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National Assessment Program

Literacy and Numeracy

2011 Test Reporting Handbook


Contacts

• for delivery of the: Helpdesk


– National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy: SALMAT
2011 Test Reporting Handbook Phone: (07) 3275 4690
– for reports to parents/carers Email: naplan.qld@salmat.com.au

• for enquiries about: Senior Operations Officer


– access to secure website Queensland Studies Authority
– class and school reports Phone: (07) 3864 0210
– 2011 NAPLAN Tests Fax: (07) 3221 2553
Email: NAPLAN.tests@qsa.qld.edu.au

National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy: 2011 Test Reporting Handbook

© The State of Queensland (Queensland Studies Authority) 2011

Queensland Studies Authority


154 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
PO Box 307 Spring Hill
QLD 4004 Australia
T +61 7 3864 0299
F +61 7 3221 2553
www.qsa.qld.edu.au
Contents
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Understanding and using the reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


The results of the tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Scope of the tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Student report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Class report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
School report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Checking and distributing the student reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Using the results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Test results and key messages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


Year 3 Literacy — Language conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Year 3 Literacy — Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Year 3 Numeracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Year 5 Literacy — Language conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Year 5 Literacy — Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Year 5 Numeracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Year 7 Literacy — Language conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Year 7 Literacy — Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Year 7 Numeracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Year 9 Literacy — Language conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Year 9 Literacy — Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Year 9 Numeracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Literacy — Writing test commentary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Writing task sample. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

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ii | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook
Preface
This handbook reports the performance of the 230 000 students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 who sat the 2011 National
Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. It will help teachers, principals and other school
personnel to understand, interpret and use the student performance information contained in the test reports.
Student reports are distributed with this handbook. Class and school reports are supplied electronically.
The 2011 class and school reports will be available on the secure section of the QSA website:
www.qsa.qld.edu.au/qsa.secure/QSAlogin.do.
These reports are only accessible with the school’s Brief Identification Code (BIC) login and password.

Receipt and distribution of report materials


Principals should check immediately that they have received the following materials from SALMAT:
• Test Reporting Handbook: 2011 National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy — one copy for the
principal plus one copy for each of the teachers of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 classes
• individual student reports — one copy for parents/carers.
Some additional copies of the Test Reporting Handbook are provided for support staff. Further copies can be
downloaded from the QSA website: www.qsa.qld.edu.au/8101.html.
Class and school reports will be available online until the middle of March 2012. They will be provided in two
formats: Portable Document Format (PDF) and Comma Separated Values (CSV). The PDF contains the official
results. The raw data are provided in CSV format to allow schools to organise the data for internal school purposes.
It is recommended that schools save these files to their school network for school use and future reference.
Copies of the class and school reports should be made available to class teachers.
The QSA literacy and numeracy data analysis tool, SunLANDA, is available for schools to use to analyse the NAPLAN
test data. The program has functions that allow different ways of organising and viewing information about
students and classes. SunLANDA also has links to information about each test item. It is available for download
from the QSA website: www.qsa.qld.edu/8818.html .

Queries and anomalies


It is recommended that all student, class and school reports be checked as soon as they become available. It is the
responsibility of the school to check that student details on individual reports are correct before these are given to
parents.
If any perceived errors are identified, principals should complete an Application to query student report and submit
this to the QSA by 14 October 2011. This form is available from the NAPLAN Portal on the QSA website:
www.qsa.qld.edu.
Only queries submitted on this form will be processed. Schools may be charged for reprinting reports due to
incorrect data on the student test book cover.

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4 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook
Understanding and using the reports
The results of the tests
The NAPLAN tests were developed using the nationally agreed Statements of Learning for English and Statements
of Learning for Mathematics, referred to below as the SoLs. These statements describe essential skills, knowledge,
understandings and capabilities that all young Australians should have the opportunity to learn by the end of Years
3, 5, 7 and 9.
It is important that principals and teachers note the scope of the tests and how they were scored.

Calculation of raw scores


The simplest calculation made in scoring the tests is the raw score. The raw score is the number of items answered
correctly.
All of the items for the Language conventions, Reading and Numeracy tests were marked as either correct or
incorrect. The Writing test was marked on the following 10 criteria with score points allocated as follows:
• Audience (0–6)
• Text structure (0–4)
• Ideas (0–5)
• Character/setting (0–4)
• Vocabulary (0–5)
• Cohesion (0–4)
• Paragraphing (0–3)
• Sentence structure (0–6)
• Punctuation (0–5)
• Spelling (0–6).

Construction of scale scores


Raw scores such as those described above have limited use. They enable the performance of students who have all
completed the same test at the same time to be placed in a rank order, but they do not provide information about
the level of difficulty of the test nor the relative differences between students.
Raw scores are transferred to a common scale that reflects how difficult it was to achieve each score. The scale is
comparable between year levels for a strand. An equating process is also carried out on each year’s test to enable
comparison of scores between years of testing. This might mean, for example, that a raw score of 20 on the Year 3
test for Reading is transformed to a scale score of 354. This will also represent the same achievement for a student
with that scale score in Year 5, and for a student with that scale score for Reading in the previous year. The single
scale for scale scores for all students in all year levels is centred on approximately 500.
Scale scores also provide a basis for measuring and comparing student abilities across years of schooling, e.g. a
student in Year 3 in 2009 and Year 5 in 2011.

Analysis of student performance and preparation of reports


The performance of over 1 million students from 9000 schools across Australia was analysed to produce individual
student, class and school reports. When interpreting the test results, it is important to place them in context, and
to use the information provided in this handbook with the detailed item analyses available on the SunLANDA
program.

Placing the results in context


The NAPLAN tests are national instruments designed to inform a school’s own assessment program in the teaching
and learning cycle. The results from the 2011 NAPLAN tests contribute only one aspect of a school’s assessment
program.

