Parents and students alike are very much invested in NAPLAN. Most parents take their children’s NAPLAN test preparation quite seriously by helping them with their lessons and assignments themselves or hiring tutors who can guide their children in preparing for this assessment.
Although an appropriate amount of preparation is good, it should be done in a strategic and deliberate manner. Whether or not it is your child’s first time to take this test, the following facts and tips will help them with their NAPLAN preparation so they can pass the test with flying colours.
The Purpose of NAPLAN
NAPLAN, or the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, is a student assessment that takes place each academic year. Spearheaded by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), this three-day test is usually conducted during Term 2 and is taken by Year 3, Year 5, Year 7 and Year 9 students.
The purpose of this exam is to measure the literacy and numerical proficiency of a student and the extent of their knowledge in specific subjects at the time of the exam. This exam also assesses the education programs of schools, states and territories to identify how their curriculum and education system should be improved. The test is facilitated by classroom teachers and principals.
Subjects Covered in a NAPLAN Exam
The contents of NAPLAN exams vary and change every year. But parents and students can categorize this into four subjects or sets, namely writing, reading, language conventions and numeracy.
Depending on the year level, students are given sets of questions and topics that they need to finish within a time limit. Years 3-9 are given 40 minutes to finish their writing exams, while language convention tests should be accomplished within 45 minutes.
Reading and numeracy exams are given different time limits based on the year level. Year 3 students would need to finish their reading and numeracy exam in 45 minutes while students taking Year 5, 7 and 9 exams are given 50-65 minutes.
Basic Prep Strategy
While some parents think that excessive preparation for NAPLAN is not necessary, it still helps to prepare your kids not just for the sake of the exam, but to refresh their memory about their past lessons. If your child is about to take the test, here are some reminders that can help you get them ready for it.
Familiarize your child with the test structure and layout
One of the issues that most exam takers encounter is the test structure and the type of questions they need to answer. In order to lessen your child’s anxiety about NAPLAN, it would be best to introduce them to the test early on. ACARA allows parents and carers to have access to past exams and NAPLAN sample tests. This would give your child a general idea of the types of questions they will need to answer when they take the actual tests.
Teach your child how to manage their test time
Since all tests have time limitations, it would be a challenge for examinees to accomplish the test within the time limit. Your child needs to master the art of planning before taking the exam. They will need to strategize on how much time they should spend on each question. Taking practice tests is key. It will help you and your child determine what aspects of the exam should be given more attention, based on their skills and proficiency.
Encourage your child to read more and practice their writing skills
Writing is one of the major aspects of NAPLAN. Examinees are required to submit an informative and well-written piece that would measure their knowledge of the subject matter and their ability to organize ideas. The first hurdle would be coming up with a topic that would correspond with the test instructions.
Storing up ideas would be a good course of action. Encourage your child to read and be informed about current events. This would provide them with a myriad of ideas that they can write about when confronted with the writing exam. To hone their writing skills, provide them an avenue where they can express their thoughts and feelings. Starting a diary or blog would be a good way to practice.
Find them the right tutor
Some people think that getting an academic or NAPLAN tutor is not necessary for students taking the NAPLAN test. But there are certain advantages to getting a tutor for your child. For one, a trusted tutor can help your child become more familiar with the assessment and help them tackle questions quickly and strategically. There are also some tutors who specialise in NAPLAN preparation year 3 and NAPLAN preparation year 5.
Focus more on the process, less on the results
NAPLAN exams are assessed using the Band Level System (1-10). Each band represents a range of scores and set the minimum requirement for each year level. Band 2 is the minimum standard for Year Level 3 and Band 4 is considered the average requirement for Year Level 5. Year Levels 7 and 9 have an average requirement of Band 5 and 6.
Some parents are quite focused on the numbers. Although getting a high score or falling into the right band level is important, you also need to put equal emphasis on your child’s experience. Keep in mind that the results indicate areas of improvement that you and your child need to address to help them excel in school. It is also an opportunity to determine their academic strengths. Praise their achievements and provide pointers for improvement.
Lastly, it is important that you help your child build a positive perspective of NAPLAN. The outcome of the exam may not be what you or your child expect, but they can use the experience to move forward with their studies and gauge what areas they can improve upon in order to excel not just at NAPLAN but in school and in life.
If you want to learn more about NAPLAN and get some additional prep tips, please visit the National Assessment Program’s website.