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Navigating NAPLAN: Understanding the Purpose and Limitations of the National Assessment Program



NAPLAN, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, is scheduled for next week for our girls in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9. This assessment evaluates literacy and numeracy skills, covering reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation), and numeracy.


The data from NAPLAN serves several purposes:

  1. Governments use it to gauge literacy and numeracy skills nationally, informing education policies and funding decisions.

  2. Teachers, schools, and educational sectors utilise it to assess the effectiveness of their programs and tailor teaching methods.

  3. It aids in identifying students who may need additional support or challenge.

  4. Parents gain another perspective on their child’s literacy and numeracy progress.

However, it's crucial to recognise that NAPLAN measures only a narrow range of skills. It doesn’t reflect overall student achievement throughout the year or the breadth of the curriculum. Teachers' ongoing assessments remain essential, and NAPLAN should never be the sole measure of a child’s performance.


NAPLAN offers a snapshot of literacy and numeracy proficiency at a specific point in time, not a definitive assessment of a girl’s abilities.


Additionally, NAPLAN doesn't capture aspects like student engagement, problem-solving, creativity, or collaboration, which are vital for holistic learning. Real-life challenges require critical and creative thinking skills, beyond what NAPLAN evaluates.


If your daughters are taking NAPLAN, it’s essential to contextualise the tests. They shouldn’t feel undue pressure or stress. While the tests simulate real-life situations, they are just one aspect of learning and growth. Students should be encouraged to do their best, understanding that results are merely a small part of their educational journey.


Ultimately, NAPLAN results do not define a student's worth or value. They are part of a broader understanding of learning and should be approached with this perspective in mind.


Dr John Fry

Deputy Principal - Studies

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