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Preparing for the NAPLAN test?

Preparing for the NAPLAN test? Read on to achieve the best possible results.

 During the NAPLAN 2022 test, more than 4.3 million students sat for the test, making NAPLAN one of the most important National competitive tests in Australia. This may seem overwhelming to candidates who are considering taking the test in the coming year. However, with the right tools and guidance, parents and teachers can easily help students cross the minimum scales required for the test. The NAPLAN 2022 results were announced in August 2022, and if you plan to take the test next year – do read on.

Understanding NAPLAN

           

If you are reading this, you must have researched the topic and sought more direct answers to your doubts. There are, no doubt, many questions about NAPLAN and how the tests are conducted. Including its effectiveness in the context of student’s academic abilities and how it helps parents and teachers and, most importantly, the students. 

           

Let’s rewind and go back to the origin of NAPLAN and its purpose. As someone who has done some reading on the topic and discussion on online forums, you may already be familiar with the acronym National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, which is conducted and managed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). Initially, the NAPLAN tests were all conducted offline. However, the NAPLAN 2022, conducted in May 2022, was all online. Making it a fully online national test now. 

           

The main purpose and design of the NAPLAN tests is to check and compare students’ literacy and numeracy abilities with the national average. Helping parents and teachers understand where a particular student stands compared to the minimum national standard and what measures can be taken to help them further in developing essential skills for the future. 

 

NAPLAN Test Design and Scales. 

 

As mentioned above, NAPLAN tests are designed by ACARA to check students’ abilities in literacy and numeracy and compare them to the national standards. NAPLAN tests are a result of years of research and are carefully crafted to get the most accurate results for the students. Hence, cramming and rote methods of test preparations are worthless. 

 

The Literacy—language abilities—part of the test focuses on grammar, writing, spelling, and punctuation critical to daily life skills. The writing section of the test may include creative writing text to the likes of: 

1. Imaginative: Where creative writing requires a lot of imagination vis-a-vis Novels, poems, etc. 

2. Argumentative: This type of writing mostly means writing to debate, advertise, and opinion-based articles. 

3. Informative: such writings are informative and may include reports and facts. 

 

In the numeracy section of the NAPLAN test, questions are designed to grasp students’ reasoning, fluency, and problem-solving abilities in areas such as –algebra, statistics and probability, and geometry. The use of calculators is restricted to a few questions for years 7 and 9. 

 

The NAPLAN results are mapped on scales from years 3-9 and divided into bands of 1-10

The minimum scales as per the national standard are:

 

  1. Year 3- 2 Bands Out of 1-6
  2. Year 5- 4 Bands Out of 3-8
  3. Year 7 – 5 Bands Out of 4-9
  4. Year 9 – 6 Bands Out of 5-10 

To pass the NAPLAN test, students must achieve the minimum scales, as defined by ACARA. Overall there was a decline in participation in NAPLAN 2022 compared to previous years, and results in year 5 numeracy and year 9 spelling saw a decline. 

 

Preparing for NAPLAN

 

The NAPLAN tests are usually conducted in May every year over three days–Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday–during the second week of the school term. Preparing for the highly competitive test will initially seem difficult and overwhelming. However, parents and teachers can help students use the right tools(online) to achieve desirable results. 

 

acara.edu.au provides information online on preparing for the upcoming NAPLAN tests and what skills students should focus on. One such tool is the selective past papers to help parents and teachers gauge the type of questions students should expect during the test. This is important, as it helps students understand the test formats, which is critical for time management. 

 

ACARA also recommends that parents not encourage students to cram for the papers and just try to do what they can on the day. The best way to help children prepare for the test is to help them develop their literacy and numeracy skills over time. 

 

Parents may also reach out to teachers for help, and there is also a specialised team of tutors, like NRICH Learning, who help students with the preparations. 

 

NRICH Learning helps students improve their language skills and mathematical abilities over time. Our programs are unique, with small batches. Make sure the child gets the best possible attention from the mentors. Many of our students have studied for NAPLAN and achieved exceptional results during the test. You may want to visit one of our centres now.

NAPLAN Past papers are available at https://www.nap.edu.au/NAPLAN/whats-in-the-tests. 

