Education is the key to getting a good-paying job, thinking critically, and contributing to society. It seems as though education systems throughout the world fail students.
They focus on outdated education models that don’t prepare students for the challenges of today’s complex world. In Australia, about 20% of Year 9 students aren’t meeting the minimum standards.
Governments around the world struggle to prepare students. They create standards, but they don’t enforce them.
Australia does things a little differently. They use the NAPLAN test to measure student performance.
What is NAPLAN? Keep reading to find out how you can prepare your child for the test.
What Is NAPLAN?
All across Australia, each city and school jurisdiction had its own method to test student performance. This created a system where students in some school districts did very well, while others struggled.
It also created a different set of standards. If kids were in the right school district, they could cruise through school without being challenged.
All of that changed in 2008. The National Assessment Program was put in place by Education Services Australia. Part of the National Assessment Program is NAPLAN.
It stands for National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy. It’s a standardized test given to students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9.
The tests are run by the Australian Assessment and Curriculum Reporting Authority (ACARA).
Students get tested on their knowledge of math, grammar, spelling, writing, and reading. These tests show whether or not students meet the minimum standards in these areas.
Educators, researchers, and policymakers see the results and make education policy decisions based on them.
What NAPLAN Really Measures
NAPLAN tests students in critical skills to ensure they meet the minimum education standards. How does that state get used?
NAPLAN test results are a snapshot of where the student’s abilities are on the day of the test.
The data gets used to assess a school’s jurisdiction. Teachers and educators see if their students don’t meet the national standards in one or more areas.
They can also see if one student, in particular, has problems where others succeed.
A cross-section of data can show results according to gender or ethnicity. It’s another way researchers and policymakers can adjust policies.
Parents who want to send their children to a private school need their kids to score well on NAPLAN to get accepted. Private schools use NAPLAN test scores as a key component of the admissions process.
NAPLAN test results don’t get used for university admissions. What NAPLAN does show is where a student lags.
For instance, if they’re behind on maths in Year 3, they could end up staying behind in Years 5,7, and 9. That makes university coursework that much more difficult.
Parents, teachers, and students can work together to ensure the student catches up to national standards.
The NAPLAN Debate
There’s a big debate surrounding the usefulness of NAPLAN. Parents and students worry about the stress NAPLAN cause every couple of years.
They worry about the short and long-term effects it has on kids who don’t score well on the NAPLAN test.
There’s also a concern that teachers teach for the exam because it affects everything from their salaries to school funding.
On the other hand, the data that comes from NAPLAN is incredibly useful to all stakeholders in education.
How to Prepare Your Child for the NAPLAN Test
Even though NAPLAN test scores aren’t looked at by universities, you still want your child to perform well on the exam.
You can’t depend on schools to prepare your child for the NAPLAN test. It’s completely separate from classroom instruction. In theory, the NAPLAN test shows the quality of education in the classroom.
Most schools will take an everyday approach to NAPLAN. There are some jurisdictions that have a few test-taking lessons, but that’s it.
The format of the NAPLAN test is different from anything students experience in the classroom. That can increase stress levels and anxiety.
NAPLAN preparation can help your child gain confidence heading into the test because they know what to expect.
Start by getting your child into the right mindset about NAPLAN. You want them to do well, and encourage them to do the best that they can.
Remember, the NAPLAN test is just a data point of where your child is at that time. It doesn’t mean they’re in for a doomed future if they do poorly. It’s an opportunity to see where improvements can get made.
It’s best to support and encourage continuous learning in and out of the classroom. That puts them in the growth mindset where they’re willing to challenge themselves.
To prepare for the exam itself, you can help students gain confidence through study guides. The majority of the students take NAPLAN online.
You’ll want to prepare your child with NAPLAN practice tests and online resources.
Work With Teachers
Your child’s teachers can help you prepare for the NAPLAN test. They can provide guidance and insight as to where your child excels and where they might need additional tutoring.
They can recommend study methods and areas to focus on to get ready for NAPLAN.
You and Your Child Don’t Need to Fear the NAPLAN Test
The NAPLAN test is a hot topic of debate between parents, educators, and students. It’s a part of the education system and it’s not going away.
The best thing you can do is prepare your child for the NAPLAN test. Use the tips in this guide and your child will have the confidence to perform well on the test.
For more learning tips and insights, check out the other articles in the Education section of this site.
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