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It's not a bad thing if your child does not blitz NAPLAN. And this is why.

Good question, Ralph. Tweeted via Grant Trebbin (@GPTreb)

 

If you have a child in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9, then you are no doubt aware that they will be sitting the NAPLAN this week.

Firstly, you need to know this – NAPLAN does not measure how academically gifted your child is.

To put it simply, NAPLAN is a measure for the school system to check THEIR performance, not your child’s. Also necessary to know, it isn’t such a bad thing if your child doesn’t blitz these tests. Let me tell you why.

This testing method, which is essentially a snapshot of your child’s knowledge of literacy and numeracy, doesn’t determine or have an effect on their end of year academic outcome. It is simply measuring whether or not children in that grade are at par with their Australian counterparts. If the results indicate that they’re not, in theory, support and guidance will be provided as a result. If they are, however, well that’s fantastic.

NAPLAN starts today: is your kid stressed?

Disturbingly however, I’ve heard that there is a lot of stress being placed upon children to ‘do well’ this week in NAPLAN with one mother saying that she has been told that her son’s Year 9 NAPLAN result would make up 10 per cent of his end of year results. Equally disturbing was to hear that one little girl has been pulling out her eyelashes due to the stress of preparation. What kind of madness IS this? And more to the point, who is applying these unreasonable ideals and pressures, the school or the parent?

Having had two children go through school now, I’ve become a bit of a veteran of the NAPLAN and with one son who has Aspergers, have been actively encouraged to ‘sit this one out’. I have very mixed feelings about that whole situation. I agreed to allow him to stay home that day purely because I knew that without some guidance, he simply wouldn’t be able to comprehend the questions and due to low muscle tone, even if he could answer the questions, he would quickly become fatigued. He has since been moved from a mainstream state school so it’s no longer a decision I have to make but I can’t help but think that maybe it would have been better for me to insist that he take the test, fail spectacularly and therefore represent a more realistic result for that particular State Primary School.

Also being a veteran of the NAPLAN with my 14-year-old daughter, I can offer the following advice:

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1. Do not pressure your child. It’s a test to measure where they sit in comparison to every child in Australia in their year level. They don’t have to be the smartest; they just have to be themselves. So back off and allow for an accurate snapshot of their abilities (or inabilities).

2. Let your child know that they are not alone. That they are amongst, get this, one MILLION other kids who will be sitting down and taking tests this week. Also point out that it potentially gets them out of double maths!

3. This is a test that is measuring the schools, not your child. Remember this. If your child cannot sit the test because they are genuinely sick, fair enough. IF however it is suggested that you keep your child home that day, please, PLEASE politely decline. If your child isn’t the brightest in the school, doesn’t it make sense that they can be measured as it stands and get support where it’s needed?

4. Stop making them study for this on their own time! Jesus, it’s a standardised test not final exams. If you want to help your child, read to them, engage with them, PLAY with them. When exactly are you planning to drop into conversation how well your child did on their NAPLAN anyway?

5. On the day, like any test, remind your child to do the easy ones first and go back to the harder ones later. We can all get caught up and stuck when questions are tough and start to doubt our own knowledge. Confidence makes any experience better.

And most importantly, remind your children that it’s just one test and it doesn’t define them.

My 14-year-old just emerged from her pit room as I was writing this and I asked her if she’d studied for NAPLAN tomorrow. She told me that she was too busy studying for her French test and that she couldn’t study for NAPLAN anyway, no one knew what was going to be in it. Good answer.

How about you? Has NAPLAN been a part of your world this week? Do you think it’s necessary?