NAPLAN provides key data on students’ progress

Naranga Public School students sit NAPLAN as one of many ways of assessing their numeracy and literacy. Photo: Naranga Public School.

WITH Coffs Coast students to undergo NAPLAN assessments this month, a local school principal has backed the tests as one key provider of data on a child’s academic development.

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual, nationwide assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

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It is an assessment measure through which parents/carers, teachers, schools, education authorities, governments and the broader community can determine how young Australians are developing the literacy and numeracy skills needed for other learning and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community.

While regular, criticism of NAPLAN is usually not about the tests themselves, but about some of the rhetoric that accompanies the release of NAPLAN data in mainstream media each year.

The NAPLAN website clearly states that NAPLAN results do not measure overall school quality.

“NAPLAN tests are one aspect of each school’s assessment and reporting process and do not replace the extensive, ongoing assessments made by teachers about each student’s performance,” the website states.

Naranga Public School Prinipal Michael Trist confirmed this, saying, “All NSW public schools regularly collect data about the numeracy and literacy skills of their students.

“We provide our parents with information about the progress of their children through written reports, interviews and regular informal contact.

“NAPLAN is another source of information for parents to access.”

The tests are ‘point-in-time’ assessments and are conducted under strict exam conditions.

Mr Trist pointed out that a major aspect of the work of NSW public school teachers is to continually assess students to provide what each student needs.

Public schools use specific assessments that are quick, accurate and are part of the ongoing relationship between teachers and students.

“Each teacher will have the best insight into their students’ educational progress,” the NAPLAN website says.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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