NAPLAN – The Facts

It’s almost that time of year again.  For students who have entered grades 3,5,7 and 9 it is likely that their school will begin preparing them for NAPLAN testing, which is scheduled for May.  NAPLAN assessments include reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy, with the questions including multiple choice, short written answers, or the completion of a written task in response to a prompt. So, is NAPLAN really that important?

While NAPLAN does give a measure of an individual student’s performance, it also enables the school to identify which academic area’s need to be targeted in a particular grade, where more resources should be allocated, or may highlight where adjustments are needed to ensure students are developing the required skills. Many teachers we work with when visiting schools reinforce to us the same message…. NAPLAN is assessing the school’s performance just as much as the individual student’s skills.

However, for many students, regardless of how you try to frame it, the fact remains that they are the ones sitting the exams.  It is common for students to feel a degree of pressure when sitting for NAPLAN.  This pressure can be overwhelming for many of the children we see.  For students who find handwriting challenging, have poor executive functioning (cognitive) skills, struggle to sit still, or have a learning difficulty, NAPLAN can trigger a significant degree of anxiety. This anxiety can have also have a significant impact on their participation in cognitive tasks.

So, as a parent, what are your options when you have a child who is struggling with the prospect of sitting NAPLAN?

  • Acknowledge the child’s worries, but try to re-frame the expectations.  Reinforce that their NAPLAN results will not impact their future at school – it’s not the be all and end all!
  • If you have any concerns about your child’s participation in NAPLAN, please speak to your child’s teacher.
  • Does you child have a disability? They may qualify for adjustments such as a scribe, or additional time to complete the test.
  • You can also apply for a formal exemption from all, or some of the tests.  You will need to speak to your school principal about making adjustments or formal exemptions.

There are many reasons a child may struggle to develop skills including writing, organising their thoughts, memory, concentration, behaviour or general academic performance. If you would like more information about occupational therapy and how we can assist your child, please contact Empowered Kids.