From the Deputy Head of Middle School

By the time you read this, your son or daughter will have competed in the House Cross Country. Whether they were enthusiastic or not, he or she will have participated in the afternoon with their House members, contributed points to the House competition, and be proud of their efforts. In many ways, next week’s NAPLAN tests are very similar. Whether they want to or don’t want to, all students in Years 7 and 9 will participate and share the moment with peers. They will contribute to Australia’s knowledge about student achievement in numeracy and literacy. Hopefully students will be proud of their efforts knowing that they have done their best.

Since 2008, NAPLAN (the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) has been an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN tests a variety of skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum. While the NAPLAN data provides just one small snapshot of learning, at Carey we use the data obtained through these tests in a variety of ways. Learning Areas review curriculum content to ensure that students are adequately prepared for the tests. At a year level, we look at the strengths and weaknesses of our Year 7 and 9 cohorts of students to see if we have adequate support and extension programs in place. At an individual level we look at student growth and see who has or has not made significant progress from previous years, and then implement appropriate interventions.

Of course, the accuracy and, therefore, usefulness of the data is very dependent on the students themselves. As I mentioned in Assembly last week, it is very important that all students complete the NAPLAN tests to the best of their ability. In the Middle School, we work hard at providing an environment conducive to this. We aim to minimise stress by keeping Year 7 students in their class groups and by keeping all Year 9 students together in the MGH. We ensure that all students have the opportunity to discuss the upcoming tests in English and Mathematics classes, and teachers stress that these tests focus on a small fraction of student skills and competencies that are covered in our curriculum. We ensure that the tests are run professionally, and in a supportive environment. Teachers are very aware that NAPLAN week can be a very tiring one for some students, and they plan to adapt class activities and homework expectations accordingly. The student leaders are also trying to add balance to the week and will be running Happiness Week activities during lunchtimes.

At home, NAPLAN is sure to be a topic of conversation. It is very important to avoid comparisons between siblings, and simply focus on the fact that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. It is also a great week to stress the importance of eating well, drinking lots of water, and getting to bed early. For your information, details of the Middle School test schedule are here:

Year 8 students have a very different focus for the next two weeks as they begin preparations for the Challenge and Choice Program, held at the beginning of Term 3. The dates for the Hattah camp and Human Rights Convention are set by the school after students indicate their preference for the Rural camp. Details of the Rural camps are found on CareyLink and parents have been emailed a link to the Web Preferences site. It is very important to consider family and weekend commitments when selecting your Rural camp. Please note that preferences must be entered by tomorrow (Friday 6 May), and Medical and Camp Information forms are also due tomorrow (Friday 6 May). Students will be informed of their Rural camp before the information night which is held on Wednesday 1 June.

Meredith Plaisted
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning