BIG WEEK: Ipswich Grammar School students Byron Reynolds and Madyson Rapmund prepare for the NAPLAN testing.
BIG WEEK: Ipswich Grammar School students Byron Reynolds and Madyson Rapmund prepare for the NAPLAN testing. Rob Williams

Why you shouldn't be stressed about 2019 NAPLAN testing

IPSWICH students and their parents are being encouraged to keep a cool head as they prepare to tackle NAPLAN testing from Tuesday.

More than 260,000 Queensland kids in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be tested in reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy from Tuesday until Thursday.

That number will include about 300 students from Ipswich Grammar School and deputy principal Tony Dosen said the hype surrounding the three-days can often get out of hand.

"It's in the media all the time, you can't escape it at this time of the year," he said.

"No matter how many people say that it's just a test, everybody talks about it."

He said the real challenge was getting students' heads around the construct of the tests and the way questions were framed, rather than the actual content itself.

"Our preparation is probably trying to demystify and take the pressure off a little bit," he said.

"(The content) shouldn't be anything new for a lot of our kids. The big thing is trying to get them used to the construct of the test.

"We go through last year's sample test to get them used to it and reduce the amount of stress as much as we possibly can.

"In normal school life every boy does tests anyway. We just try to make it as normal as we possibly can."

This year, about 480 Queensland schools are participating in NAPLAN Online ahead of the scheduled full roll-out by 2020.

Ipswich Grammar chose not to trial the online version of the test.

"The online tests will be a whole new world for schools," Mr Dosen said.

"We'll be fine in terms of the content. It will be the construct of the test and getting kids used to using their device.

"NAPLAN is still a good indicator. It's a point in time and for us it's really to look at our students from two years ago and see how they've progressed."

Education Minister Grace Grace said students needed to stay calm and "simply do their best."

"Reports commissioned by the Palaszczuk Government identified that there were a range of unintended consequences stemming from the now high-stakes nature of the testing," she said.

"Many parents reported that testing caused their child to experience anxiety and stress and educators expressed concern at the growing amount of time and pressure in preparing for testing and that NAPLAN data was being misinterpreted as the sole indicator of a school's performance.

"Certainly, I want Queensland kids to give 100 per cent as they would any other form of assessment, but I also want them, and their parents, to ignore the hype and simply stay calm."

Ms Grace reaffirmed her call for a national review of NAPLAN.

"After more than 10 years it's time for a comprehensive national review of NAPLAN to ensure it remains current and responsive to changes in education," she said.

NAPLAN is used to monitor students' progress and asses their areas of strength and development.

"Queensland achieved some of its highest ever NAPLAN results in 2018, building on a long-term trend of positive literacy and numeracy results across the state," she said.

"In a report published late last year, The Grattan Institute described Queensland as the star performer, with our primary students making two months more progress in reading than the national average between year 3 and 5, and about one month more progress in numeracy over the same two years.

"Since 2008, Queensland students have improved in an outstanding 16 of 20 test areas.

"Our Year 9 students achieved some of the highest results ever last year while in reading and spelling, we saw continued improvement across all year levels."



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