That six letter acronym that can cause major angst among parents and students alike.
What is it?
Who does it?
What does it mean?
When is it?
What are the tests?
There are many questions surrounding NAPLAN and sometimes it can be a bit of a minefield for parents to find the information they need. Here are ten points that may help you understand just that little bit better what all the fuss is about.
1. What does NAPLAN stand for?
NAPLAN stands for National Assessment Program – Literacy And Numeracy
2. Why was it created?
NAPLAN began in 2008 and was created to test skills in both literacy and numeracy which have been developed over time through the school curriculum.
3. Who sits it?
NAPLAN is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.
Over 1 million students sit the tests each year according to ACARA (Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority). Students in these year levels in all schools, whether government or non government, are expected to participate, however it is not compulsory.
4. What sort of tests are there?
NAPLAN is made up of four separate assessment areas or domains. They are:
• Language Conventions (which includes spelling, grammar and punctuation)
5. When is it?
It is held annually in May, and is run over three days. For current dates, visit the NAPLAN website.
If a student is absent during any of the tests, schools are allowed to administer the missed test on another designated day. If the student is absent on that day as well, the student will miss out.
6. Who marks it?
For multiple choice questions, the student’s answers are scanned and marked electronically. All other responses, including the writing task, are marked by independent markers, who are qualified and experienced teachers, and undergo a training program each year. This is all overseen by ACARA but each State is responsible for administering and marking the tests. In Queensland, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority is responsible.
7. How does it help teachers?
NAPLAN results are able to help teachers to challenge higher performers as well as to readily identify those children who might need some extra support. It means that schools are able to map student progress and identify strengths and weaknesses in the teaching programs and to set measurable goals for future planning.
However, it must be remembered that NAPLAN is only one aspect of assessment of a child’s learning and is not a replacement of ongoing and extensive assessment by each teacher.
8. Can I prepare my child for NAPLAN?
The purpose of NAPLAN is to test skills and not content. These skills in literacy and numeracy have been developed over time through the school curriculum and whilst teachers ensure the students have an understanding of the test format, excessive preparation can lead to unnecessary anxiety. Just remind your child to do their best and that these tests are only one aspect of their schooling. If you are really worried then read about it here https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/24629.html and read our fact sheet on reducing Naplan stress.
9. Do students with special needs sit the tests?
All students are encouraged to sit the tests and those students with a disability may qualify for adjustments that they would normally receive in the classroom. Discuss this directly with your school principal.
10. Do I receive a report about my child’s performance?
Reports are sent to your child’s school later in the year then the school will send them on to you. If you do not receive a report, contact your school. All results are strictly confidential.
So hopefully these points will help to answer some of your questions regarding NAPLAN. If you have further questions, the best place to start with is your child’s school and check out https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/8017.html
Written by Australian Teacher Lisa Evans.