We are told by many who work in education that we should not prepare our children for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). I disagree. Those against preparing for NAPLAN, claim that such preparation will place unnecessary pressure on children, and will not better children’s performances. Again, I disagree.

Ask yourself this: why is it, that it is ok to prepare children for the WACE examination, for Wednesday’s show and tell, for school news, for Friday’s spelling test, but not NAPLAN? What exactly is the difference? There isn’t a difference. Why should we teach children that they should be organised for a playdate, prepared for their school netball match, the upcoming swimming carnival, book week, but not NAPLAN?

I wonder if those advocating that children should not be equipped for NAPLAN, would like themselves to sit these tests without seeing examples of them first? I very much doubt it. Do these “anti-preparation preachers” prepare for anything…job interviews, dinner parties, weddings, exams, their driving licence?

NAPLAN can be prepared for and should be prepared for. Equipping your child for the NAPLAN tests will create less, not more, anxious children. Being told moments before you begin the NAPLAN tests that it is multiple choice, that you have 45 minutes to complete 10 pages, that there are two booklets for the reading test and so forth, surely is not helpful and would cause angst in even the calmest of child. The unfamiliar, not the familiar, causes disquiet.

So what exactly should you do to plan for NAPLAN? In short, take a little time to go through some practice NAPLAN tests before NAPLAN week with your child so at the very least, they are familiar with what the tests look like. Go through some strategies to tackle an examination with your child. Poor examination technique will prevent students who are capable of hitting the top bands from showcasing their literacy and numeracy competency.

When it comes to NAPLAN, adopt the Scout’s motto: Be Prepared.

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