NAPLAN scores are about to be released and even the kids now know that this is a competition to see how they compare to other kids. But how valuable is this feedback about your child and how they are doing at school? NAPLAN is a National Assessment Program to see how students have performed to National standards and 200,000 kids took the NAPLAN this year. The test results provide information on literacy and numeracy across Australia.
The theory is that the feedback that this benchmark provides teachers gives them learning goals for each student, especially those who are falling behind. It also provides sites like Myschool a comparison guide for school’s achievements in achieving in both of these areas over selected school year levels (3,5, 7, 9). Unfortunately it has become a competition for schools to ensure that their kids “do better” on NAPLAN. NAPLAN results are also being used by private and independent schools to choose those they accept into their school only picking the best and brightest.
Here are some of the pitfalls about using NAPLAN as valuable feedback about your child:
- NAPLAN will not tell us about your child’s achievements as answers are graded by a computer or independent examiners who review hundreds of responses.
- NAPLAN does not inform parents about teacher effectiveness.
- NAPLAN won’t improve your child’s literacy.
- NAPLAN won’t improve your child’s numeracy.
- NAPLAN may create huge anxiety for a child and thus they may not do their best on that day
- This year we heard that there is some concern over whether the results will be comparable on a national level and this would undermine the test’s central purpose as a point in time check of student progress against literacy and numeracy benchmarks.
Some of the benefits of doing the NAPLAN are:
- It does highlight any key areas that may require further attention early so these can be addressed
- It gives parents valuable feedback on their child that they can discuss with the teacher
- It shows if our efforts to teach our kids is working or needs improvement and what to focus on going forward.
- It is an independent benchmark
NAPLAN for all its pros and cons does provide a nugget of information and if this identifies a learning need not being met then it’s a good thing.
Download our Special NAPLAN e-Book here.