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Principals and teachers should situate the test results within the context of the existing school assessment data,
which are gathered through a balanced range of assessment techniques such as:
• observation
• focused analysis
• consultation
• workshops
• other forms of assessment.
The results from a school’s formal and informal assessment of students should be consistent with the NAPLAN test
results. Principals and teachers should keep in mind that these were pencil-and-paper, point-in-time, timed tests.
If the test results are different from what was expected, consider why differences may have occurred. The results of
the tests may indicate some aspects of student performance that may need further investigation within the
classroom using other forms of assessment.
The incorrect responses given by students are included on class reports. An analysis of students’ incorrect
responses can provide teachers with insights into students’ literacy and numeracy understandings. An analysis of
the distracters presented in multiple-choice questions and the most common incorrect responses given to
constructed-response questions is available via the SunLANDA data analysis tool on the QSA website and may help
schools with their analysis of class and school results along with other school-based assessments.

Scope of the tests


The NAPLAN tests were developed to measure a range of student abilities in literacy and numeracy across the
nation.
Assessment of all students across Australia at a particular point in time allows the generation of comparable
student performance information. The test data are used to report aggregated information about student
achievement. This provides an important measure of how Australian students are performing in content strands of
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation, Writing, Reading and Numeracy.
There are three tests in Literacy:
• Language conventions — spelling, grammar and punctuation
• Writing
• Reading.
There are no oral components to these tests. None of the items may be read to the students and discussion of the
Writing test stimulus is not permitted.
The Language conventions test incorporates spelling, grammar (including English usage) and punctuation.
Students’ spelling scores are calculated from their performance on the proofreading in the Language conventions
test. The proofreading items require students to recognise misspelling. The grammar items require students to
answer questions that relate to things such as subject–verb agreement, tense and grammatical function. The
punctuation items require students to recognise correct punctuation or to accurately insert punctuation.
The Writing test requires a response to a given stimulus. Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge
and control of written language. Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 all have the same Writing test stimulus and are
required to write their response in a maximum of three pages.
The Reading test is organised in units with items based on a stimulus text contained in a colour magazine. Test
items require students to answer multiple-choice questions, sequence options or write an answer.
The Numeracy tests contain questions from the four numeracy strands:
• Number
• Algebra, function and pattern
• Space
• Measurement, chance and data.
Students in Years 3 and 5 complete one Numeracy test only. Questions from the Algebra, function and pattern
strand for these year levels include no formal algebra. Students do not use a calculator to answer questions.
Students in Years 7 and 9 complete two Numeracy tests. In the first test, Numeracy (Calculator Allowed), students
are able to use a calculator (although it will not be necessary for all items). They are permitted to use the calculator
that they currently use at school or with which they are most familiar. In the second test, Numeracy (Non-
Calculator), students are not permitted to use a calculator.

6 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Test response formats
Two response formats are used in both the literacy and numeracy tests: multiple-choice and constructed-response.
Icons are used to show students the types of responses required, for example:
• Multiple-choice items require students to shade a bubble or, in some instances, two bubbles.
• Constructed-response items require students to write their responses:
– in the box or boxes provided
– on lines
– by sequencing numbers in boxes.

Range of difficulties
Because these are range tests, it is not intended that all students will answer all questions correctly. The tests
include items that are intended to test a range of student abilities in a year level. Some items are very easy and
others are quite challenging.

Link questions
Link questions are those items that appear on two tests, e.g. Year 3 and Year 5. These questions provide a way of
placing test questions on a common scale so comparisons between the performances of the year levels can be
made.

Language conventions test — Spelling


Spelling is tested as proofreading. In that context, students have to deal with two different item types. The first is
where the error is identified for the student to correct and the second is where students have to identify and then
correct the error.
When answering items, students need to:
• read the contextual sentence carefully to work out the incorrectly spelt word
• correct the spelling of the circled word without reproducing the error
• know that sometimes more than one error is introduced into a word.
The top five error patterns for error-identified items show that some students reproduce the error in the identified
target word. Where there are two errors in the target word, students typically correct the error that they know they
are likely to make but fail to check whether a second error has been introduced.
The Spelling strand tests knowledge of some aspects of the English spelling system.

Two dimensions of spelling

Expression Recognition

Production Generation Proofreading


What students do when they What students can do when
focus all their cognitive they produce spelling
resources on spelling, automatically, own spelling, others’
e.g. in tests, discussions e.g. in writing e.g. in writing writing

Figure 1: Dimensions of spelling

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Spelling has two dimensions. The first is the expressive dimension that students engage in when they write words.
The second is the recognition dimension, i.e. the knowledge used when students decode and study words during
reading and proofreading. The Language conventions test focuses on this second recognition dimension. In
English spelling the letters code differently at different levels. Letters can directly map the sound of language. They
can symbolise the function of words. e.g verbs, nouns , adjectives. At another level, letter patterns can code the
meaning links between words as well as their history. To become mature and independent spellers, students need
to develop:
• phonological knowledge, i.e. sounds and the letter patterns that represent them
• word-function knowledge, i.e. how affixes are added to words to make them function as nouns, verbs,
adjectives or adverbs
• meaning knowledge, i.e. how words that share the same elements of meaning will be spelt with the same
pattern, e.g. hear, heard but not herd
• etymological knowledge, i.e. how the origins of words have shaped their spelling patterns.
Students master these different aspects of the English spelling system in a developmental sequence of stages. So
that teachers can match their teaching focus with the learning needs of their students, researchers have described
these stages as follows:
• letter-name stage — students learn how sounds are represented by letters
• within-word pattern stage — students develop their understanding of the internal patterns of words,
particularly the nuances of sound and how the letter patterns represent them
• syllable-juncture stage — students develop their knowledge of how sounds behave in polysyllabic words, what
happens at the syllable juncture, the nature of the different syllable patterns and the conventions for adding
affixes
• derivational pattern stage — students develop their understanding of the connection between meaning and
spelling that will help them to process more complex spelling efficiently.
The spelling items on this test have been constructed to assess knowledge and control of letter patterns
characteristic of each of these levels of coding and stages of spelling acquisition. As only proofreading item
formats are used, the test applies to the reading or recognition element of spelling only.
The top five error patterns are provided to schools in SunLANDA. This allows teachers to make judgments about the
spelling abilities of their own students. Teachers may also like to test the target words as dictation and compare
the errors made by their students away from the proofreading format of the test.

