“I had some idea, but the results knocked me. I didn’t realise they would be that low”.
If your child is performing below expectations for their year level in reading, or even below the national minimum standard, it can be difficult to know how to help them improve. We answer some frequently asked questions about the 2014 NAPLAN results.
Can I trust my child’s NAPLAN results?
Yes and no. NAPLAN only measures a very small set of skills: reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation. It also only takes a snapshot of those skills at one point in time, on one particular day. Your child’s results are going to depend on a lot of factors, including how they felt on the day, their stress levels, and the way the questions were worded. Yes – you can trust that your child’s NAPLAN results will provide you with a snapshot of your child’s work under pressure, and compare that snapshot with similar snapshots from children across Australia. NAPLAN has helped many parents identify strengths and weaknesses in their children and empowered them to take action to build on those strengths and target those weaknesses. Just remember that you can’t trust NAPLAN to measure all your child’s strengths and weaknesses, or to predict their success in life.
What can I do to reduce my child’s stress?
Many children are stressed or anxious about NAPLAN testing. A survey reported that the most common symptoms are fear of freezing up (reported by 20% of parents) and fear of parental reaction (13%). Does this mean you should take your child out of NAPLAN? In some extreme circumstances, this may be required (talk to your child’s teacher). However, don’t forget that NAPLAN can provide a level of assessment that other testing cannot, and gives schools valuable information about how their students are performing compared to the rest of Australia.
One parent found it helpful to discuss NAPLAN openly with her daughter: “we told her that it was a positive experience and a good opportunity for her to learn how to focus her mind in an exam environment and perform to the best of her ability.” Tell your child that you are proud of them no matter what their NAPLAN score is, and when the results arrive, praise them for their effort. If the results aren’t so good, make sure they are reminded of all the other things they are great at! As Beechboro Primary School Principal Len Christie wrote to his students, “these tests are unable to measure all of what it is that makes you the valued person who you are.”
How can I improve my child’s learning skills?
Some students continue to struggle despite having been taught in the classroom and perhaps even having had tutoring. These students may lack the foundations of learning – the cognitive skills that are required to be a good reader, writer and speller. All children are expected to come to the classroom with good working memory, sharp attention skills and fast processing. When they don’t, it’s impossible for them to get full benefit from classroom teaching. They might be labelled as lazy or dumb, and they do poorly on tests like the NAPLAN.
Neuroscience research has come a long way. We now know how to improve learning skills, and we can do it in a way that kids enjoy. Best of all, it doesn’t cost the earth and you can do it from home.
Three evidence-based neuroscience learning programs
At Sonic Learning, our team of health and education professionals are committed to optimising learning for our students and we only run programs which have been tried and tested. We have proudly helped to improve the reading and general learning skills of thousands of Australian students.
Call us on 1300 135 334 for a free phone consultation to determine if our programs are suitable for your child.
- The Fast ForWord program is designed to systematically build auditory processing skills while simultaneously developing phonics, phonological awareness, reading fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. It is most suitable for students who would benefit from an all-over brain workout targeting all the skills needed for quick, efficient listening and learning.
“Before we couldn’t get Harris to read anything and now he takes a book with him when he goes out. It’s nothing for him to be reading 3 novels at a time,” says Sean. Click for more Fast ForWord program reviews.
- The Cogmed program is designed to build visual working memory and attention. It is most suitable for students who have strong language skills and would benefit from better memory, attention, organisation and thinking skills.
“Maths had always been my hardest subject. And now from doing Cogmed and feeling like I was on top of things, I found that the questions became easier and my memorisation skills went way up,” says Michaela. Click for more Cogmed program reviews.
- The Reading Assistant program is designed to build reading automaticity and thinking skills. It is most suitable for students who would benefit from reading practice to increase reading speed and comprehension.
“My husband and I are finally seeing Beau reading for pleasure,” says Julieann. Click for more Reading Assistant program reviews.
Learn more about us
Have a question or are interested in learning more about Sonic Learning? Watch a video about us below and contact our team of health and education professionals on 1300 135 334 to discuss your child’s learning.