Letter to the editor: An open letter to parents

Every child needs numeracy and literacy skills to get a well-rounded education. Literacy and numeracy are the universal building blocks that provide the foundation skills children will need as they progress through school and beyond.

NAPLAN is an important tool for you and your child’s teachers to see how your child, compared with the rest of Australia’s children, is going in meeting important literacy and numeracy standards.

NAPLAN doesn’t test everything that happens in classrooms and it isn’t intended to. It does look at the critically important skills of literacy and numeracy, the skills our children will need for any career path they  eventually choose to take.

After your child has taken NAPLAN, you will receive information on how he or she is progressing in literacy and numeracy, and how this compares with other students at your child’s school and across Australia.

NAPLAN doesn’t replace regular in-class assessments, but it is the only national assessment Australian children undertake. It allows for achievement to be celebrated, and – equally importantly – helps identify areas where more support may be needed to help individual students reach their full potential.

No extra preparation is required for NAPLAN. What children learn in the classroom through the teaching of the Australian Curriculum is what NAPLAN assesses.

As with any test in life, some students may feel anxious about NAPLAN. In these cases, it’s up to the adults in students’ lives to help explain what NAPLAN is all about and keep it in perspective. Remind your child that it’s not a big deal, that it’s a short assessment taken only four times during their schooling. As one principal commented: “It’s a very useful diagnostic instrument, it’s something people shouldn’t really worry about and they should just treat the day as any other day.”

As NAPLAN begins to move online this year, some students will take the assessment in an online format. The move online brings benefits in the form of more precise and detailed results for teachers, and a more engaging test for students. Regardless of whether your child takes NAPLAN online or on paper, the results will be comparable with those of other students and from previous years. In August you will receive your child’s NAPLAN results. If you have any concerns about your child’s NAPLAN results, discuss them with their teacher.

Robert Randall, chief executive, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority​

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