NAPLAN: The testing is a national requirement for grades three, five,  seven, and nine.
NAPLAN: The testing is a national requirement for grades three, five, seven, and nine. Maddelin McCosker

Trying their best for the big test

YEAR 3, 5, 7 and 9 students across the country this week took part in the annual NAPLAN testing.

Students sit the test every second year from Years 3 - 9 to test their reading, writing, grammar, spelling and numeracy skills.

The test gives parents and teachers information on how a child is progressing against national standards.

NAPLAN has come under fire for putting students under unnecessary pressure, but a spokesman from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority said all the students have to do is their best.

"NAPLAN tests the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life,” he said.

"What is taught in the classroom is what is tested on in NAPLAN, so no additional preparation is necessary.

"In fact, excessive preparation is unhelpful and it's up to the adults in childrens' lives to help keep NAPLAN in perspective - it's a snapshot in time assessment that shows how a child is progressing in the fundamental skills of literacy and numeracy.”

Dalby State High School principal Dean Russell agrees and said the school tries to make the test as low-stress as possible.

"We try to make the approach casual but still make sure we deliver the test within the rules, but we do everything we can to take the stress out of it,” Dr Russell said.

"We keep a close eye on them, one of the most important things is that they are almost always doing the test with a teacher they know well.”

He said the NAPLAN focus at school is on each student's individual improvement.

"We're not so worried about the end scores. What we really like to see is kids improving from their grade seven test to their grade nine test, we just want to see kids moving in the right direction,” Dr Russell said.

"It's not just about fixing deficits, it's about making kids excel at what they're good at.”

Most Dalby schools achieved 80-100 per cent of students reaching the national minimum standard across tested areas last

year.

Dalby State High School received the highest average NAPLAN score in Dalby, followed by the Dalby Christian College.

Dalby South State School achieved the highest average score for primary students in the town last year, with both year three and five students ranking above in numeracy, and substantially above in reading and grammar when compared to all Australian students.

The year three students really excelled, gaining an average NAPLAN score that would rank them fifth among Toowoomba schools.

Schools across the region have started making the shift to NAPLAN Online system this year, ACARA said this system delivers a "tailored testing” approach.

"Tailored testing adapts to student responses in real time and present students with questions that are more or less difficult based on a student's test performance,” an ACARA spokesman said.

"The adaptive nature of the tests means students are more likely to stay engaged with the tests ... allowing them to show what they can do, rather than just what they can't.”


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