Week 4 of this term sparks the beginning of NAPLAN throughout Australia for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.
NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) is a series of tests that focus on the types of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life. They cover skills in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy.
These tests are administered annually by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and will occur during school hours on Tuesday 14th May – Thursday 16th May.
NAPLAN has been known to strike fear and anxiety into the hearts of parents and students alike. Please know that this test is just a snapshot of learning on a particular day at a particular time and does not assess or depict everything that makes your child great. Mary Ginley (1998 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year), in her 1999 letter to her students for the upcoming MCAS (the American equivalent of NAPLAN), put it best when she wrote:
Next week you will sit the [NAPLAN] tests. Before you take these tests, there is something very important for you to know:
The test does not assess all of what makes you exceptional or unique.
The people who score these tests do not know that you can play the violin or paint a picture. They do not know that you take care of your little brother after school, that your friends can count on you or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest days.
They do not know that you write poetry, wonder about space and the solar system, and know that you are caring, thoughtful and try everyday to do your best.
They do not know that you built a shed with your mum and dad or grew vegetables in a garden last summer. They never saw the Integrated Studies project you did last year. They do not know you at all. But we who know you — your mums and dads, your grandparents and teachers, your neighbours and friends — love you and are proud of all you are.
The scores you get from this test will tell you how you did on that day, but they will not tell you everything. They can’t tell you that you have improved on something that you once found difficult or how amazingly special and unique you are.”*
So come to school ready to do your best in the NAPLAN tests and with keenness to show the great learning you have achieved, but remember that there is no ‘one way’ to test all of the wonderful things that make you, YOU!
In August/September you will receive your child’s NAPLAN results. If you have any concerns, you should speak to your child’s teacher, as they know your child’s learning best.
For more information about NAPLAN, including fact sheets, FAQs and examples of tests, please visit the NAP website: http://www.nap.edu.au/.
May God bless you all and provide peace and wisdom during your upcoming NAPLAN tests.
The Staff and Teachers at Heritage College
* This has been adapted from Mary Ginley’s original letter in 1999 and St Paul’s Primary School in Gracemere.