Updated: Jul 22, 2018
Naplan has received much press over the last couple of years and despite criticism by many professionals, it does provide parents with a snapshot of how an individual child is doing at school within the constraints of the test.
As a professional allied to the education industry through our reading and speech pathology clinic, it is possible to have a good understanding and awareness of why many of the reading problems present for our children.
Within the education system, 80% of the students will learn to read through any of the various methods that the child’s teacher may utilise. However we also know that about 20% of the students will struggle, as the teaching methodology that is so satisfactory for the 80%, is often not suitable for the other 20%. This is known as the 80/20 rule.
The very nature of a classroom with many children, forces the teachers to direct most of their teaching towards the middle of the group and neither towards the very top nor the very bottom. This can sometimes disadvantage the very children who need help the most. These children (20%) will require very specific teaching methods (dependent on their individual needs) in order to progress.
The Education system provides support to the classroom teacher by providing Learning Support departments to help these children.
Your child’s NAPLAN results can provide you with an opportunity to open a dialogue with your teacher and school about your child’s specific needs.
Many tutors, professional and private, are able to provide an excellent resource when underlying problems are minor and minimal catching up is needed, but if the problems are deeper, then the specialist reading clinic should be seriously considered.
When investigating the reading clinic, ask for evidence that shows they get the results they say. Any clinic achieving results above the average can only measure this through the use of standardized tests and the data for these tests is usually easily collated and should be available for your scrutiny.
Reading clinics also become highly specialized and efficient at diagnosing and treating specific reading challenges. When a good fit between clinic and child is found, it is reasonable to expect that obvious progress is clearly visible to the parent.
NAPLAN, embrace it and use it to help your child. It is a great opportunity and I am sure it will be found to be advantageous to our struggling students and better understood by all.
If you are concerned about your child’s reading and or spelling, call us to discuss your child’s specific difficulties (Tyquin Group 33998028). For more information see www.tyquin.com.au or www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au.