Exploring NAPLAN Results – A Guide to Help Parents Understand the Impact of Benchmark Testing

 As a parent, you want the best for your child's academic success. One of the ways to determine their progress in key areas such as reading, writing and mathematics is through benchmark testing, specifically the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) assessment. 

NAPLAN assesses students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9, and provides valuable insights to parents and educators about student performance. 

However, interpreting NAPLAN results can be challenging. That's why we have put together a guide to help parents understand the impact of benchmark testing, and how they can work with their children to improve their performance.

What is NAPLAN?

NAPLAN is a nationwide assessment that measures student achievement in literacy and numeracy across all Australian schools. The test is conducted annually and assesses students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN offers a snapshot of how your child is doing in comparison to their peers across the nation. 

The assessment has four domains: reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. The test is designed to assess both basic skills and higher-order thinking skills. Students are provided with one test for each of the four domains, and each test is around 40 minutes long.

How Is the NAPLAN Result Scored?

The NAPLAN result is scored on a 4 proficiency level: Exceeding, Strong, Developing, and Needs Additional Support. 

If your child receives an Exceeding score, then they have achieved top results for their age group and are performing significantly above the national average. A Strong result indicates that your child has performed very well compared with other students in the same year level. 

If your child receives a Developing result, it means they have met the expectations of the test. Finally, if your child’s scores show that they Need Additional Support, then their performance in literacy or numeracy may be behind what is expected for their year level. 

What Should I Do If My Child Doesn’t Do Well on NAPLAN?

NAPLAN results can impact students' confidence and self-esteem. If your child does not perform as well as expected in NAPLAN, it’s important to respond with patience and understanding. 

Do not compare them to other children. Every child learns differently and at different rates. Speak to your child about their feelings and reassure them that the results are not a reflection of their worth. 

Instead of focusing on the test results, try to identify what areas your child needs help in and provide them with the resources they need. Provide encouragement, support and resources such as NAPLAN online practice tests, to prepare for future tests. 

Encourage your child to stay positive and optimistic about learning and remind them that with hard work and dedication, they will be able to make progress towards their educational goals. Most importantly, remind them that no matter what the results are, you will be proud of them for trying their best and doing their best.

How Can I Support My Child Further After NAPLAN?

Below, we’ve shared some effective ways to support your child after NAPLAN and enhance their academic performance.

Review the Results with Your Child

It is important to take the time to review your child's NAPLAN results and explain what they mean. This will help your child understand their strengths and areas that need improvement. 

If your child has done well, celebrate their achievements and use this as an opportunity to motivate them further. If your child has not done as well as expected, reassure them that there are many ways to improve and that you are there to offer support. 

Provide Practice Academic Tests Online

Practising academic tests online is a great way to support your child's academic development. These tests can be found on educational websites or you can buy test books from local bookshops. 

By practising similar tests to NAPLAN, your child will become more familiar with the test format, structure, and style of questions. This can help them feel more at ease during future tests and assessments. 

Speak with Your Child's Teacher About Areas that Need Improvement

Your child's teacher has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to their development. Arrange a meeting to discuss your child's NAPLAN results and ask for their input on how you can support your child further. They may be able to provide additional resources, tips, or suggestions based on your child's strengths and weaknesses. 

Provide a Supportive Study Environment 

Create a supportive study environment at home. This could be a designated study area, access to resources such as textbooks and online materials, or a set time each day to focus on academic tasks. Supporting your child's academic development goes beyond NAPLAN and is a vital aspect of their overall growth and success in life. 

In Summary

With the right guidance and support, parents can ensure their children excel in benchmark testing such as NAPLAN. From an understanding of what NAPLAN is, and how results are scored, to potential avenues for additional help—this guide has outlined some key considerations to take on board when helping your child prepare. 

Results from benchmark tests are important indicators of a student’s development over time but should never be the only factor in deciding the next steps. Holistic approaches that incorporate learning directly from school with support from parents and extracurricular activities are still the most effective means for developing strong skills and long-term success.

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