References
Bear, DR, Invernizzi, M, Templeton, S & Johnston, F 2000, Words Their Way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary and
spelling instruction, 2nd edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River NJ.
Ganske, K 2000, Word Journeys: Assessment-guided phonics, spelling and vocabulary instruction, The Guilford
Press, New York.
Ganske, K 2008, Mindful of Words: Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations 4–8, The Guilford Press, New York.
Graves, MF 2006, The Vocabulary Book: Learning and instruction, Teachers College Press, New York — for
information and teaching ideas about the link between spelling and word building.
Templeton, S, Bear DR, Invernizzi, M & Johnston, F 2010, Vocabulary Their Way: Word Study with Middle and
Secondary Students, Pearson, Boston.
Years 3, 5 and 7 Literacy Test: A framework for describing spelling items, www.qsa.qld.edu.au
Young, K 2007, Developmental stage theory of spelling: Analysis of consistency across four spelling-related
activities, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 30 (3), 203–220.

Language conventions test — Grammar and punctuation


Grammar is a shared way of describing how the language works. The grammar questions explore students’
understandings about the way words combine in phrases, clauses and sentences to create meaning (syntax). It
explores their understanding about the form and function of words. A knowledge of grammar helps readers and
writers to identify and discuss textual features, such as the subject matter of a clause (i.e. who does what to
whom), the relationships between clauses, the relative importance of ideas and the function of words.

8 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Punctuation, a feature of written language, is a system of print symbols used to show the boundaries between
grammatical and semantic units.
At the sentence level, the punctuation shows: At the word level, the punctuation shows:
• sentence boundaries • proper nouns
• grammatical mood of sentences • possession
• boundaries of phrases and clauses • omission.
• direct speech.

Reading test
The reading items ask students to read and construct meaning from a range of texts. The items require students to
complete a broad range of comprehension activities involving different levels of thinking, and focusing on different
aspects of the texts. The stimulus materials are categorised as supporting broad reading purposes — to acquire,
evaluate and use information about the world, to learn about the world through literary experience, and to
evaluate texts.
The questioning used to frame test items must move beyond the literal to the higher-order thinking necessary for
effective comprehension and learning. Adapted from Sanders’ (1966), a framework is provided to describe the
relationship among the levels of comprehension, the question types and strategic behaviours readers might be
expected to use.

Comprehension Question type The reader is asked to:

Literal Recall recognise or recall information.

change information into a different form.


Translation This it might involve paraphrasing the ideas or restating them in
terms or forms other than those in the text.

Inferential
use text-based information to identify the relationships among
• text based ideas, definitions, facts and values. These would involve such
inferences relationships as comparisons, cause and effect.
Interpretation
• text to context
combine text-based information with contextual information that
based
the author assumes a reader already has.
inferences

solve real-life problems by extrapolating what is in the text.


Higher-order
Application Readers/learners need to combine ideas from the text with prior
inferential
knowledge.

analyse and judge the quality of the logic inherent in the text.>
Logical analysis Readers/learners might, for example identify fallacies or particular
points of view represented in a text.

Critical/creative Synthesis respond to a problem or idea with original and creative thinking.

Writing test
Students in all four Year levels (3, 5, 7 and 9) are given a prompt (stimulus page) containing a topic and
instructions. They are asked to write a maximum of three pages “on demand” in response. Their teachers also read
the prompt aloud. Students have five minutes to plan independently, 30 minutes to write, and five minutes to edit
and complete the task. The prompt instructs students to create a specific text structure, with an introduction, body
and conclusion.

Numeracy test
The Numeracy tests are designed to assess students’ conceptual understandings and thinking and reasoning
abilities in the four strands of numeracy.
Number — questions relate to whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, money,
ratio and proportion, and percentage.

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Algebra, function and pattern — questions related to items about expressions, equivalence and equations, and
functions, relations and patterns. Algebra questions were limited to the expectations listed in the SoLs for
Mathematics.
Space — questions related to geometric terms and properties to do with 2D and 3D shapes and objects,
visualisation and the interpretation of language associated with location and movement, direction and angles.
Measurement, chance and data— questions covering the measurement attributes of time, length, mass, area,
volume and angles, the language of chance and the quantifying of probability (Years 7 and 9) and assessing
students’ abilities to interpret and analyse tables and graphs and to summarise statistics (e.g. calculate a mean).
Students are not provided with any measurement equipment, although representations of some measurement
tools (e.g. a ruler) may appear as part of the stimulus for some questions.
When analysing the performance of individual students and classes in these tests, teachers must remember that
they are pencil-and-paper, point-in-time, timed tests. The mathematical content covered in the numeracy test
includes only that what can be assessed in this way, representing only a slice of the curriculum.

Literacy demands
The literacy demands of the test should not exclude a student from accessing the Numeracy tests. It is permitted
that test administrators may read Numeracy questions to students who request assistance, or for groups of
students whose literacy standard may be a barrier to access. In these instances, the test questions can be read by
test administrators but teachers are not permitted to read any numbers or symbols to students or to interpret
diagrams or questions in any way.
Because these tests are a test of Numeracy, many of the items are set in a real-word context. While contexts may be
simplified to accommodate reading and time constraints, they may still present an additional challenge to some
students.
Students need experience in reading and using the language used in test items. This includes mathematical
language, e.g. number sentence, mean, prism and equation. It also includes words and phrases that have a
particular meaning in a mathematical context, e.g. difference, sum, altogether, product and rate. There is a danger,
however, in telling students that certain words relate to specific operations, e.g. more can mean either add or
subtract and altogether can require students to either add or multiply.

Information graphics
Information graphics — diagrams, tables, graphs, maps and plans — are used to convey quantitative, ordinal and
nominal information, and to represent mathematical relationships.
A student’s ability to decode the mathematical data presented in the graphics used in the test items will influence
their ability to complete a question. Students need to be provided with opportunities to decode a range of
information graphics. Activities should include explaining the content of a graphic, posing questions related to the
information presented, and re-presenting the information in a different format.

Use of calculators
Items on the Calculator Allowed test fall into the following categories:
• calculator inactive — where it is believed that access to a calculator would have no effect on the difficulty of the
item or how the student approaches the item, e.g. space items
• neutral calculator allowed — where it is believed that the skills tested in the item are better tested if the student
has access to a calculator even though they may choose not to make use of it
• calculator active — where it is expected that most students will use a calculator to attempt the question.
The type of calculator to which a student has access influences the quality of their responses. A student using a
scientific calculator with functions such as order of operations, scientific notation, constants (e.g. pi, exponential
functions, roots beyond square roots) has an advantage over a student using a simple four- or five-function
calculator.
From the responses given on the Calculator Allowed tests, it seems that a number of students did not access a
calculator to select answers to questions or they did not check their answers for reasonableness.

References
Booker, Bond, Sparrow, Swan (2010). Teaching primary mathematics 4th edition, Pearsons Australia, Sydney.
Curriculum Corporation (2006). Statement of Learning for Mathematics, Curriculum Corporation, Carlton Vic.

10 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Student report
The student report presents individual student results for parents/carers. One copy of the report is provided for
each student for distribution to parents/carers.
If a student has transferred to another school, the report should be forwarded to the new school for distribution to
parents/carers. If the original school is unsure of the student’s new school, the report should be retained at the
school.

Contents of the student report


The report provides a summary of the skills and understandings that were assessed and shows:
• the student’s results for each assessment area on an achievement scale marked in bands
• the national average for each of the assessment areas
• whether a student’s achievements fall within the middle 60% of the year level cohort or whether they are at a
higher or lower range.
Pages 1 and 4 of the student report are illustrated on the next few pages. The first page contains a brief
explanation of NAPLAN and how to read the report. The matrix on the fourth page provides a summary of the skills
and understandings assessed in this year’s tests.
The graphs on the second and third pages of the report show the student performance in Reading, Writing,
Language conventions and Numeracy. Numeracy results in Years 7 and 9 are reported on a single scale. The
description below each graph summarises the skills and understandings assessed.
The results across Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are reported on an achievement scale from Band 1 to Band 10. This scale
represents increasing levels of skills and understandings demonstrated in the assessments. The results for the
year levels are reported in the following bands:
• Year 3 — Bands 1 to 6 (Band 2 represents the national minimum standard)
• Year 5 — Bands 3 to 8 (Band 4 represents the national minimum standard)
• Year 7 — Bands 4 to 9 (Band 5 represents the national minimum standard)
• Year 9 — Bands 5 to 10 (Band 6 represents the national minimum standard).

Student participation
All students are expected to participate in NAPLAN tests. Their participation is recorded in bubbles on the front
covers of the test booklets. National test results are based on the number of assessed students. Assessed
students include students who attempt the test and are not otherwise treated as absent due to abandonment, as a
result of illness or injury. Students exempt from testing are also included with assessed students. The following
table shows student participation categories and the corresponding statements that will appear on the student’s
individual report.

Student participation Text shown on the student report

absent Your child was absent from this test and no result has been recorded.

absent for one of the Your child was absent from one of the two Numeracy tests. The result
Numeracy tests in Years 7 and presented here is an estimate of the score your child would have received if
9 both tests had been completed.

exempt Your child was exempt from this test and is considered not to have achieved
the national minimum standard.

parent withdrawn Your child was withdrawn from this test.

abandoned this test Your child did not complete the test due to illness or injury.
Students who are present for the entire test session but do not complete any part of the test will be counted as
assessed and receive a score of zero. The text that will appear on the student report will read Your child was
present for this test but did not complete any part of the test paper. Further information on student participation
cohorts can be found in the 2011 National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy — Handbook for
Principals.

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Sample student report — Literacy

Student Report 2011


Summary of skills assessed Student Report 2011
The skills described in the following table represent those typically assessed in NAPLAN tests for Year 7 students. National Assessment Program
These skills increase in difficulty from the lowest to the highest band. A student achieving a result in a particular band
is likely to have correctly answered questions involving skills in that band and in each band below it. — Literacy and Numeracy
Reading Persuasive Writing Language Conventions Numeracy
Band Processes and interprets ideas Incorporates elaborated ideas ,GHQWL¿HVHUURUVDQGFRUUHFWO\ Solves multi-step problems.
that are implicit in a range of WKDWUHÀHFWDZRUOGZLGHYLHZ VSHOOVZRUGVZLWKGLI¿FXOWVSHOOLQJ Calculates rates. Uses proportional This report shows the results for
complex narrative and information on the topic. Makes consistently patterns (miniature, severely, reasoning. Divides decimals that
How to read the student report
texts. Analyses and evaluates precise word choices that engage technological, label). have different numbers of decimal
evidence in persuasive texts and persuade the reader and Demonstrates knowledge of places. Calculates an elapsed time
DQGLGHQWL¿HVODQJXDJHIHDWXUHV enhance the writer’s point of view. given a table of values. Finds an
Year 7

