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.
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: