I subscribe to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's email newsletter for parents of Victorian school children, Parent Update. I am always interested to hear what is going on in our local State schools, and generally find at least one article of interest. The October 16th edition was no exception and contained information on Victoria's performance in the NAPLAN tests.
Standing for National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy, the NAPLAN tests were (as the name implies) implemented Australia-wide last year for school children in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9. They test students in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation) and Numeracy. NAPLAN test results allow schools and systems to compare their students’ achievements against national standards and with student achievement in other states and territories. It also allows the monitoring over time. The National Summary Report: Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2009 is available online on the NAPLAN website. On the website you'll also find pdf downloads of the the Literacy and Numeracy tests for 2008 and 2009.
Now this gave me an idea.
Many of you, I know, use homeschooling curricula that regularly test your children's progress in major subject areas. Those of you who like me choose the Charlotte Mason method of educating and testing will be less sure where their children fit in relation to their State educated peers. Now this is not an issue per se. One of the main advantages of homeschooling to me is the opportunity it provides for me to tailor Jemimah's education to her academic needs, interests and, in particular, temperament, rather than having to accommodate the varying standards displayed by a class of 20 Grade 1 school students of varying abilities. Still, I was curious.
I administered the Year 3 numeracy test last Friday. You may recall that 7yo Jemimah is in Year 1, but is currently midway through MEP maths Year 3. I hoped that the standards would be similar. They were. Despite never having sat a test of any type before, Jemimah scored 29/35, or 82.85%. Her results placed her within the range of Level 5 or 6 (it is difficult to gauge precisely without the assessment tool), considerably above the majority of Victorian Year 3 students. I was very excited; her Daddy was very relieved. This was a concrete way for me to demonstrate her abilities.
This result gave me the confidence to administer the Year 3 reading test today. Well, my clever Grade 1er achieved 100%. Wow!! Imagine what Daddy is going to say about this one!!
Now before you dismiss this post as that of a proud and boasting mummy (which I'll admit I am, rather), please note that I won't be asking Jemimah to complete the Language Conventions or Writing tests any time soon. Don't forget, we're Charlotte Masoners. These things absolutely mustn't be attempted before year 4. That gives me a few years, doesn't it? Jemimah's spelling is appalling, dreadful, horrifying, dire, dismaying, terrible, ghastly and grim. I won't be showing you these results for quite some time.
Miss Mason assures me that good spelling comes with exposure to living books. I will be patient.
If you, like me are vaguely interested in where your child rates, hope over to the NAPLAN website and have a look around. You, like me, may be pleasantly surprised.