Year 7
grammar and punctuation A student’s result is shown on an achievement scale for
9 to infer an author’s intended Punctuates sentence beginnings conventions in more complex angle needed to solve a problem
purpose and audience. and endings correctly and uses involving direction. Calculates each assessment area.
texts, such as the correct use of
other complex punctuation possessive pronouns (its). the maximum possible area of a
correctly most of the time. Shows quadrilateral given its perimeter. Results across the Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 literacy and numeracy
control and variety in paragraph Interprets position and uses assessments are reported on a scale from Band 1 to Band 10.
construction to pace and direct LQIRUPDOVFDOHWR¿QGDGLVWDQFH
the reader’s attention. on a grid. The achievement scale represents increasing levels of skills
Interprets ideas and processes Writes a cohesive text that ,GHQWL¿HVHUURUVDQGFRUUHFWO\ Solves multi-step problems. The National Assessment Program and understandings demonstrated in the assessments.
information in a range of begins to engage and persuade VSHOOVPRVWZRUGVZLWKGLI¿FXOW Calculates common percentages.
complex texts. Understands how the reader. Makes deliberate spelling patterns (echoes, principle, ,GHQWL¿HVHTXLYDOHQWQXPHULFDO — Literacy and Numeracy Results for Year 7 are reported across the range of Band 4
characters’ traits and behaviours and appropriate word choices angrily, encouraged). expressions using the rule to Band 9, with Band 5 representing the national minimum
are used to develop stereotypes. to create a rational or emotional Demonstrates knowledge of of order. Matches equivalent
8 Analyses and interprets response. Attempts to reveal representations of a common In May 2011, national literacy and numeracy assessments standard for this year level.
grammar and punctuation
SHUVXDVLYHWH[WVWRLQIHUDVSHFL¿F attitudes and values and to conventions in more complex texts, fraction. Converts units of time. were administered to students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9
purpose and audience. Uses the develop a relationship with the such as appropriate sentence ,GHQWL¿HVD'VKDSHIURPLWV The national average and the range of achievement for Year 7
context to interpret vocabulary reader. Constructs most complex DWWULEXWHV,GHQWL¿HVDQGDSSOLHVD throughout Australia.
structure, the correct use of students are also shown on the scale.
VSHFL¿FWRDWH[WRUWRSLF sentences correctly. Spells most pronouns, pairs of conjunctions rule to continue a spatial pattern.
ZRUGVLQFOXGLQJPDQ\GLI¿FXOW (neither, nor), forms of adverbs
This report shows your child’s achievement in those Your child’s results are shown on the inside pages of this report.
words, correctly. (more deeply), complex verb forms assessments.
and quotation marks for effect.
Applies knowledge and Writes a persuasive text with ,GHQWL¿HVHUURUVDQGFRUUHFWO\ Selects the correct operation to The information contained in this report should be considered
understanding of different text a developed introduction, an spells words with common interpret and solve multi-step together with school-based assessments and reports. If a student’s result is here,
types to process ideas, draw elaborated body and a clear spelling patterns and some words problems. Calculates simple rates. it means the result is well
conclusions and infer themes and conclusion. Develops plausible ZLWKGLI¿FXOWVSHOOLQJSDWWHUQV Compares and orders decimals above the expected level
SXUSRVH,GHQWL¿HVGHWDLOVWKDW arguments through use of (temporary, ineffective, excellent, with up to three decimal places and Literacy Assessment of achievement for Year 7
connect implied ideas across and logic, language choices and circulated). adds and subtracts decimals. Uses
students.
within texts including character effective persuasive devices. Demonstrates knowledge of data in frequency tables to solve The literacy assessment tasks measured student Band 9
motivation in narrative texts, the Joins and orders ideas using grammar and punctuation multi-step problems. Calculates the
7 values of a writer in persuasive connecting words and maintains mean of a set of numbers. Orders achievement in reading, persuasive writing and language
conventions in more complex
texts and the main ideas in clear meaning through the text. texts, such as the correct use of the size of internal angles in a conventions.
information texts. Correctly spells most common compound verbs (could have), quadrilateral.
ZRUGVDQGVRPHGLI¿FXOWZRUGV apostrophes for possession
including words with less Reading
(nobody’s) and quotation marks for
common spelling patterns and speech. Students were required to read a range of texts similar to
silent letters. Band 8
those used in Year 7 classrooms and answer questions of
Makes meaning from a range of Organises a persuasive text using ,GHQWL¿HVHUURUVDQGFRUUHFWO\ Applies suitable strategies,
The dot shows an individual
WH[WW\SHVRILQFUHDVLQJGLI¿FXOW\ focused paragraphs. Uses some spells most words with common including reasoning, to solve varying difficulty to show their understanding of the material.
student’s result.
and understands different text effective persuasive devices spelling patterns (soldiers, problems. Calculates time using
structures. Recognises the and accurate words or groups of address, meant, activity). addition and subtraction. Interprets Persuasive Writing
purpose of general text features words when developing points of Demonstrates knowledge of metric units to solve measurement
such as titles and subheadings. argument and ideas. Punctuates grammar and punctuation SUREOHPV,GHQWL¿HVWKHUXOHRID Students were directed to write in response to stimulus
Makes inferences by connecting nearly all sentences correctly with conventions in more complex number pattern. Recognises a Band 7
ideas across different parts capitals, full stops, exclamation net of a pyramid. Finds the value material. This writing task required students to generate and
6 texts, such as appropriate and
RIWH[WVLQWHUSUHWV¿JXUDWLYH marks and question marks. clear sentence structure, and the of an unknown in a pair of simple organise ideas and demonstrate their skills in vocabulary
ODQJXDJHDQGLGHQWL¿HVWKHPDLQ Correctly uses more complex correct use of varied conjunctions equations. Interprets simple line
difference between characters in punctuation marks some of the (whether). JUDSKV,GHQWL¿HVDGHVLJQZLWKWZR use, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation.
narrative texts. time. lines of symmetry. Calculates the The triangle shows the
perimeter of 2D shapes. Language Conventions national average for Year 7
students.
Uses clearly stated information in Structures a persuasive text to ,GHQWL¿HVHUURUVDQGFRUUHFWO\VSHOOV Applies a small range of Students were required to identify and correct spelling
familiar text types to draw some include an introduction and a one- and two-syllable words with strategies to solve problems. Band 6
Ba
conclusions and inferences. body containing some related common spelling patterns (grown, Calculates money amounts errors and answer multiple-choice questions on aspects of
Draws conclusions about a points of argument. Includes drafting, message). using multiplication and division. grammar and punctuation.
character in narrative texts. enough supporting detail for Recognises grammar and Calculates the missing value in a The lightly shaded area shows
Connects and sequences ideas the writer’s point of view to be punctuation conventions in decimal multiplication equation. the range of achievement
in longer information texts and
LGHQWL¿HVRSLQLRQVLQSHUVXDVLYH
easily understood by the reader,
although the conclusion may
standard sentences and speech, Estimates the size of an angle.
Finds the chance of a simple
Numeracy Assessment for the middle 60% of Year 7
5 such as the correct use of verb students in Australia.
texts. be weak or simple. Correctly event occurring. Uses knowledge
structures most simple and
forms, synonyms, connecting
of factors to solve problems.
The two numeracy assessment tasks measured student Band 5
words (however), brackets and
compound sentences and some apostrophes for contractions (he’s). Compares and orders decimals achievement across number; algebra, function and pattern;
complex sentences. with two decimal places.
measurement, chance and data; and space. Questions
Locates clearly stated information Writes a persuasive text in ,GHQWL¿HVHUURUVDQGFRUUHFWO\VSHOOV Calculates the difference between required students to apply mathematical knowledge, skills
in factual and narrative texts which paragraphs are used to some one- and two-syllable words WZRGLJLWQXPEHUV,GHQWL¿HV and understandings in a variety of contexts. Year 7 students with results in
to connect ideas and make group like ideas and persuasive with common spelling patterns. division as the inverse of Band 4 are below the national
LQIHUHQFHV,GHQWL¿HVWKHPHDQLQJ devices are used to attempt to Recognises grammar and multiplication. Interprets a simple Band 4 minimum standard.
of some unfamiliar words from convince a reader. Correctly punctuation conventions in standard column graph. Recognises a
WKHLUFRQWH[WDQG¿QGVNH\ punctuates some sentences sentences and speech, such as V\PPHWULFDOVKDSH,GHQWL¿HVD
4 information in longer texts with both capital letters and full consistency within sentences, VSHFL¿F'REMHFWIURPDGLDJUDP
including tables and diagrams. stops. May demonstrate correct the correct use of verb forms and
use of capitals for names and appropriate order of phrases.
some other punctuation. Correctly
spells most common words.

