Putting NAPLAN in Perspective

​It feels like our tents have only just been aired, and we are still knocking the sand out of our shoes following a thrilling Camp Week – so it’s a stark contrast having NAPLAN testing occurring across the school this week.

Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are navigating the compulsory testing over the coming days, so I thought it was a good opportunity to provide some advice to you all as we navigate this time as a community.

Context is key

The purpose of NAPLAN testing, and the reason it was developed, is for the government and for schools to get information that can inform their practice. On a larger scale, it impacts the allocation of resources. It is only one form of data, taken as a snapshot in time. Although families will also receive individual information on their child’s performance, it is up to the family to discuss and decide what they may like to do with this information. Have this conversation with your child to help them contextualise the testing experience and be empowered through the process.

NAPLAN is a narrow measure

Although NAPLAN receives a great deal of attention in the media through the production of leagues tables and comparisons, it is a very narrow measure of student learning and performance. You can support your child in helping them understand that NAPLAN is only one indication of learning progress. It cannot measure the many and varied other indicators of strength and success that your child exhibits in their schooling and broader life. We see this every day, as I know you do. This includes performance in the many subject areas that are not assessed by NAPLAN, co-curricular and camp involvements and interpersonal, social and emotional capabilities. Having this conversation with your child can help to build self-esteem and place NAPLAN in context with all the other measures of achievement and progress relevant to them.

Teachers as experts

If you have any queries about NAPLAN, results or the testing regime itself, please talk to your child’s teacher. They will be able to give you more holistic information on their progress and will also be able to assist you in interpreting the results when they arrive. They have a deep and compassionate understanding of your child as a learner that can’t be measured through NAPLAN.

What does it all mean?

It is crucial to understand and explore with your child where NAPLAN sits in relation to their overall schooling experience. It is a narrow snapshot in time and has no bearing on what they are capable of learning and achieving in the future. This year’s NAPLAN is particularly so following the many and unpredictable impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns on student learning. Regardless of your child’s performance it is crucial that we remain calm and place it in context for our children. Overactions can lead to misplaced beliefs and pressure in the future, whether results are ‘high’ or ‘low’. It will be the overall development of a student that will define their pathway into the world, not NAPLAN.

Director of Wellbeing