What are you looking forward to?
05 May 2017
It’s almost that time when students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sit NAPLAN tests. There are always mixed feelings and reactions from students, parents and teachers when NAPLAN is mentioned. In a study conducted through the University of Queensland, it was revealed that negative responses to the tests were most prevalent among Year 7 students. Within this context the Year 7 students did not see the purpose of the tests.
A significant proportion of Year 3 students identified positive emotions during NAPLAN, although the most significant emotions identified by students were negative. While NAPLAN was not designed as a high-stakes test, it is having an impact on some of our children. The overwhelming emotion throughout the study was negative, which can then have a detrimental impact on children’s health and wellbeing.
I have one child who loves sitting NAPLAN tests and another one who dislikes it intensely. The NAPLAN tests are here to stay as far as we can see, so what can we do to impact our children in a positive way? It’s important for schools, teachers, parents and students to remember that NAPLAN testing provides point-in-time information regarding student progress. The results are only one aspect of a child’s capabilities and merely complement teacher judgement and the existing range of informal and formal assessment in the school.
Students should not be worried about sitting NAPLAN tests and they shouldn’t be disheartened or discouraged by their results. Encourage your child to see NAPLAN as a learning experience and a hands-on experience in preparing for taking exams.
Fiona Baker identifies 9 tips for parents to help their children:
1. ‘Being there’emotionally: During times of stress, children need extra understanding and nurturing from their parents and carers to help them feel safe and secure.
2. Discuss feelings: Encourage your child to talk about how they are feeling as this can help manage it.
3. Support children’s confidence: Encourage your child to ‘have a go’ even if they are feeling nervous as this will help them to feel confident in approaching assessments.
4. Help with relaxation skills: Encourage your child to breathe slowly to calm down and help them to imagine coping well during a test. This will help with managing anxiety.
5. Teach helpful thinking: Encourage your child to say “I’ll give this a go” instead of “I can’t do this”.
6. Lead by example: Be an example to your child by sharing your thinking out loud, eg. “I’m feeling a bit nervous, but I’m going to do my best.”
7. Help your child have clear expectations: Discuss with your child what will happen, where the test will take place, there’ll be a time limit, and it’ll be under test conditions.
8. Discuss problem-solving: Brainstorm situations that may arise during the test and come up with some possible solutions with them.
9. Teach confidence-building tricks: As an example, have a look through the test and complete the questions that they know first before trying the difficult ones.
Assistant Head of Primary/
Leading Learning Team