Preparing for NAPLAN: 5 Tips for Parents
The National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is a test used to measure the educational attainment of students Australia wide in order to more accurately inform educational policy. During NAPLAN students are measured on their literacy, which is their ability to read, view, write, comprehend and design. Students are also assessed on their ability to effectively use mathematics to meet the demands of everyday life.
How you as a Parent can help:
1. Setup a healthy routine
Before the NAPLAN test get your child into a good routine. Healthy food, proper hydration, adequate rest and play. A good routine will set your child up with positive habits, and this sense of wellbeing will allow them to process challenges with minimal stress. A good routine also ensures that new skills are retained in their long term memory According to Hershner S. D. & Chervin R. D. (2014) studies have shown that the less rest a student has, the more likely information is to be retained solely in their short term memory storage. It is important that for every half hour of study at least 10 minutes of rest or play be utilised in order for a student remain productive. Students with balanced study patterns report better marks and are more productive than students who remain at their desk forours.
2. Talk through any concerns
Some students will not be phased by NAPLAN and just see it as something to do. If your child is expressing concern, however, help them to realise that NAPLAN is only a measurement of their current ability. This test is just a check point to see how students have improved, or are going to improve, over the years. The NAPLAN exam helps schools to know where to focus their teaching long term.
3. Touch base with the school
Touch base with your child’s teachers in order to find out what the school is doing to support your child. Some schools will prepare students at school, some will send homework booklets and some schools may recommend that you include your child in real life scenarios such as helping to calculate the shopping. These are all valuable experiences in the long term development of your child.
4. Get help early with practice tests
Download practice tests from http://www.nap.edu.au/naplan/the-tests.html . Talk your child through what they can expect from NAPLAN and help them take practice tests well beforehand. By completing practice tests students are reducing their anxiety as they become familiar with the format of the test. S chools utilise practice tests (where students can study individually or in groups) in order to familiarise themselves with what is required. Studies show that practice tests are the best way to prepare: they alleviate anxiety as students become familiar with the layout of the paper as well as the style of the questions and how to answer them. Some students find it helpful to study with a tutor or in a small group in order to get used to the exam conditions.
5. Let go
By now you will have done everything in your power to help your child prepare for the NAPLAN tests. The last thing to do before the exam is make sure that your child does something fun and gets to bed on time. While staying up to cram before the NAPLAN is tempting, this is not possible as it is a skills based test. Further, any lack of sleep will be detrimental to your child's performance. Your child will need that energy to sit and concentrate for the required period of time. If you and your child have followed the five steps above they will be ready to sit the NAPLAN confidently.
Below is a letter written to the students by their teachers, it is a lovely reminder that learning is a journey and NAPLAN is just one small step.