It is no-one’s favourite thing but after a hiatus due to Covid, NAPLAN is back this week! The test which was first sat at Mueller in 2008 is now in its 14th year. The big difference with this year’s test is that for the first time it will be administered in an online format. The students will use their iPads and a ‘locked down browser’, basically an app that locks the rest of their device, to respond to the questions.
The other notable change is that it will be a branching exam. This means that as students move through the questions if they are doing well the difficulty of the questions will increase, and if they are not answering correctly, they will become easier. The theory is that the data from NAPLAN will now be a better indication of what students know, rather than what they don’t know.
The perceived value of NAPLAN has long been a point of debate in the Australian education sector. What has always been widely accepted is that it is a narrow measure of the ability of students and effectiveness of schools. Students’ capabilities and gifts are far more than can be measured in a test, as are the characteristics and values of a school. However, it is a valuable source of data which we analyse to find out about the strengths and weaknesses of our students and then devise and implement plans to make improvements.
We are praying for our students, and working hard to ensure, that their NAPLAN experience will not be one that is marked with anxiety and they will be able to show what they know. The test requires no specific preparation but please encourage your child to do their best and not be worried about their results. We look forward to receiving their results later in 2021 and working out what steps we can take as a school to improve student learning. It will be an excellent to chance to see how they are progressing after a 2020 that was marked by disruption.
All the best with NAPLAN and enjoy Week Four!