All about NAPLAN

Teen girl in exams, smiling

If your child is currently in Year 3, 5, 7 or 9 at school, they'll sit NAPLAN tests this May. And despite what you may have heard, there's no reason to panic or start an intensive study schedule for your child.

NAPLAN is short for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) and has been an everyday part of the school calendar since 2008. (Check this year's exam dates.)

Unlike the Higher School Certificate, NAPLAN tests aren't something that kids can truly study for, and there's "nothing riding on" the test for your child.

Instead, NAPLAN is simply a snapshot of the skills your child has developed up to this point in their education, which will allow teachers to focus on giving the right support to students as the year continues.

The skills which NAPLAN examines include:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation)
  • Numeracy.

These skills are considered the building blocks for learning in all subject areas. Without good comprehension skills for example, it's difficult for a student (or adult) to really understand any type of text – whether they're reading the newspaper, filling out official forms or studying for a career.

Success in all areas of life depends on these skills, and so NAPLAN tests how well kids are developing them. If you do want to help your child prepare for this year's NAPLAN, you can find out more about the skills they can practise below.


Reading

In the NAPLAN reading tests students are provided with a magazine containing different writing styles. Students read the texts provided then answer related questions in a separate booklet.

Within any one group of students you'll find a very wide range of reading ability levels so the tests start with simple, short texts and get increasingly longer and harder. (Exams like this aim to measure where a student's ability stops, so it stands to reason that they are designed to be "too hard" towards the end.)

Types of skills that students are generally expected to demonstrate at their particular year of schooling are described in the minimum standards for reading.


Writing

Students are taught a variety of forms of writing at school. The three main forms of writing (also called genres or text types) that are taught are narrative writing, informative writing and persuasive writing.

In 2013, students will be required to complete a persuasive writing task.

The NAPLAN Writing test requires students to write a continuous persuasive text. A continuous text has an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

Read the national minimum standards for writing to find the skills and understandings your child may be expected to demonstrate this year.


Language conventions

The Language conventions tests focus on the reading of written English, and assess the understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Read the minimum standards for spelling and minimum standards for grammar and punctuation to find the skills and understandings your child may be expected to demonstrate this year.


Numeracy

The NAPLAN Numeracy tests measure students' skills in numeracy, including their understanding of:

  • number
  • algebra, function and pattern
  • measurement, chance and data
  • space
  • working mathematically (e.g. knowing, applying and reasoning).


The Numeracy tests contain two types of questions: multiple-choice and constructed response.

In Years 7 and 9, students sit two numeracy tests; one which can be done with a calculator and one where calculators aren't allowed.

Read the minimum standards for numeracy to find the skills and understandings your child may be expected to demonstrate this year.



While your child can't really study for the NAPLAN tests, they can familiarise themselves with the exam formats by looking over the official sample tests, and getting a sense of the skills that will be tested.


This information has been repurposed from the National Assessment Program website. More detailed information on each of the above headings is available there www.nap.edu.au

 

 


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