Much has been said about NAPLAN, and before it, AIM testing. Standardised testing certainly helps to determine a student’s achievement. At a state and national level, testing offers an opportunity to compare student performance one school relative to another; one state relative to another.

Much fuss is made in schools about NAPLAN. Some schools take the perspective that children should face the testing ‘untrained’. Others spend time ‘preparing’ them. Undoubtedly, there are schools, families and students who face the testing with much trepidation.

What does the NAPLAN test mean for your child?

If we presume that the tests accurately assess what they say they do, the NAPLAN gives a ‘snapshot’ view of how well your child is achieving in the tested areas of numeracy and literacy, at that particular time. It is a single test, on a single day, and presumes that your child has in fact been exposed to the tested curriculum. There is no doubt that the NAPLAN result can tell us something about the child’s performance.

An important point was made by the Sydney Morning Herald in May 2013, which stated that when NAPLAN testing is conducted, “parents and children receive complex reports that do not tell them WHY Johnny or Jane cannot read (yet)”.

At this time of year, you as a parent may be receiving a NAPLAN report. If that report indicates that your child is well below the benchmark, you should be asking the teacher why. You should also ask how this result compares to your child’s performance in class. A very important question, is what has produced this performance?

Often when students perform below the benchmark, schools will respond by placing the student in a support group to assist development. While this is commendable at one level, it is very important that the support is tailored to your child’s needs. To do this, additional assessment is required. There is insufficient information in the NAPLAN testing alone to indicate WHY the student is having difficulty; only that they ARE having difficulty.

What can you do?

Young Advantage specialises in in-depth diagnostic testing, provision of targeted support strategies and advocacy.

If your child is below the benchmark, make contact through our enquiry form so that timely assessment and support can be given. Remember, early identification means early intervention.

You may care to consider giving your child a Young Advantage.