Soon it will be NAPLAN time, and just the thought of these tests can fill some children with panic. For some it’s the fear of the unknown or the expectation of performing at a certain level that can develop feelings of anxiety. As parents and teachers we can help students alleviate these fears by supporting them with good preparation.
NAPLAN is a national program designed to standardise learning throughout Australia with results providing insights into where each child sits academically in relation to the Australian standard. More than one million students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will sit the NAPLAN tests in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation and numeracy.
Here are our 5 tips to ease the NAPLAN nerves:
Support your child’s learning throughout the year NAPLAN aims to test skills that develop and improve over time. Encouraging your child with their homework enables them to reinforce concepts learnt.
Discuss their feelings and concerns Tests commonly bring out feelings of anxiety, so let them know that these feelings are normal. Listen to their concerns, show empathy and maintain a caring and positive attitude. More often than not talking about their fears can help to lessen these feelings.
Encourage them ‘to give it a go’ and ‘to try their best’ NAPLAN is not supposed to be a test of the students but rather a check to make sure that Australia is providing the best educational outcomes for children. Encourage your child to give it a go and try their best.
Prepare for the day Good preparation is the key. Going to bed early the night before, having a healthy breakfast to start the day. Keep stress levels low and arrive at school a little earlier. And don’t forget to wish them good luck!
Keep NAPLAN in perspective Remember that NAPLAN is just one assessment and that teachers and the school use this information in conjunction with numerous other data to determine a students’ academic level. It is important for your child to understand that their success is not determined by this one test.
At Toorak College we put a variety of measures in place to help set your child up for success. Throughout the year we use analytical software such as Literatu to identify key areas of the curriculum and individual skills sets that need to be targeted. We ensure students are familiar with the test format by reviewing and carrying out practice and sample tests both on paper and by using online programs. Focus is placed on examining the structure of questions to ensure that students understand what is being asked of them. This helps your child to feel more confident going into the NAPLAN testing week.
Helenor Regester is the Deputy Head of Wardle House at Toorak College