No stress NAPLAN

Students of San Clemente High School, Mayfield are feeling 'relaxed' ahead of NAPLAN tests. 

NAPLAN is the word on the lips of Hunter families, whose children are days away from national literacy and numeracy skill tests.

Around 1.1 million students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across Australia will start the ninth annual National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests on Tuesday.

Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning at San Clemente in Mayfield, Marc Romano, said the majority of students at his school were “pretty relaxed”, although there was a small group who felt anxious.

“We don’t put pressure on our kids or teachers to perform in NAPLAN,” Mr Romano said.

“We see it as an indication of ability at one moment in time. We don’t teach to NAPLAN or do weeks and weeks of practice papers in the lead up, because we want an accurate representation of where students are at.

“We don’t use the test to assess students, we use the test to assess teaching and learning and whether our years seven, eight and nine programs are effective.

“It shows us our strengths and if there are weaknesses, we want them identified so we can fix them.”

Mr Romano said 181 year seven students and 180 year nine students would sit for papers in language conventions and writing on Tuesday, reading on Wednesday and numeracy on Thursday.

“For year nine it’s a good indication of what has occurred over the past three years, what have we been doing, what has been working,” he said. “For year seven it’s an indication of what we are starting with.”

Mr Romano said the 2015 year nine cohort achieved an improvement in reading and writing above the state and diocesan average, compared to their previous year seven tests.

Year nine students Jack Hagan and Bronte Skinner, both 14, said they had completed a few practice papers, which had helped them to understand the structure of the test and what type of questions to expect.

“I feel pretty relaxed, the teachers tell us to keep calm but that it is important and we should do our best,” Jack said.  “I want to have pride in myself and do well for me.”

Both said they would revise past papers and get plenty of sleep before each test.

Across the Hunter and Central Coast, 47,726 students will sit the tests: 12,627 in year 3; 12,176 in year five; 11,545 in year 7 and 11,378 in year 9. 

NAPLAN tests will move online from 2017.

Story originally published by The Newcastle Herald and can be read here.
Photograph courtesy of Helen Gregory.

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