2017 NAPLAN Readiness
The annual National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is upon us early in May. Mass testing programs such as these always draw public commentary. No doubt media stories will emerge once again this year decrying falling educational standards, limited government funding for education and the potential harm done by subjecting children to tests. Some will even say that teachers will teach to the test, as though this is a bad thing. I sincerely hope they do!
Teachers will teach all the elements of reading comprehension, spelling, grammar, writing and numeracy required for the student’s year level. Questions which draw out the essential concepts in each of these areas will be selected for the annual tests. Whether the minds of eager young students have grasped all of these concepts during the past two years will become evident. Teachers will eagerly await the results!
Just as Google and Facebook gather valuable data we regularly provide to them for the benefit of marketing companies, so it is that NAPLAN test results gather data of great value to our teachers. Whether an individual student has grasped a particular mathematical concept or a class needs further practice making inferences from a piece text, information about achievements or gaps in understanding can easily be identified from the wealth of data provided annually to all schools. Test results provide rich data to assist teachers to improve their teaching strategies in order to develop the learning potential for all our students.
Teachers at St John’s are great proponents of the need to teach children how to think for themselves, to be creative and innovative and to collaborate in team environments to solve real-world problems, however, all would agree that without exceptional results in literacy and numeracy as the foundation, these higher order thinking processes will be of little value. It’s not an either/or question. It’s that success in one is fundamental to success in the other.
Students at St John’s have shown steady improvement in NAPLAN results over the past four years, a statistic of which we are enormously proud and which led us to be in the top 50 Queensland schools in 2016. These results stand alongside that fact that Anglican schools are the highest performing school sector in Australia and that independent schools in Australia rank alongside Singapore, the country now at the top of the OECD international rankings in Maths and Science testing for 15 year olds.
We look forward to using NAPLAN test results to the advantage of our students once again this year.