NAPLAN is a nation-wide series of tests and tasks that assess students’ basic knowledge and skills in literacy and numeracy. The term NAPLAN actually stands for National Assessment Program: Literacy & Numeracy, which is administered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA).
The tests and tasks include a:
- Reading test
- Writing task
- Test of basic grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Numeracy test
NAPLAN 2015 will take a total of 3-4 hours, spread out over 3 days.
Every year since 2008, all Australian students in Years 3,5,7 and 9 undertake these tests and tasks. NAPLAN 2015 will be no different.
Dates for NAPLAN 2015
NAPLAN 2015 will occur 12 -14 May. Specifically:
If a student is away on one of these dates, they can sit the test the next day.
NAPLAN Writing Task In 2015
As was the case in 2014, students will be asked to write either a narrative or a persuasive text. Teachers and students will not know which of these two text types they will need to write until test day. Therefore, teachers should prepare students to be able to write either of them.
This year Year 3 & 5 students will be given a different writing prompt to Year 7 & 9 students. Both prompts will be of the same text type, but the wording and context of the prompt will be targeted at different age groups.
ACARA is working with the state and territory governments to move NAPLAN online.
The online testing:
- Is more accurate than pencil and paper tests
- Enables results to be returned more quickly
NAPLAN may move online in the future; however, NAPLAN 2015 will remain a pencil and paper test.
For further information see NAPLAN Online: Even More Accurate.
NAPLAN is surrounded by controversy. However, if you consciously avoid all the hype and excessive test preparation, the tests themselves are quite helpful. Furthermore, you can put the test results to good use.
- NAPLAN is one of the most reliable assessments I have come across. While any single assessment has some degree of error, NAPLAN has far less than teacher designed tests, teacher judged rubrics and commercial assessments such as DRA2.
- NAPLAN results are comparable. You can compare how well a student is doing compared to students across Australia. This eliminates the big fish in a little pond marking bias (or vice versa). The scale scores also allow students to measure their progress since their last NAPLAN test.
- You can use NAPLAN results to confidently identify students in need of additional support, and then use diagnostic tests to help design that support.
- At a broader level, NAPLAN results help us monitor the impact of different strategies, policies and programs.
For further information on the use (and abuse) of NAPLAN, see NAPLAN Is Not A Dirty Word.
Getting Ready for NAPLAN 2015
One reason why some students don’t like NAPLAN is the excessive, yet unproductive test preparation regime.
The best way to prepare students for NAPLAN is to teach them well to begin with.
While there is some limited benefit in using practice tests, there are much better ways to prepare – see NAPLAN Practice Tests vs. NAPLAN Preparation.
Make NAPLAN 2015 a worthwhile experience:
- Prepare students through good teaching throughout the year (including students not in Yrs. 3,5, 7 and 9)
- Do not over emphasise or under emphasise their importance. Treat the NAPLAN tests as equally important as any other single piece of assessment you give your students.