For Teachers

Easing NAPLAN stress for kids and parents

In previous generations, kids were really only exposed to exam conditions right at the end of their primary maths education. However, these days with the advent of the NAPLAN standardised testing, children are tested from year 3 and every two years until year nine after that. If you add to that additional tests such as exams for selective schools or entry to special enrichment programs, young kids can be subjected to a lot of stress and pressure. Read on as I discuss some simple techniques to ease the burden on young kids shoulders and make everyone’s lives easier.

Probably the number one tip is a really obvious one – be prepared. It’s not rocket science, but kids that feel in control and have a deep understanding of key concepts such as fractions for primary children or decimals for primary children will naturally have less anxiety about tests than those that feel under done. Keeping up with homework tasks and integrating maths into everyday life really makes a difference to cement key ideas into the minds of young kids. If you feel they will benefit, also consider enrolling your child in additional maths tutoring.

Alternately, there are many maths tutoring resources available online such as primarymaths.com.au that provide simple and clear explanations that kids can really engage with. Primary maths also has practice assessment sections that allow your child to simulate a lot of tests in a relaxed environment without outside pressure. The more tests a child works through, the less of a “big deal” they become, thus helping them succeed in actual exam conditions.

When kids do feel stressed, the best thing you can do is to “be there” for them emotionally as they will need extra comforting to feel safe and secure. Some clear signs that you child is feeling stressed include: being more irritable, being clingy and easily upset and not getting enjoyment out of activities that they normally love. If you see these signs are related to an approaching exam, you can help by discussing problem solving techniques with them such as brainstorming certain situations that might come up in the test and devising solutions for them.