CHAMPION COLUMN | What NAPLAN is and what it isn't

BETH GODWIN: Principal, Cabramatta High School.
BETH GODWIN: Principal, Cabramatta High School.
BETH GODWIN: Principal, Cabramatta High School.

BETH GODWIN: Principal, Cabramatta High School.

National Literacy and Numeracy testing is near. Literacy tests are on May 14 and 15, numeracy on May 16. So what's all the fuss about? Used correctly, the tests are a great diagnostic tool. If you can interpret the results they indicate growth, strengths and areas of development in literacy and numeracy.

The biggest benefit is that each student is compared with themselves over time. At CabramattaHighSchool each student in years 7 and 9 has good-quality time with a teacher analysing his or her results and creating an individual plan for improvement. We offer parents individual time with a teacher to help them make sense of the results.

Growth in learning over time is individual as each student has a different starting point. Schools in Cabramatta and Fairfield have a history of academic growth being significantly high. Research articles and media stories highlight this as above the national growth data.

NAPLAN tests are skills-based and memorising content is not helpful. Literacy tests examine spelling, punctuation, reading, writing and grammar. Numeracy tests look at number patterns, algebra, data, measurement, space and geometry. Practising these is helpful.

Schools using NAPLAN results as an enrolment entry requirement have led to tutoring centres giving NAPLAN coaching. NAPLAN is only one measure of ability and just relying on literacy and numeracy as proof of learning potential is limited. It defeats the purpose of the tests and creates a lucrative tutoring industry. Publishers have jumped on the NAPLAN gravy train, making significant money printing practise tests.

Prepare by practising questions, expanding concentration, reading widely, writing, plus good nutrition and rest. Controlling stress helps students be at their best.

BETH GODWIN

Principal, Cabramatta High School

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