There are some myths and misconceptions about the National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) in the community. Find out the facts about NAPLAN and how you can help your child do their best on the tests.
What is NAPLAN?
The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment of Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. There are four tests covering the areas (‘domains’) of reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy.
NAPLAN helps you, as a parent or carer, to understand how your child is doing in the important areas of literacy and numeracy. You receive an individual report, showing your child’s results and a national comparison of their performance against other Australian students in their year level. In some states and territories you will also be shown your child’s performance relative to their school.
NAPLAN allows teachers to see how their students are progressing, and identify any areas of weakness and celebrate success. On a wider level, NAPLAN gives governments, education authorities and schools information on whether young Australians are reaching essential literacy and numeracy standards and how students are progressing at a nationally consistent level. School level NAPLAN data is used on the My School website to help show how a school is performing compared to schools with similar students.
In 2017 the NAPLAN tests will be held nationwide for three days on 9-11 May.
What’s all the fuss about?
NAPLAN causes a lot of discussion and debate in the media and the community. Here are some of the myths about NAPLAN and what you need to know to help your child do their best on the tests.
MYTH: NAPLAN is too stressful for students
It’s true, some kids get may get stressed by tests. But schools and teachers have always given students tests and a little nervousness before a test is normal. It’s important to remember that NAPLAN tests are just four hours (over three days) – held four times over the course of a child’s schooling. They are not pass or fail tests, and there are no repercussions for students if they don’t do well. Try to help your child keep NAPLAN in perspective and to manage any stress if they are concerned about the tests. Reassure your child that NAPLAN is just one of many assessments they will do throughout their schooling life and beyond – and that all they need to do is to try their best.
MYTH: Kids need to study for NAPLAN to do well
Students are not expected to study for NAPLAN. NAPLAN tests skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum. By teaching the English and mathematics curriculum as part of everyday classroom activity, teachers are preparing your child for NAPLAN. While students can’t really study for the NAPLAN tests, you can help your child get comfortable with the ‘look and feel’ of the tests and to understand the kinds of questions they will have to answer by going through the example tests with them.
MYTH: NAPLAN forces schools to ‘teach to the test’
Teaching reading, writing and maths is something schools do every day. Teaching the English and mathematics curriculum, along with the other subject areas, is the best preparation for NAPLAN. Many schools will also help prepare students by getting them used to the NAPLAN style of testing in the weeks leading up to the tests. This can help students feel comfortable on the day and do their best. But excessive test preparation using commercial test booklets, previous NAPLAN tests, drilling or coaching is not necessary. If you feel that your child’s school is spending too much time on NAPLAN preparation, talk to your child’s teacher or school principal.
Visit the NAP website to find out more.