NAPLAN tests provide information at all levels: national, state/territory, and most importantly, the classroom. St Edmund’s College teachers use SMART Data (individualised and cohort NAPLAN results) to inform school and teaching planning, pedagogy, and the judgements we make about student progress.
By teaching the Australian Curriculum, teachers at St Edmund’s College prepare students to successfully participate in NAPLAN testing. Incorporating the review of test questions into the data analysis process enriches teachers’ and students’ understandings of what was being assessed, the ‘language’ of the test questions and analysis of errors. This subsequently informs planning for future learning. Developing students’ meta-cognitive skills, including clarification, justification, analysis, evaluation, supports deep literacy and numeracy learning.
There are many literacy and numeracy programs that exist within the school to help our students. These include: Drop everything and read (Years 4-10), Accelerated Reader (Years 6-7), Reading Logs (Years 8-10), Mathletics (Years 4-6), MathsMate program (Years 5-8), student support programs, UCAN Read, Mathematics extension programs, tutoring opportunities, QuickSmart, and many more.
Years 5, 7 & 9 participate in literacy and numeracy trials in Term 1 of each year. These tests are administered to familiarise students with question types and are used as an opportunity for feedback. Other year groups may be involved in literacy and numeracy trials occasionally if the Mathematics, English or Middle School faculties deem it necessary and useful.
Parents may wish to have a look at the types of questions their sons will encounter during the testing. There are a range of sample questions available on the NAP website, at: http://www.nap.edu.au/naplan/the-tests.html
NAPLAN replaces the ACTAP testing which was previously held in the ACT. From 2008 the State and Territory based basic skills testing was replaced with NAPLAN (The National Assessment Programme - Literacy and Numeracy). National data will allow the government to compare results across jurisdictions.
All students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are tested in Literacy and Numeracy on the same days. The tests for literacy cover reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Students are tested by a combination of multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions. Students should not be concerned about the tests. They are not designed to trick them, but rather designed to allow them to show what they know. The timing of the tests allow them to be used as another diagnostic tool within the College. Sample tests are available on the NAPLAN website listed below.
Students with special needs will sit the tests but special provisions that are already in place for those students will be maintained to meet the needs of those students. Parents will receive an individual report on their son's performance in the tests. Schools will also receive a report on students and the government will report to the wider community through aggregate reporting.
There are many websites that will help both you and your son with spelling, grammar, punctuation. You will find some that suit your needs by searching the internet for specific topics. Keep an eye out for the country of origin of some spelling resources - there are differences between Australian and American spelling.
Here are some to get you started.
There is an excellent NAPLAN grammar guide available at the ACER website:
Although the BBC "Learning English" site is aimed at those learning English as a second or other language, it is a very clear guide to grammar, spelling, pronunciation and language usage that your son may find useful. It also includes interactive games and quizzes.
The other BBC site is "Skillwise". It is primarily aimed at helping people in the workforce with grammar and spelling, but again it is a very useful site for school students. It also includes a large number of word games and challenges.
The English Teacher's Association website includes a section on debates in the media. On this page they deal with the teaching of writing from various viewpoints and offer parents some approaches to helping their children with writing at different levels of schooling.
Many of us know adults who also struggle with literacy issues. It may be that someone you know can function in the areas of basic literacy but needs help to develop those skills. Some of us would like to be able to help our kids with their school work, but find the work increasingly difficult as children grow up.
Here are some suggestions that may help an adult that you know to improve their literacy skills.
This is a federally funded initiative that is a good first step for adults who want to look at literacy options. They will be able to tell you about programmes that are in your area and right for you. Phone: 1300 6555 06
Throughout Australia the AMEP helps newly arrived migrants and refugees to achieve functional English so they can maximise their settlement opportunities in Australia. The program provides up to 510 hours of learning activities to eligible clients, free of charge to most people. The AMEP is funded by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Free childcare can be arranged for all those in classroom tuition.
In the ACT the program is delivered by the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). Our aim is to enable new arrivals to increase their opportunities for a more successful and satisfying life in Australia. We provide them with knowledge and skills relating to English language, Australian cultural practices, working inAustralia and settlement services.
All new clients have an initial interview with the Educational Placement and Referral Service (EPRS) to discuss their needs and an ideal learning program.
With New South Wales AMES you can achieve success through English - gain workplace skills, increase your confidence and make friends.
NSW AMES provides English language courses, publications and services to migrants, organisations, international students and volunteer teachers.
"Students in all grades and subject areas are taught to write for a variety of purposes. These purposes include writing to:
Students are taught to consider how their writing can influence their intended reader.
Students are also taught how to draft, revise, discuss, edit and proofread their writing before publishing it. There is always an emphasis on correct spelling, grammar and punctuation and neat and legible handwriting.
The teaching of writing is closely linked to the teaching of talking, listening, viewing and reading." NSW Department of Education and Training.
Strangely enough, one of the best ways of improving writing is to read. Reading from a wide variety of styles and purposes helps us to develop our understanding of the way in which language shapes ideas. We are exposed to the ways in which better writers create phrases, sentences and paragraphs. We see how grammar and punctuation are used accurately and creatively. We learn from good writers by reading their work.
Encourage your son to:
To help your son with spelling:
This list is a shortened version of the excellent list provided as a fridge magnet by The Australian Literacy Educator's Association, which gives more detailed spelling help. Please contact me at email@example.com if you would like one.
Encourage your son to:
The best way to improve reading is to read. Easy, I hear you say - but he won't read anything I suggest!
The lists below are by no means exhaustive but are a good starting point for finding books that have appealed to boys. The lists are always growing and so you are encouraged to search the internet for some other books that might interest your son - e.g. if he likes a particular sport he might be encouraged to read by linking in to that subject.
It is often said that any reading is good reading. This is true up to a point, but once a reading pattern has been established it is a great idea to encourage young readers to go back to some of the classics or to expand their reading away from football biographies. But certainly reading of any sort; newspapers, magazines, novels, short stories, non-fiction, etc, etc, is a great starting point for your son.
Click on this hyperlink to access a list of must-read books for boys recommended by my students over the recent years:
Click on the hyperlink to access a list of must-read books for boys of different ages/reading levels:
Finally, the best encouragement to your son to read is to see you read - especially to see their Dad or significant adult men in their lives reading for pleasure. If what you enjoy reading is suitable for your son then he may want to read something that you have recommended to him and you will be able to discuss it with him later.