John Leao is no stranger to the controversial testing vehicle known as NAPLAN.
He sat for the literacy and numeracy tests in year 3, 5 and 7, and this year – in year 9 – he’ll be assessed for the final time.
“I knew what I was in for so I wasn’t stressed about it but I also know it’s a serious thing,” John, 15, said.
Yesterday he joined almost 450 All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus Maitland students for the language conversation and writing NAPLAN components.
“NAPLAN has really helped me and forced me to look at the areas I need to work on. For me that has been numeracy and hopefully I’ve achieved that,” John said.
Joining John is year 7 student Jaqaiar Liufalani.
“I didn’t come in with any expectations, but it wasn’t too hard and it wasn’t too easy either,” Jaqaiar, 12, said. “I didn’t feel any pressure leading up to the test, but I felt it while I was actually sitting for the test.”
The test has been widely criticised for placing too much pressure on children and teenagers and, while this can be true, All Saints College St Peter’s Campus assistant principal clerical Michael Fuller said the results were crucial for parents and educators.
“It does put stress on the students, some more so than others, but for us it’s another piece of very important data. It’s not the be all and end all, but it certainly helps us,” Mr Fuller said.
“NAPLAN is all about getting a snapshot of where the student is at this point in time.
“And this is also important for parents and teachers, so we know exactly where they’re at with their learning, so we can find out where their strengths are and the areas of concern we need to work on.
“And for some students this will be the only formal examination experience they will have before the Higher School Certificate.”
NAPLAN will continue today with reading and numeracy tomorrow.