NAPLAN results are currently being handing out across the country to students who sat the test in May. NAPLAN stands for The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, and is administered to grades 3, 5, 7 and 9.
Despite it’s divisive nature, NAPLAN is a fixture of the Australian education system and seems to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. According to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), results are not only used to measure individual students, they are also used to direct resources and get an overall picture of literacy and numeracy education in Australia.
The test covers the subject areas of reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. Due to its limited scope, it’s recommended that NAPLAN results are looked at in conjunction with school-based reports and assessments to get a full picture of a child’s progress.
The Student Reports that are sent home contain a quite extensive breakdown of skills assessed on the back page and what skill level is expected at each band. There is also an explanation of how to read the report, based on the graphical representation of results.
There is also a helpful video on the NAPLAN website to explain the test and how to interpret results.
From a parent’s perspective, NAPLAN results may not tell you anything you already didn’t know. Or there could be some surprises.
NAPLAN can help identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas tested. For example, while they may be a proficient reader, they may need some support in using grammar or punctuation.
Parents should use the results from NAPLAN as a way to celebrate and encourage your child’s strengths. This may indicate areas in which they have a particular interest or talent and could be challenged furthered.
Likewise, any areas where your child’s performance wasn’t strong provide an opportunity for further support and encouragement. Aim to help build your child’s confidence and interest, as well as their skills, in these areas.
It’s important to remember that NAPLAN is simply a snapshot of your child’s performance and results could be affected by a number of factors.
If you have any concerns about your child’s results, be sure to talk to their teacher who will have a clearer picture of your child’s overall progress and education needs.