Written by on May 7, 2021

So after a year off the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program- Literacy and Numeracy) test is back on for Australia’s primary and lower secondary students.

This admittedly controversial test is a fixture of the academic year for Australian students in year 3, 5, 7 and 9 and will be conducted in May.

The test assesses students on reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy.

Every year just before NAPLAN tests are set to start one can read news stories and tweets about how NAPLAN puts unnecessary strain on students and causes them anxiety.

But beyond the hype, the truth is that the NAPLAN tests are nothing to worry about.

The tests are used primarily to guide government policy and create transparency with parents regarding how their child’s school ranks state or territory wide.

The tests aren’t part of a student’s academic grades nor does a bad test result lead to any sort of punishment.

Now admittedly there have been reports that some private schools use NAPLAN as part of their admission process but there is no concrete evidence that students aren’t admitted into private schools based solely on their NAPLAN results. Rather such requests are part of an overall request for information regarding prospective students, information that would also include report cards and whether a student does extracurricular activities.

The accusation of creating stress is interesting and though well meaning, parents may end up doing their child a disservice later in life.

Stress is part of life. Tests and examinations are a part of life. If students can’t cope with a test which in the end doesn’t mean anything (for the student that is), how will they learn to cope for tests that do matter, like exams and driving tests or job interviews. Mollycoddling a child won’t help them in the end. Indeed, it can be argued NAPLAN could be useful in helping build children’s resilience to stress.

Andrew Ready, principal at Sunrise Christian School Fullarton believes that though NAPLAN is important it doesn’t need to be stressful. Rather in his opinion ” children can be encouraged to give it it their best without needing to be anxious.”

In end the best thing parents should do is to tell the child the truth. Its just a test, you want them to do their best but that NAPLAN isn’t the be all and end all. 

Disclaimer- the author of this article completed NAPLAN during his schooling years

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