Last month we discussed the recent findings showing that students are failing to do well in the later years’ NAPLAN tests. In particular:
“The 2017 results reveal that literacy problems across the country are starting around Year 5, dramatically deteriorating in Year 7. These are the years when demands on students’ reading and writing increase significantly, and the NAPLAN test questions reflect that.”
With the shift to a middle schooling structure now very much in place, there is likely to be a loss in cohesion between Year 6 and 7 – with a period of a year and a few months to prepare students for the Year 7 NAPLAN being just one of the aspects of their education affected. If Year 6 is focused on finishing primary school, cutting the ties and taking first steps into high school, what happens to teachers’ attention on preparing them for NAPLAN?
Most teachers work extremely hard to prepare their students for what lies ahead. However, where a Year 6 teacher may have had next year’s expected Year 7 teacher right next door in the past, it seems natural that the reduced lines of communication will affect this transition for students. The Year 6 teacher is now mostly concerned about preparing the students for high school, and perhaps preparing them for NAPLAN specifically may in some cases take a back seat.
This is problematic because as we know, the NAPLAN tests are structured quite differently from the day-to-day learning activities primary school students are used to. Add to that the increased demand of the Year 7 NAPLAN expected skills (such as much more inferential reading and applied problem-solving), and you may find some students feeling somewhat at sea when they sit the test.
The Department of Education provides a NAPLAN planner for teachers of ‘Years 6/7’ to assist them to teach the skills and approaches needed to do well in the test. Grouped together this way, the question is whether this resource takes into account the change in school structure where students of Year 7 are now in an entirely different system than when they were in Year 6. http://det.wa.edu.au/curriculumsupport/primary/detcms/navigation/classroom-support-resources/
It’s worth finding out from your school what their approach is to preparing students for the Year 7 NAPLAN if their final year at the school is Year 6.