Should you use NAPLAN practice tests or are there better ways to prepare for NAPLAN?
NAPLAN Practice Tests
However, you should be aware that when John Hattie synthesised over 800,000 research papers related to student achievement, he found that practice tests had only a small effect on students’ subsequent results.
In order to get the most from NAPLAN practice tests, you must put the results to good use. You can do this by:
- Identifying common gaps in students’ results and adjusting your teaching accordingly
- Giving students individual feedback that would enable them to achieve 1 band higher
To do this, you must start implementing the NAPLAN practice tests early in the year.
Alternative NAPLAN Preparation
Then, in conjunction with these general strategies, try implementing the following ideas.
Explicitly teach students:
- How to structure both narrative and persuasive texts
- Language elements associated with such texts suited to their current level of development (e.g. narrative devices, persuasive devices, cohesion, paragraphing, etc.)
- The ‘on demand’, plan-draft-revise process of writing
Give students numerous opportunities to practice writing narratives and persuasive texts, and spread these opportunities out over time.
Mark students practice pieces using the NAPLAN Marking Guide, and then give them specific feedback that will allow them to achieve one band higher. You can download sample writing tasks and marking guides for both persuasive and narrative texts from the NAPLAN website.
Use the repeated reading process.
Explicitly teaching, then having students practice comprehension strategies – first in isolation, and then with multiple strategies simultaneously (e.g. using Reciprocal Teaching or Concept Orientated Reading Instruction).
Offering structured support for struggling readers, such as the Corrective Reading Program, Reading Recovery or Peer Tutoring.
Language Features Preparation
Explicitly teach grammar and punctuation suited to your year level.
Identify that grammar and punctuation within real texts.
Encourage students to use specific aspects of grammar and punctuation within their writing.
Give students feedback on their writing that encourages them to use specific aspects of grammar and punctuation – feedback that would help them achieve one level higher.
Use a Direct Instruction program, such as Spelling Mastery to teach spelling – either to the whole class or as a support for struggling students.
Explicitly teach students what they need to know, making use of examples and non-examples.
Show students what they have to do using modelling, shared problem solving and worked examples.
Provide students with guided practice and feedback until they show basic mastery of the material.
Offer opportunities for independent, cumulative practice, spaced out over time.
Develop students’ problem-solving and reasoning skills.
Nurture their mathematical thinking.
Offer enrichment programs to high achievers.
Offer structured support, such as the Maths Mastery program available from ACER, for students who struggle.
When done throughout the year (and even in non-NAPLAN years), NAPLAN preparation strategies have +300% more impact than NAPLAN practice tests.