they give little thought to. Or, they could be in the percentage of students who experience a level of stress-induced anxiety at the mention of any test.
In the same way, NAPLAN produces a range of different responses among teachers, the media, interest groups and parents. Some love it, others don’t. For as much as there is praise for the NAPLAN tests, there is also scrutiny.
The fact is, NAPLAN is here to stay. At least for now. Though cancelled for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will return in 2021.
At GEA, we believe in uncovering the benefits in tests such as NAPLAN in supporting each student in their learning journey. That’s why we’ve written this blog – to help you and your child get the most out of their next NAPLAN tests.
If you’re unfamiliar with NAPLAN, why it exists and how it affects your child, this blog should help answer all your burning questions.
What is NAPLAN?
To add to the list of acronyms used in the education industry (think ATAR, HSC, PDHPE), NAPLAN stands for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy. It’s an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.
NAPLAN is a nationwide benchmark to assess whether students are developing the appropriate foundational literacy and numeracy skills needed to be productive members of the community.
The tests occur in May each year and act as a point in time assessment of the knowledge gained by the student in their prior year at school. Therefore, it is aligned to the Australian Curriculum for English and Mathematics.
What is the purpose of the tests?
The NAPLAN tests carry multiple key purposes:
- Help parents see how their child’s learning is progressing against the national standard and relative to their peers
- Assess whether teachers are teaching to the required outcomes and are adequately supporting students to achieve those outcomes
- Help teachers identify students who need additional support
- Evaluate the performance of schools to identify areas for improvement in education techniques and strategies
- A benchmark used to inform decision making by policy makers to shape the education system
What do the tests cover?
NAPLAN covers four major areas:
- Language conventions (spelling, grammar & punctuation)
In an ideal world, the tests should cover nothing new for students as they are largely based on content from the prior year at school. However, a small portion of the tests may include additional content taught in the year in which the students sit the test. More importantly, NAPLAN assesses content and skills that students should have learned at school. Whether they learned it or not is a different story.
Questions include both multiple choice and open-ended questions requiring short or long form responses.
Each student’s raw score on a test is scaled to allow for comparison against other students, resulting in overall NAPLAN scores.
NAPLAN 2021 will be computer-based for some schools, including the writing component. All schools will eventually transition from paper-based to computer-based assessments by 2022.
If your child’s school will be going online for NAPLAN from 2021, here is a link to some practice questions for NAPLAN Online:
How does the test help my child?
We know it may seem like an inconvenience to have your child sit an additional test besides the other tests they face in their school life. Let us tell you, this one is worth it! Especially the upcoming NAPLAN tests for 2021.
Why? Because this year has been a year like no other. COVID-19 and remote learning has likely brought disruptions to your child’s learning.
As the next NAPLAN will assess what your child has learned in 2020, it’s an excellent way to identify any learning gaps. As a parent, it’s important that you gain clarity on where your child is at in their learning journey to prevent them from lagging compared to peers.
Though NAPLAN is beneficial for assessing your child’s progress, it doesn’t replace the school’s regular reporting and performance assessment. We encourage you to continue to receive feedback from your child’s teacher to best understand their performance.
How can I get my child ready for NAPLAN?
It’s normal for students to become nervous in the lead up to NAPLAN, particularly given the number of times it’s mentioned by teachers and peers. Remind your child that NAPLAN is just another part of their school program and doesn’t determine their future.
In saying that, it’s always good to prepare. A few ways you can get your child ready include:
- Chat with your child’s teachers to ask for guidance on how to prepare your child.
- Make use of the past test papers and answers to help your child practise and grow comfortable with the types of questions asked.
- Enrol your child in our NAPLAN preparation course (Years 3 and 5) or (Years 7 and 9) in the April 2021 school holidays to cover revision of content and exam techniques in a structured environment plus learn effective strategies for time and stress management.
Still have questions about NAPLAN? Get in touch by calling us on 1300 001 432.
Start preparing now, enrol your child in maths and English with us as well as the NAPLAN Holiday course (12-16 April 2021).