How to prepare your child for NAPLAN

prepare your child for naplan. exam desks.

What is NAPLAN?

‘NAPLAN’ (National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy) was introduced to measure and track literacy and numeracy skills of students across Australia.

Students complete the NAPLAN in year 3, 5, 7 and 9.

The annual tests include reading, writing, numeracy and language conventions.

The 2023 NAPLAN changes also include a plan to gradually introduce subjects including Science, Civics and Citizenship and digital literacy.

The test includes multiple choice questions and constructed response item formats.

Is NAPLAN different from other assessments?

NAPLAN is not part of the Australian curriculum and is generally separate from what your child learns at school everyday. This means preparing your child for NAPLAN, is different to preparing them for end of term tests.

“The important thing to understand about NAPLAN is the focus on numeracy and literacy so it’s not necessarily a focus on what the students have been doing in class.

As a consequence, studying for it is not the same as studying for a written class test where you would be tested in part on the knowledge you’ve acquired.”

Dr Selina Samuels, Chief Learning Officer at Cluey Learning

Dr Samuels believes the NAPLAN assesses longer term skills that your child may not have encountered recently.

What is NAPLAN for?

NAPLAN offers valuable information to schools and parents about what skills need to be improved.

While it is not the be all and end all, your child’s NAPLAN results may influence decision-making and learning choices at school.

If your primary school child is moving schools or transitioning to high school, you may be asked for a transcript of past NAPLAN results.

Should my child prepare for NAPLAN?

“It’s better to have the skills than not to have the skills.”

Dr Samuels believes that writers of the NAPLAN assessment have decided “key, foundational skills” that students need in order to progress or learn at a higher level.

pencil sharpening. prepare your child for NAPLAN.

“If we help students to prepare for it, they are not going to forget those skills the minute the test is over. There is no harm to the student in helping them prepare for the assessment.”

 Many children, particularly year 3 students, are nervous and anxious for NAPLAN. Dealing with exam stress may affect their performance.

Choosing to prepare your child for NAPLAN may also alleviate stress and anxiety.

“One thing that we hear from parents a lot at Cluey is that students are actually there because they have not encountered the time limited segments in any form before. So they need to be told how to manage time and how to manage multiple choice questions.”

Dr Samuels believes the skills to managing NAPLAN questions is not innate and needs to be learnt.

It is useful to prepare your child for NAPLAN by:

  • Familiarising them with the layout of the tests; and

  • Familiarising them with tactics and techniques to approach the question.

“That would help calm them and show what they know so they don’t run out of time and they don’t panic.”

How to prepare your child for NAPLAN

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), recommends the following tips for parents to help their child prepare for NAPLAN:

  • Encourage your child to simply do the best they can on the day.

  • Avoid excessive cramming or coaching in the lead-up to NAPLAN

  • Speak to your child’s teacher if you have questions about how you can help your child prepare for NAPLAN.

Dr Samuels encourages parents to employ the following practical skills:

Read with them

Practising reading and reading comprehension teaches your child how language works and how to write.

Dr Samuels encourages parents to read with their children, but also to take it a step further and talk about the text.

 “This way you are developing your children’s literal ability to understand the piece of writing truly – what happens, who does what, who says what but also to develop inferences from understanding the texts.”

Look at word-based numeracy questions

Many students can make mistakes over word-based numeracy questions. It is important for parents to help their kids prepare, even if they have strong mathematical skills.

“Help them to unpack what a question is actually asking them to do.”

There are many past test papers and answers online. Parents and children can attempt some of the questions, set time limits and experience the format of the paper.

How do I interpret my child’s NAPLAN results?

Reach out to the school

Many schools provide a valuable explanation with NAPLAN results for parents. If you do not receive anything, reach out to the schools to provide this.

Alternatively, set a time to speak to your child’s teachers about their results and what they mean.

Look for trends in results

Dr Samuels suggests comparing your child’s results to their previous NAPLAN results.

“Have there been any changes, maybe that they’ve dropped off in any key skills, areas where there are gaps that weren’t evident before.”

If you are concerned about your child’s NAPLAN results, it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with their teacher.

“If you feel that there’s been a change over time and that they’ve definitely tracking lower than they were in the previous NAPLAN, that’s the thing that you need to be looking at.”

Tips to prepare your child for NAPLAN

Don’t cram!

The ACARA discourages ‘excessive cramming and drilling’.

Dr Samuels from Cluey Learning agrees.

“I certainly don’t advocate cramming in fact, I don’t think you can cram for it.”

Avoid putting too much pressure on your child

It is important for parents not to put too much pressure on their children for the NAPLAN.

“It shouldn’t be the only measure of student achievement.”

Research shows parents putting excessive pressure on their children may hinder their learning and lead to increased stress and anxiety.

Reduce anxiety

Give your child the tools to reduce stress and anxiety during the NAPLAN.

This may include making sure they take breaks, assisting with their nutrition and wellbeing.

A great way to reduce NAPLAN anxiety is to alleviate the unknown and prepare your child using the above.

Don’t worry if they receive an unexpected result

There are many reasons your child may not perform as well as they expected in the NAPLAN.

Here is a guide for parents, if your child receives disappointing exam results.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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