Student Report 2011 Student Report 2011

Range of achievement for the middle Range of achievement for the middle
KEY Individual student result National average
60% of Year 7 students in Australia KEY Individual student result National average
60% of Year 7 students in Australia

Reading Persuasive Writing Language Conventions Numeracy


Spelling Grammar &
Punctuation
Year 7

Band 9 Band 9 Band 9 Band 9


Year 7
Band 8 Band 8 Band 8 Band 8

Band 7 Band 7 Band 7 Band 7

Band 6 Band 6 Band 6 Band 6

Band 5 Band 5 Band 5 Band 5

Band 4 Band 4 Band 4 Band 4

Students read a range of factual and non-factual texts of Students wrote a persuasive text and were assessed on aspects Students were assessed on aspects of spelling, grammar and Students were assessed on aspects of numeracy. They were
increasing length and complexity. Students were assessed on that included: punctuation. Tasks included: allowed to use a calculator for part of the assessment. Tasks
aspects of reading that included: ‡ supporting the reader and understanding the purpose of their ‡ correctly spelling multi-syllable words with common and included:
‡ finding information that is clearly stated or inferred writing difficult spelling patterns ‡ solving problems using multiple operations
‡ connecting, interpreting and evaluating ideas in a text ‡ structuring a persuasive text, developing ideas and points of ‡ identifying errors and then correctly spelling words with ‡ solving problems involving decimals, fractions and
percentages
‡ interpreting a character’s attitudes and behaviours argument, and making effective word choices common and difficult spelling patterns
‡ identifying examples of correct grammar usage ‡ solving rate problems involving distance or time
‡ understanding the relationship between events in a text ‡ using the conventions of written language such as grammar,
‡ using equations to solve problems
‡ recognising techniques intended to influence a reader punctuation, spelling and paragraphs. ‡ recognising the correct use of a range of punctuation,
‡ interpreting data in two-way tables and graphs
‡ identifying the main purpose of a text, paragraph, diagram or including some less frequently used.
‡ recognising attributes of 2D shapes and 3D objects and
picture. calculating length, area or volume
‡ calculating and comparing angle size.

12 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Class report
Class reports are available on the secure section of the QSA website:
www.qsa.qld.edu.au/qsa.secure/QSAlogin.do.
Access is available only until the middle of March 2012.
The class reports give the following information for each test item:
• a summary of each student’s response to each item
• the performance of the class as a whole
• the performance of boys
• the performance of girls
• the performance of the state cohort.
For each student, the reports give a scale score for each assessment area. (Note: There is a single scale score for
Numeracy.)
The achievement band for each student for the assessment area is also shown.
For each item, the class reports enable comparison of:
• the overall performance of the class and state cohort
• boys and girls within the class
• groups and the state cohort.
Report files are provided on the QSA’s secure website in two formats: Portable Document Format (PDF) and Comma
Separated Values (CSV). The PDF contains the official results. The raw data are provided in CSV format to allow
schools to organise the data for internal school purposes and to populate the QSA data analysis tool, SunLANDA,
which is available for download from the QSA website: www.qsa.qld.edu.au.
It is recommended that schools download and save these files to the school network. Copies of the reports should
be made available to class teachers and the files kept for future reference.
Samples of the class reports are provided on the following pages.

