August 19, 2016 Nic Rothquel

HOW TO INTERPRET NAPLAN RESULTS

NAPLAN results are out this week and we’ve been seeing the reports scattered on kitchen counters around the country.

The report itself is fairly self explanatory. Your child is the dot, and the two arrows show the average in their school and across the country. I want to share 5 things you can learn from your child’s NAPLAN results and how you can help them continue to improve:

1. Rather than comparing them against the nation, compare them against their previous results.

I always tell parents to hold on to those reports, as the most beneficial aspect is seeing how they have improved over the previous 2 years. The NAPLAN exam is quite clever in that the standard generally remains the same for each exam, they just make them slightly harder as the student gets older. In doing this, it allows you to see if your child has improved since they last completed the exam.

In my eyes, this is the most valuable measurement of all. There are too many variables in using the school or national performance as the benchmark, but by comparing them against their previous results you can identify any potential issues that will need to be addressed.

Ideally, you will see improvements across the board. Even if they stay the same it is ok. If they have gone backwards in any of the areas, you may need to consider getting some extra support as it probably means they are struggling with new content

2. If they struggle with any of the literacy subjects, get them reading

The most effective way to improve spelling, grammar or writing abilities is by getting young people to read. In my ten years working with students this has been the biggest differential in high performing students – they read often.

It is getting harder to get young people reading – I understand this fully. iPads, iPhones, computers and video games are way more fun for everyone. But the art of reading is so important for young people to learn.

Try to get them reading a book for half an hour each day. Schedule it in, just like homework time and hopefully it will become something they look forward to.

3. A lot of the time, numeracy struggles are actually comprehension struggles.

I see it from students all the way up to year 12. When you give a student a simple maths question, they nail it. But give them the same question in a complex word problem and they struggle. So often in exams like NAPLAN, they cloak simple maths problems in confusing multi-stage questions and it is actually that part that catches students rather than the maths.

This again comes back to the need for reading. Of course, it will naturally require good mathematical skills, but it is about combining both skills together.

4. If your child is well above their school average, you may need to find new ways to challenge them.

The unfortunate reality of our 30 to 1 schooling system is that each class caters for the average. If a student struggles, they will often have remedial classes to support them, but if a student is a high performer, they generally aren’t given too many opportunities to really test themselves.

Our tutors can provide the perfect challenge that high performing students need. It is worth noting that a private tutor is not just for those that struggle, but for those who thrive off the extra challenge. It will keep them engaged and prevent them from getting bored in class. Book your first free session with one of our tutors now.

5. Finally, remember that standardised testing has its limitations.

NAPLAN exams are very black and white, but young people are not. Every student has their unique strengths and this exam won’t recognise those.

Whatever your child’s results, make sure they know that it does not impact upon who they are, how smart they are or what they are capable of achieving.

We love bringing out the hidden gold in students. It is what we do best. We provide the individualised care that students deserve by pairing the best tutors in the country with students in K-12. If you’ve ever considered a tutor for your child, don’t wait any longer. Learn more about what we do here.

I hope that helped a little. Remember to hold on to that report so you can compare the results the next time your child sits the exam!

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