NAPLAN Results 2019

All Year 7 and 9 families should have received your son or daughter’s NAPLAN results in the mail by now. If you have not please let us know. NAPLAN is the National Assessment Program that measures student achievement in Australia. At the secondary level students complete the tests in Years 7 and 9. Students complete a standardised test for grammar and punctuation, reading, writing and numeracy. Four tests in all. This framework is currently under review by the Australian Government and so there may be changes to the structure of the tests and the timing of them in the future.

This year, as a College, we had some very pleasing results and one challenging result. Our results for reading, grammar and punctuation and numeracy all achieved results within the expected range. In both the numeracy and grammar and punctuation tests our student growth was higher than both the National and State means for those tests. This is very pleasing and confirmation that the work we are doing in these areas is improving outcomes for our students.

However, the results for the Year 9 writing test were significantly more challenging. It has caused us to reflect upon why this might have occurred, particularly considering the very significant focus on literacy improvement our school prioritises in every aspect of the Curriculum. Our conclusions have led us to regroup in our efforts with the Year 9 cohort, understanding that it is a particular need for that Year Level, and not the program as a whole that needs to be acknowledged. To this end we have put several strategies in place.

Firstly, all students in Year 7 and Year 9 will receive their NAPLAN writing papers back in English class and time will be spent unpacking the question and looking at why it challenged so many of our Year 9 students. This year the NAPLAN question was a narrative piece for the first time in many years. This required our students to write a creative story about a ‘Message’ rather than respond to factual content that has been provided previously. Looking at the skill specific feedback from the NAPLAN report we can see that our students found the creative writing piece more challenging, particularly around coming up with ideas to write about. This is compared to the National and State results.

As a result of being challenged for ideas to write about, a number of our students were not able to sustain a response to the prompt for more than a page. This penalises students significantly according to the NAPLAN assessment criteria. Focusing on creative writing and ways to generate ideas will assist this but it can also be supported by students being encouraged to be curious about the world, read more, keep up with current affairs and get involved in rich conversations at home that help to develop ideas.

We are also investigating the possibility of altering the timing of English tasks to ensure that more creative writing practise is completed before the NAPLAN testing time. However, this will only take place if it also fits in with other Curriculum priorities in the College.

Next term students in Year 9 will also receive a NAPLAN Growth Report and Self-reflection that will present their Year 7 and Year 9 NAPLAN results for all four tests and they will be asked to reflect on those, decide whether their growth has been high, medium or low and set some learning goals that will support them improving their growth into the future. We will ask you to sign the sheet acknowledging that you have read it and know the goals your child has set for themselves.

In this newsletter I have included a Fact Sheet to help you interpret the Individual Student NAPLAN Reports that is published by ACARA. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any queries about NAPLAN or any other Teaching and Learning matter. I’m only too happy to help in any way I can.

Individual student reports – FAQs

Nicole Allan