SunLANDA
Schools can use the QSA’s literacy and numeracy data analysis tool, SunLANDA, to analyse the data from their
students’ performances on the NAPLAN tests. The program has been designed to be used by classroom teachers
and school administrators.
Once the school data (CSV) files are imported into the SunLANDA program, users can organise and view the
information about students and classes in different ways. Teachers will be able to easily see, for example,
patterns in students’ incorrect responses that will help them focus their teaching. In addition, teachers of different
subjects can create class lists to assess the literacy and numeracy needs of their students, or class teachers can
create subsets of students within their own class for a closer examination of particular questions or students.
SunLANDA also has links to an analysis of each test item.
The information provided includes:
• a detailed description of the item beyond the item descriptions in this handbook
• the strand of Literacy or Numeracy from which the item was developed
• the skills or processes involved in responding to the question
• references to the National Statements of Learning and the Australian Curriculum
• explanations of the answers selected or given by students
• teaching ideas to support the development of the knowledge, skills and understandings required by the test
item.
A copy of the 2011 specification files for SunLANDA can be downloaded from the QSA’s secure website.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 13


Sample class report — Literacy

Sample class report — Numeracy

14 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


School report
The school reports contain a school summary and show trends in student performance on the tests. The reports
give performance information for:
• the whole school
• boys
• girls
• students from a language background other than English (LBOTE)
• students from an Indigenous background.
They also include:
• school means
• state means
• distribution of students across the achievement bands for the school and the state
• the percentage of exempt students.
The school reports contain results for each of the assessments for each year level for the whole school.
The shaded band represents the results of the middle 60% of students. By examining the distribution of student
results achieved by each group, indications of strengths or weaknesses may be identified.
School reports are available on the secure section of the QSA website until the middle of March 2012.
It is recommended that schools download and save copies of school and class reports to the school network for
school use and future reference. The reports should be made available to class teachers.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 15


Checking and distributing the student reports
The accuracy of all data on student reports should be checked as soon as possible and before distribution to
parents/carers.

Checking procedure
1. Access the secure section of the QSA website for class and school reports.
2. Check class data to ensure that all students’ names are included and correct.
3. Check the participation status (e.g. absent, exempt) of students for accuracy.
4. Make sure that a report has been received for each student. Reports are not provided for students who were
exempt or withdrawn from all tests.
5. Check that the information on each report is correct — student name, school name, participation status, e.g.
absent, exempt.
6. Contact the QSA about perceived errors by 14 October 2011.
7. Send the student reports to parents/carers as soon as practicable after checking. (Note: Do not distribute any
report that contains a perceived error.)
It is important that teachers are familiar with the reports so they can discuss the results with parents/carers and
respond to questions about each student’s performance.
If any perceived errors are identified, principals should complete an Application to query student report by
14 October 2011. This form is available from the NAPLAN section of the QSA website for electronic submission. If a
school notifies the QSA of perceived errors within the designated timelines, every effort will be made to amend
reports, where required, before the end of the school year.

Confidentiality of data and reports


It is important that principals and teachers are aware of the confidentiality and security regarding student, class
and school test data. Such information should be stored securely so that only those who have a legitimate need to
access it can do so. Principals and teachers must consider:
• confidentiality of data and test results when reporting performance information (written or oral)
• confidentiality of student identity, unless the information about performance is being conveyed to authorised
people, such as a student’s parents/carers or support staff, or when aggregated data in the form of group, class
or school averages are being used.

Key messages for parents/carers


When the reports are distributed to parents/carers, it may be helpful to discuss other aspects of the testing
program such as:
• The student report forms only part of the total picture of student achievement.
• The tests contain items of varying difficulty to cover a broad range of student abilities. There are some items
that most students answered correctly and there are some items that only a few students answered correctly.
• The results of the tests provide information that enables parents/carers and teachers to discuss the strengths
and weaknesses of the student’s performances and provide an overall level of achievement.
• The tests are written with reference to the national Statements of Learning for English and the Statements of
Learning for Mathematics.
• Only some aspects of Literacy (Language conventions, Writing and Reading) and Numeracy (Algebra, function
and pattern; Measurement, chance and data; Number; and Space) are assessed.
• The tests are pencil-and-paper tests and many of the items are multiple choice.
• A student’s writing result is based on first-draft writing.
• The tests complement school assessments of Literacy and Numeracy.
• The information about each student’s performances is confidential and is known only to the parents/carers, the
teacher and the school.
• The student’s performances can be compared with the national minimum standard for that cohort.
This information could be provided in school newsletters, at parent–teacher nights or interviews.

16 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Using the results
Data analysis
The SunLANDA program, a data analysis tool developed by the QSA, is available for schools to use to analyse the
data from their students’ performances on the NAPLAN tests. The program also has links to an analysis of each
test item. The program is available for download from the NAPLAN Portal on the QSA website www.qsa.qld.edu.au.

Using the marking keys and item descriptions


The following materials are presented in this handbook for use with class reports:
• language conventions, reading and numeracy items — a description of each question, the correct answer and
the percentage of the state and national cohort who answered correctly
• writing test — marking key with criteria and standards. An explanation of the rubric and the mark points
allocated for each of the 10 criteria are included.

Using test results for individual students


The results for individual students can be used to:
• indicate strengths and weaknesses
• indicate areas where more information may be needed
• compare the student’s performance to a similar group of students or to the rest of the cohort.
If a student’s test results differ significantly from assessment information collected by the school, the teacher
should investigate the differences. The results of the tests may indicate some aspects that may need further
investigation within the classroom.

Using test results for groups of students


Principals and teachers should take care when making comparisons between small groups of students. Any
differences may not be reliable, particularly if the differences are small.

Using test results for school planning


Detailed below is an approach that shows how the test results could be used for planning individual student, class
and school programs.

Step 1: Examine reports and study results


Examine copies of the stimulus materials, test items and marking keys. Examine the class and school reports to
gain an overview of student achievement.
Consider the patterns of student performance:
• Are there anomalies?
• Are there results that stand out from the norm?
• Are there patterns in the results that indicate a need for action?
• Are there individuals or groups of students who need extra support?
Confirm information from the tests with other information about student achievement:
• Does it fit with information gathered from other sources, such as teacher observation and student folios?

Step 2: Consider factors that could influence the results


Consider the following factors that could influence results:
• timing of the tests
• alignment of the concepts tested with current curriculum and school programs
• diversity of students including language background
• teaching strategies
• attendance rates
• expectations of teachers and parents/carers.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 17


Step 3: Link to school program
Examine the item descriptions and error patterns and identify links to the school’s teaching and learning programs
where:
• current practice is producing encouraging results
• specific teaching and learning is needed
• extra teaching and learning is needed.

