Half of parents 'dreading' NAPLAN period, national survey finds

Half of parents

More than half of Australian parents are “dreading” the NAPLAN period, new national research shows.

The survey, conducted by online tutoring platform, Cluey Learning, found that 72% of parents whose children are undertaking NAPLAN this year feel that their child’s education was adversely affected by COVID-19, with 71% of parents deeming it fair that the exams have been reinstated in 2021.

Nearly two thirds of the parents surveyed revealed they will be following this year’s results more closely than previous years and will be using them to identify any learning gaps that need to be addressed.

NAPLAN will take place nationally for more than one million children in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 between 11-21 May. Traditionally NAPLAN assessments were set as paper tests in exam conditions, but the test will be held online this year for the first time.

Dr. Selina Samuels, Chief Learning Officer, Cluey Learning said it’s important for principals to consistently characterise NAPLAN as a formative rather than summative assessment.

“If schools emphasise the literacy and numeracy skills that NAPLAN measures, it’s easier for students, parents and teachers to approach the preparation for NAPLAN as a learning process and the tests themselves as snapshots in that process,” Dr Samuels told The Educator.

“Familiarity is the best way to dispel, not create, nerves”.

Dr Samuels said a key priority for principals should be to demystify NAPLAN and make sure students know what to expect with the tests and to help them and their parents understand the reports.

“Teaching students to face rather than avoid sources of stress is also important,” she said.

“There is value for students in becoming accustomed to the rules and procedures that surround formal assessment, such as time management, interpreting word problems and answering multiple choice questions using a process of elimination”.

Dr Samuels said that with appropriate understanding and preparation, families are more likely “to recognise that NAPLAN is a valuable diagnostic tool and the skills it measures are skills for life”.