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4 ways to prepare for NAPLAN testing

April 19, 2016

For some parents, teachers and students, NAPLAN time is a stressful time. What can you do to minimise stress and prepare effectively?

1. Remember that NAPLAN is a snapshot.

The NAPLAN test is just a small snapshot of your child’s work under pressure and the NAPLAN results are just that – your child’s snapshot compared with similar snapshots from children across Australia. You can’t rely on NAPLAN to measure all of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, or to predict their success in life. You can however use this information to gain an idea of areas that you could consider working on in the future.

2. Remember that your child will mirror your reaction.

If you are stressed and worked up about this one snapshot test, those feelings will rub off onto your child. Many children are very anxious about NAPLAN testing. A survey reported that at least 20% of children are scared of freezing up during NAPLAN and at least 13% are scared about their parent’s reaction to their results. Tell your child you are proud of them no matter what their NAPLAN score is, and be sure to remind them of all the other things they are good at.

3. Discuss NAPLAN openly with your child.

Let your child know that the purpose of NAPLAN is to let teachers and schools know if they are teaching students well and what they can do better. For example, if all the kids in the school do well at Maths and not so well at reading, the school can consider implementing some more reading programs to help the students. Students often feel that the sole purpose of NAPLAN is to identify their personal faults – this is not true! Once students realise it is a test to see how well the teachers and school are doing, they are able to relax a bit.

4. Prepare by looking at the format of the test.

The best way to prepare is to introduce your child to what the test paper looks like, using sample papers found on the internet. Then they will feel more comfortable when they are in the testing situation. You can use sample test papers found on the internet. For example, if the student knows that when they reach a certain part of the test, they will be asked to underline or circle something, and they’ve seen the page layout before in the sample test, they will feel less stressed because they will know what is expected of them. Explain that it is normal for them to not know the all the answers as some questions are above their grade level and they are only expected to try their best.

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