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From The Junior Secondary Co-Ordinator With Jess Batey

From The Junior Secondary
With Jess Batey

Demystifying NAPLAN for Parents

For students in years seven and nine, sometimes the perceived pressure of NAPLAN can become all too much! At Toolooa SHS, we view NAPLAN as a test that can give us an idea of just how far our students have progressed. We also use the results of the tests to inform our own practises, which helps students to continue to improve in the five core areas of reading, writing, spelling, numeracy and grammar & punctuation. 
Across the three testing days, students participate in five different tasks. Firstly, they complete a language conventions test, which assesses their spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is a 40 minute test that is mostly made up of multiple choice questions. Also on the first day, students complete a writing task. The stimulus and genre for this task will be unknown until the day of the test. In the past few years, students have been required to write a persuasive task; however, there have been some narrative tasks also. On day two, students complete a reading test where they are given a magazine with reading stimuli and they are required to complete a range of comprehension questions within a one hour time period. Finally, on the third day of testing, students participate in two numeracy tests – one with a calculator and one without. Throughout the afternoons of these testing days, students go to their classes as normal. 
If you want to help your child to do their absolute best in NAPLAN, and improve their general core skills, take a look at the following tips: 
Read together – Have your child read a text to you. It may be a novel, a newspaper, a website, a magazine – whatever your child is interested in. Explore the text together by discussing what you think might happen next, or why a character made a particular decision, etc.
Encourage your child to write – In this day and age of technology, writing seems to be becoming less and less frequent. Wherever possible, get your child to write. It might be something as simple as a shopping list, or as complex as a narrative. Proof-read your child’s writing with them so they can get used to using strategies that you use as an adult. 
Do everyday maths together – Maths is everywhere in life, but sometimes, adults take it for granted. Children can be involved in simple tasks such as estimating how much your shopping will cost, or calculating how much flour will be needed for a recipe. You could also get your child to help you work out how much mulch to buy next time you’re doing the garden, or have them help you calculate the cost of fencing an area of your yard. Children are much more inclined to get involved with maths if they see it as helping their parents. 
Although we would like every child to participate in NAPLAN, we do understand that there will be certain students who won’t be able to. There are special circumstances where students can be withdrawn or exempt from one or all of the tests. If you think that your child may fall into this category, please contact the school. 
If you have concerns about NAPLAN, or you would like to speak to someone about preparing, please do not hesitate to contact the Junior Secondary Head of Department, Jess Batey, on 49 714 315, or e-mail Alternatively, feel free to visit for information from the National Assessment Program governing body. Remember, NAPLAN is designed to assess what your child knows and what they need to improve on; it should not be viewed as something to fear. We are looking forward to seeing the progress that your child has made since joining us at Toolooa SHS.
Jess Batey
HoD – Junior Secondary