In Australia, every school age student in year 3,5,7 and 9 sit NAPLAN tests in week 5 of term 2. This is a huge stress to families and students alike. Lots of students get really anxious and apprehensive about sitting the NAPLAN tests.
As a parent what can I do to settle my child’s anxiety? Is it better for my child to just not sit the test? Do they need to sit the tests anyway?
NAPLAN are standardised tests in english and mathematics across Australian schools. As a parent NAPLAN results give you a very clear indication as to where your child is sitting academically compared to other students in the same year level. This information is very handy for a parent as it gives you a reference point year to year as to their growth across subjects every 2 years. As a parent you would be hoping to see big jumps academically each time they sit the test.
I always believe that it doesn’t really matter where your child is academically, so long as they are doing their best. What matters most in your child’s education is the growth year to year. Is your child progressing year to year is the most critical indicator to look at.
If you are not seeing progress and growth in their NAPLAN results year to year then some very important discussion points could be had with the school. You could look at some of my homework and study tips here or visit my website.
As to the question- Does my child need to sit the tests? Definitely yes is my answer. The information you get as a parent from the NAPLAN results is so important as discussed above. NAPLAN also helps introduce the concept of sitting for exams, even at a very young age. Currently students in year 11 and 12 have to sit rigorous exams to get entry into universities and to pass their Certificate of Education from high school. Practice sitting tests at an early age will certainly be of value long term.
As a parent what can I do to help ease my child’s stress and anxiety about sitting NAPLAN tests? As a parent you can start to talk with your child about what NAPLAN is and why sitting the tests are important. You can also talk with your child about just doing their best in the test and that you will be proud of them no matter what the result so long as they did their best.
Children get very stressed over NAPLAN because they are worried about not doing well or because they think they will disappoint you if they do poorly in them. You need to keep reassuring them that this is not the case if they do do their best. Some kids just don’t cope with stress very well, regardless of what stressor prevents itself. In this instance working on ways to deal with and manage stress in general would really be of value and the early you pick this up the better.
If you have concerns or have more questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org