Firstly I apologise for getting my weeks mixed up as I meant to use this brief YES message last week in preparation for NAPLAN testing this week. Although the first day of testing will be finished by the time you read this, it will still apply for the remaining test days.
Firstly, I must commend the media for a change given the amount of pressure their stories usually put on schools in their NAPLAN performance. An editorial yesterday put the NAPLAN tests in a realistic perspective for the children. They gave similar advice that I have given in recognising that this is a test that only represents one small part of the children’s real performance. It occurs once every two years and if the children have been sick, had a family hiccup or other disruption leading into the test they may not perform at that test on that day. What is important is that they do their best on the day. That is, have a good go at the test giving it their best try. We encourage the children to have a go at all questions. If a question is difficult, we tell them to have their best guess and a lot of the time what they thought the answer might be is the correct answer, they were just too worried about getting it wrong. As we tell them, “If you don’t answer it at all it will be wrong, but if you have a go, you have a chance to get it right”.
What can you do to help at home? For the children to be able to have their best go at the test, they need to be well fed and rested ready for the tests. Make sure they go to bed at a reasonable time so they are well rested. We understand that it can be difficult to get the children to eat breakfast early in the morning, so we are providing a NAPLAN breakfast each morning. Encourage your children to attend the breakfasts as this will help them to focus. And lastly, make sure they understand that it will not be the end of the world if they do not get every answer correct, just that they give it their best try.