NAPLAN to give first post-Covid snapshot of learning

Year 5 students at Sacred Heart Primary School in Pearce Leila Warwick, 10, Emelyn Cook, 10, and Oscar Battaglia, 10, will do the NAPLAN online assessments this week. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Year 5 students at Sacred Heart Primary School in Pearce Leila Warwick, 10, Emelyn Cook, 10, and Oscar Battaglia, 10, will do the NAPLAN online assessments this week. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Students across the country will be sitting NAPLAN for the first time in two years, giving educators a snapshot of how their pupils have coped with the pandemic.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority chief executive David de Carvalho said the national tests provided information about how well students were learning the essential skills of reading, writing and mathematics.

"With the cancellation of NAPLAN last year and the interruption of schooling because of Covid the community is eager for information about the impact on learning in literacy and numeracy and the effectiveness of remote teaching and learning," he said.

From today, students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will do tests for reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy skills.

This year 70 per cent of schools will conduct the test online with all schools to make the transition by 2022.

ACT Association for the Teaching of English executive officer Rita Van Haren said the most valuable part of the literacy tests was the writing test, where students needed to write a persuasive text or a narrative.

"If you've got a child who's highly anxious ... I would withdraw them [from NAPLAN]. But the main thing is to say, 'Just do your best and don't worry about it', because it's only one little piece of information in the whole lot of information that schools use," she said.

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Australian Association of Math Teachers chief executive Alan Dougan said it was critical the test was viewed as snapshot of students' progress.

"It's really important we emphasise the importance of not teaching to the test and not not placing too much emphasis on it," he said.

"It's supposed to be an opportunity to take a quick snap of where the young people are to really inform or to validate what teachers already know about students."

ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry said the school-level data made the greatest difference to student progress.

"My message to students about to undertake the test, and their parents and carers, is to not get stressed over it or to try to prepare," Ms Berry said.

"The Future of Education Strategy being implemented by all ACT public schools outlines a holistic approach to student education and a focus on equity, rather than measuring a student narrowly on their strength in literacy and numeracy."

Year 5 Sacred Heart Primary School students Emelyn Cook, Leila Warwick and Oscar Battaglia were relaxed about NAPLAN after having a good experience in year 3.

"I just enjoyed the challenge of it," Emelyn said.

Leila felt nervous beforehand but focused on how good she would feel after the test was over. Oscar said NAPLAN wasn't as hard as he thought it would be.

"It seriously was just the work that you've been doing [in class] and then you just write the answers and then you just give it in. It was that simple," he said.

Assistant principal Kerry Wode said the digital-native students were comfortable with the online format.

"It's not the be-all and end-all. It's certainly just one of our suite of tests that we do," she said.

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This story NAPLAN is back after a one-year break. Test yourself with our quiz first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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