 

Improving Literacy skills for NAPLAN 

Following trends from 10 years of NAPLAN data suggest that the overall number of students struggling with literacy increased, and the number of students doing exceptionally well decreased over a period of time. When it comes to improving literacy for a child, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution or a one-day cheat sheet. This is a skill that is developed over time and takes effort. 

 

Teachers and parents need to dive deep into each student and understand each child’s weakness, to strategise a long-term path for making improvements over a targeted period. Comprehension of written text, spelling, and correct punctuation are all part of the game. 

 

NAPLAN tests for literacy are also designed, keeping in mind the above facts which allow the student to demonstrate their skills using the classroom lessons they’ve learned over time. Parents and carers must prepare their children for the NAPLAN test before the test dates and focus on their weaknesses to create a learning path for them. Each child is unique, and his/her areas of improvement will also differ. However, a concentrated effort, which is rational and consistent, will help the child succeed not only in NAPLAN but also in adulthood.  

 

Improving writing skills for NAPLAN

Skills simply are not honed and mastered in a day. It takes effort and persistent practice to improve a skill, not just writing but also any life skill. Similarly, looking for a shortcut solution to improving real writing skills for NAPLAN is not the best advice we can give our students. Students must practice the art of writing regularly under the guidance of parents and teachers to make improvements along the way. 

 

There are a few points students can keep in mind while preparing for the NAPLAN writing test: 

1. Make sure that you divide the prose/essay into at least four paragraphs   

  • The first paragraph must capture the gist of your essay and introduce your thesis, followed by supporting paragraphs. Towards the paragraph, just before the conclusion, you must present the other side of the story and end with a rational conclusion based on each of the paragraphs you’ve presented. 

2. Try addressing the audience by using “You”. 

3. If confused about a spelling, use another word instead. You do not want to make spelling errors at this point. 

4. It is not advisable to use active voice; rather, you must write in passive voice. 

5. Presenting good arguments in the essay is encouraged, using different ways of interjections. 

 

There’s no definite answer to cracking the NAPLAN written test, and these few points are not your cheat sheet for success. However, they may help you structure your writing for the NAPLAN test, and you are advised to use them while practising writing. Discuss ways to improve your writing skills with your teacher/ parent/carer. 

          

Improving Numeracy skills for NAPLAN

Once parents and teachers have made sure that the child is learning and improving the basics of numeracy, including logical reasoning and problem-solving skills, apart from the classroom curriculum, it may be a good idea to thoroughly go through the NAPLAN past papers and NAPLAN practice tests. 

 

This NAPLAN past papers and practice test will give the child insights into the types of questions and format the questions are prepared in. Practising these will immensely help the student in time management strategies, helping the student strategise the entire test duration. These resources are available on the ACARA website https://www.acara.edu.au/assessment/naplan. 

 

NAPLAN tests are made to test the child’s skills, which they’ve learnt in the classroom, and how they use them in a real-world situation. This cannot be crammed into a single day, and rote learning methods won’t help. Only through thorough practice, under specialised guidance, make the child achieve the desired results. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The best way to prepare for NAPLAN is to continuously work on your language abilities and numeracy skills. There are many online resources to help you, including NAPLAN past papers, which can be accessed on the ACARA website. Expert tutoring centres like NRICH Learning help students by improving the student’s language abilities and numeracy skills over some time. 

NAPLAN assesses students and compares the result to the national minimum standard. This is helpful to parents and students, as it makes them aware of their current standing academically and can help improve their skills. Also, NAPLAN allows students to earn college credits which can be exceptionally helpful.

NAPLAN is usually held in the month of May during the second week; it is spread over three days Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The NAPLAN 2022 was held on the 10th of May, 2022.

The results of the NAPLAN tests are communicated to parents and educators. Some schools may provide information on their particular websites.

ACARA provides NAPLAN past papers on its website.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), manages and conducts the NAPLAN test. 

Yes! NAPLAN tests are now online at your school.

Multiple choice questions are asked in the conventions of writing, reading and numeracy test. Students are provided extra time to plan their responses to the writing tasks.

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