Hunter students tackling NAPLAN 2018 set eyes on end of test prize

Testing times: Year five teacher John Venegas with Mali Tinworth, Zephaniah Lucas and Ella Hill at Cooranbong. Picture: Simone De Peak
Testing times: Year five teacher John Venegas with Mali Tinworth, Zephaniah Lucas and Ella Hill at Cooranbong. Picture: Simone De Peak

AVONDALE School’s year five students have been invited to bring comforting items including stuffed toys, beanies, ugg boots and stress balls to NAPLAN tests, which start on Tuesday.

Year five teacher John Venegas will also host a small party on Friday, to reward his students for sitting the language conventions and writing tests on Tuesday, reading test on Wednesday and numeracy test on Thursday. 

“It’s a way to say thank you for trying your hardest,” Mr Venegas said.

“We’ll be saying ‘We made it, we got through it’. If we work hard, we can reward ourselves afterwards.”

Students Zephan Lucas, Mali Tinworth and Ella Hill, all 10, said they were feeling nervous about the four papers, but interested to see how they had improved since year three.

“Our teachers said ‘Don’t worry about it, you’ve done it before and you can push through it again’,” Ella said.

“My family just told me to relax and that it won’t go into my school grades, that it’s just a test,” Mali said.

Zephan said the key to success was going to bed early, eating healthily and revising the night before each test. 

Mr Venegas said the students sat 2016 versions of the four tests at the end of last term, but he had decided to forgo extra practice to focus on other parts of the curriculum that still needed to be taught and assessed.

“We try to lessen the hype and minimise conversations around NAPLAN,” he said.

“It’s an improvement tool for teachers more than anything, to see if there are programs we need to tweak or adjust.”

He said the standardised tests were at odds with student-led learning and the move towards the curriculum being more interactive, collaborative and project based.