What is NAPLAN?
There has been a lot of emphasis on NAPLAN since its introduction in 2008. NAPLAN is the National Assessment Program on Literacy And Numeracy, and it is standardised testing Australia-wide for students in grade 3, 5, 7 and 9. The NAPLAN testing aims to reflect the literary and numeracy level of students in States and Territories across Australia.
The NAPLAN testing scheme was introduced to ascertain how well Australian students performed in areas of reading, writing and numeracy skills at their grade level. It is to determine if students from particular schools are performing either above, at or below the national standard.
There has been some contention about the introduction of the NAPLAN and you will hear of certain schools favouring the NAPLAN more than others. The introduction of the national testing has provided consistency, comparability and transferability of information on students through standardised exams. This paves the way to more Australia-wide uniform curriculum to implement into the systems. This will ensure that each school is teaching all the information relevant to the curriculum and also provides a way to compare schools and teachers as well.
The pros and cons of the NAPLAN
Whether your child is in a NAPLAN year or about to go into one, you should be aware of what NAPLAN is and the importance of it. The validity of the NAPLAN as a testing instrument is measured by how well it provides results and outcomes about the schools. When schools, teachers, tutors and parents place an enormous emphasis on NAPLAN to ensure their student, school and teacher looks favourable, it disrupts the testing mechanism. Ideally, the NAPLAN is meant to test a school when they are in a normal school-year to effectively see how well their practices work with students. When there is a lot of anxiety placed on students to provide favourable results to reflect upon themselves, their teachers and school, it skews the nature of the test and weakens the testing capacity of NAPLAN.
This means that a lot of students across Australia in NAPLAN years are working harder to achieve higher results in the NAPLAN tests. While this can counter the true purpose of the NAPLAN, it does provide an indication of how students are performing Australia wide and how well your son or daughter is performing comparatively. NAPLAN is supposed to help guide, assist and develop student performance, not just measure and report on it.
How to prepare for NAPLAN
The NAPLAN testing will be quite different to the usual tests which your son or daughter will do in school, however it is also equally important. NAPLAN does have past tests available if you would like to give your child an indication of the upcoming test. The test itself is reported to have been getting harder each year, so don’t feel disheartened if your child doesn’t perform very well on the NAPLAN- it’s actually very difficult. You can still achieve very high results in class and poor results on the NAPLAN, and vice versa, this is sometimes a common theme. This is due to the NAPLAN tests focusing more on lateral thinking and abstract problem solving, which the students might not be used to in class.