With another New Year come new challenges, changes and opportunities. Since last year’s NAPLAN results there has been a lot of talk about what should be done to improve standards in this state. While the education system has been flailing in recent years, the government has at least been making some decisions. Here is the lowdown on one of the latest moves.

Firstly, chances are your child already sits tests on an annual basis at the school. These are more than likely PAT (Progressive Achievement Tests) designed by ACER (the Australian Council for Educational Research) and normally they are used internally for teachers to collaborate on what specific needs your child might have.

What is interesting is that from this year, the government has decided that it will administer these tests state-wide in an effort to work out why our NAPLAN results seem to be so poor in comparison to the rest of the country.

What do more tests mean for my child?

While I am not particularly convinced that the correct response to poor test results is more testing, at least this indicates the government’s concern regarding student’s core skills. What does this all mean for your child? Potentially, the more informed teachers are aware of students’ performance across key areas, the better they will be able to tailor their delivery of the curriculum content.

In reality, though, for many students it just means more testing, which also equates to more stress. Unlike NAPLAN, these tests are designed to be administered for every year level, yet because they are designed for internal use, unless you ask specifically for the results, you may never be aware of the outcome.

When you add to the points above the fact that PAT use another entirely different marking scheme to NAPLAN and this will mean more retraining for teachers, it is clear that there will be quite a few issues for the Department of Education to overcome in their administration. Whatever your point of view, it seems that testing, even at primary levels, is here to stay.

How does all this relate to tuition?

My belief is that tuition is about more than just teaching students Maths and English. Tuition should have the goals of fostering self-confidence and equipping children with skills that allow them to develop to the best of their abilities at its core. The tests above are not the type that should be specifically studied for – they are designed to test students’ ability to problem solve and apply the general concepts that have been learnt at school in a variety of contexts.

Tuition, if it is done correctly, can provide students with the skills and confidence they need to approach testing positively. While it is important to note that test results are not necessarily the end goal of any process, learning how to cope under stressful conditions does provide practice for what is to come later in life. Private tuition (and indeed schooling in general) should help prepare students for such experiences and present them in a positive learning environment.

If you have any questions about the upcoming tests, feel free to call us and book an appointment. We keep in the loop to make sure that you and your child remain educated and informed about changes that take place in the field of education.