A walk in the Bossley Park

Blog of Kip McGrath Bossley Park

The results are in!

August 19
by bossleypark 19. August 2014 13:55

 It is that time of year again when the NAPLAN results have been released. Everyone has their own opinion about the worth of such testing and this blog is again my opinion, many will argue against me BUT I am ok with that J

I personally think that NAPLAN is a great tool, one of many tools that should be used by parents, teachers and students to determine the strengths and weaknesses of both students and teachers. When the NAPLAN results arrived at school, I would closely examine the results of students that I had previously taught. Were there any similarities in the skills the students hadn’t obtained and is there something that I could improve in my teacher to assist this.

I also feel from a student’s and parent’s perspective, it allows them to review the ability level in comparison to a much bigger sample size.  This can only be a good thing! I speak with so many parents who tell me that they believed their child was having difficulties but compared with their class they were doing really well. The NAPLAN data then showed what the parent had believed was actually correct.

In the Australian newspaper recently, there was a discussion stating that the Literacy Levels had declined and that ACARA had taken responsibility as the writing assessment was more difficult and that the schools were not given the direction that they have been in previous years. I am going to controversially step out and say that I don’t agree! This should be an assessment that is determining where the student’s individual ability level is and how they respond to variety of questions that they have not been trained to complete. It shouldn’t matter what text type is in the test as the students should have been taught all text types in the years leading up to the NAPLAN.

As far as the question being too difficult… well again that is open to interpretation. My own children were taught about rules from the time they were little “It’s not ok to hit other children” “You must share your toys”. From Kindergarten, students are taught the school rules and are expected to follow them… this is not a new concept. Most of the students that I spoke with after the NAPLAN really embraced the topic and it lead to some interesting conversations that week at Kip.

We cannot accurately compare data from one year to the next because as a teacher I can tell you every year is different. The comparison should be made looking at the improvement the individual student in making throughout the years of completing the NAPLAN. And how did these students compare with the other students that sat the same test in the same conditions.

My concern with the NAPLAN is the fact that schools are preparing students for them by giving practise papers, sending home NAPLAN style questions for the homework the Term before NAPLAN is on. OR when I have parents telling me that they have been asked to keep their children home on the days of the NAPLAN. ALL students should sit NAPLAN!

I think people should look at NAPLAN for what it is… it is another tool to determine if your child is where they need to be in comparison to their peers. To get the help and support for those students who have fallen behind and to look at how we can engage those students who are in the average bands to the next level.  In the press release from the Australian Tutoring Association (ATA) they state “The ATA takes the view that the results from the NAPLAN tests should be used to make informed decisions about the use of supplementary accredited tutors who can fill skills and knowledge gaps.”

If you are confused about how to read your child’s NAPLAN results I will be holding some information sessions over the coming weeks. I will also have days where you can bring siblings in for an assessment to see how they are going. More information to come ….

Any of our existing students who sat NAPLAN can you please make sure you give us a copy of the report when you get them as I really like to review the strengths and weaknesses of all our students.

Till next week

Karen xo




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