Expert Advice on Preparing Your Child for NAPLAN
It’s almost time for the annual National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), and parents across the country are wondering what they can do in the next few weeks to prepare children for the test.
NAPLAN measures the reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy skills of students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It is designed to test higher-order problem solving and interpretation skills. The purpose is to determine if educational programs are giving students the critical foundation they need to succeed.
NAPLAN tests skills that have been developed over time through learning programs and ‘cramming’ for the test is pointless. Experts claim that too much preparation can be detrimental, but there are several things you can do help your child perform well on the day.
While students receive individual results for NAPLAN, the test does not replace school-based assessments and only provides an overall snapshot of each child’s progress. Its purpose is to help educators design a curriculum that meets students’ needs and to identify areas for improvement in the school system. Students should be encouraged to see the test as a normal part of the school calendar rather than a major event requiring extensive preparation.
Your child should be familiar with the format of NAPLAN before they take the test. Most teachers will introduce practice questions throughout the school year so students know what to expect, but they can also practice at home using the sample tests. Online testing is currently being rolled out in schools on an opt-in basis. You can find out more about this through the NAPLAN website. Being familiar with the test format and style of questions helps reduce anxiety.
If your student is completing practice tests at home, it’s a great idea to measure how older children are making use of time. When they know how long to devote to each section, students are less likely to panic, become overwhelmed or get stuck on a hard question.
Students may be asked to write a narrative, informative or persuasive text based on stimulus material. This is the most challenging part of the test for many students as they lack confidence in their writing ability. Make sure your child understands the difference between texts types by using examples from everyday life. You can brainstorm ideas and practice planning what they’re going to write so they don’t run out of steam halfway.
Getting a decent night’s sleep is essential in the lead up to NAPLAN. Poor sleep affects memory, decision making and cognitive ability. You can ensure you child sleeps well by doing something unrelated to the test the night before exams and by using relaxation techniques. This is a perfect opportunity to help students learn how to manage exam stress.
These tips will help your student perform at their best in NAPLAN.