Step 4: Plan for action


Develop and implement an action that:
• maintains areas of strength
• strengthens areas of weakness.

Step 5: Consider wider implications


Discuss implications for:
• evaluation of class and school programs in Literacy and Numeracy
• school planning and development
• professional development needs of staff
• strategies for providing additional support
• allocation of resources
• using the results about student progress to provide continuity from year to year.

18 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Test results and key messages
Year 3 Literacy — Language conventions
Spelling — item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the spelling component of the Year 3 Language conventions test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Proofreading — error identified

hose Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the voiced consonant


1 72.3 76.4
(hoze) -s = z.

feet Correctly spells a one-syllable homophone with the long vowel


2 78 81.6
(feat) digraph -ee.

won Correctly spells a one-syllable homophone with the short


3 58.1 65.8
(wun) vowel -o.

mail Correctly spells a one-syllable homophone with the digraph


4 53.6 60.5
(male) -ai.
might
5 41.4 48.9 Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the phonogram -igh.
(mite)

locked Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the inflectional


6 53.5 56.6
(lockt) ending -ed added to a word that does not require a change.

building Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the short vowel


7 28.5 33.7
(bilding) digraph -ui.

ignored Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the inflectional


8 26.5 32.2
(ignord) ending -d.

choice Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the final soft


9 19.4 24.1
(choise) consonant -c(e.)

sword
10 15.9 22.8 Correctly spells a one-syllable word with a silent consonant -w.
(sord)

Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the primary suffix -ful


carefully
11 18.2 22.6 and the secondary suffix -ly requiring no change to the base
(carefly)
word.

wrap Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the initial silent


12 16.6 20.3
(rap) consonant w.

Proofreading — error not identified

out Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-syllable word


13 77.9 83.6
(owt) with the diphthong -ou.

clear Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-syllable word


14 59.3 66.6
(cleer) with the phonogram -ear.

spill Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-syllable word


15 47.9 54.6
(spil) with the final double consonant -ll.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 19


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
brick Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-syllable word
16 51.1 59.1
(brik) with the consonant digraph -ck.

pleasing Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word


17 45.9 52.6
(pleesing) with the long vowel digraph -ea.

nicely Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word


18 28.2 36.3
(nicley) with the suffix -ly, requiring no change to the base word.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word


benches
19 43.8 51.8 with the inflectional ending -es, requiring no change to the
(benchs)
base word.

hungry Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word


20 38.5 48.4
(huggry) with the nasal consonant -n at the syllable juncture.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word


chatting
21 36 41.2 with the inflectional ending -ing requiring a change to the
(chating)
base word (double final consonant).

collect Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word


22 28.1 36.7
(colect) with the consonant doublet ll at the syllable juncture.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-syllable word


gloves
23 19.2 27.4 with the short vowel pattern o but where a v is followed by
(gluvs)
an e.

fluffier Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable word


24 14.2 19
(fluffyer) with the suffix -er, requiring a change to the base word (y to i).

comfortable Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable word


25 3.5 6.8
(comftable) with an unstressed syllable.

Key messages for teachers


In general, Year 3 students have moved from the letter name stage of spelling, although some aspects such as
consonant sounds that are represented by more than one letter, e.g. s/c (choice), or those that make more than
one sound, e.g. s/z (hoze error), are still being mastered. The spelling of words with the consonant k, as in brick, is
one that students find particularly challenging. This is because young students often learn to spell words with
short vowels first and these are followed by -ck. Long vowels, which they tend to learn to spell later, are generally
followed by a -k. (A teaching sequence for this is suggested in A framework for describing spelling items which can
be found at www.qsa.edu.au/1443html.)
Generally, the Year 3 students are working in the within-word stage where they learn how sounds are coded. They
learn that knowledge of sequence of letters, position of letters and frequency of letter patterns helps spellers make
decisions. During the within-word stage, students begin serious study of the conventions for adding inflectional
endings. The challenge that this provides to students cannot be underestimated. In a one-syllable word, bench,
44% of Year 3 students could recognise the need to add -es. While in a two-syllable example such as ignored 27%
of them could correct this error. By Year 5, 52% of students could add the inflectional ending to this word. Students
who are struggling with this spelling element typically write just the d, as presented to them in the item. Where a
change is required such as, an e-drop or particularly doubling, the knowledge of the conventions for adding
inflectional endings is even more challenging. It is critical that students understand the doubling convention as
this understanding underpins knowledge developed in the syllable-juncture stage of spelling.
Students begin to learn about the spelling–meaning connection as they encounter homophones, four of which
were tested (won/one, mail/male, feet/feat, wrap/rap) on this paper. Etymological knowledge can be introduced
as students encounter words such as gloves, where the e is not a marker of a long vowel pattern but of the v
ending as in have, live, give, love, above.

20 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Grammar and punctuation — item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Grammar and punctuation component of the Year 3 Language conventions test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Selects the appropriate adjective to complete a simple
26 A 94.6 96.1
sentence.

Selects the correct determiner to complete a complex


27 B 82.6 86.5
sentence.

28 D 84 86.6 Identifies a redundant word in a simple sentence.

29 B 84.3 87.6 Selects the correct adjective to complete a complex sentence.

Selects the correct determiner to complete a simple


30 D 73.6 75.4
sentence.

Identifies a correctly located contraction apostrophe in a


31 A 66 68.6
simple sentence.

Selects the correct form of a compound word to complete a


32 A 69 75.4
simple sentence.

Selects the correct location for a full stop in a simple


33 D 68.7 71.2
sentence.

Selects the correct verb form to complete a compound/


34 C 64.5 69
complex sentence.

35 A 58.2 62.4 Selects the correct adverb to complete a simple sentence.

Selects the correct collocation of a verb and noun in a simple


36 D 69.3 74.1
sentence.

Selects the correct location for a full stop to separate two


37 B 75.4 80.3
simple sentences.

Identifies the correct capitalisation of proper nouns in a


38 A 60.7 64.1
simple sentence.

39 C 59.9 62.7 Identifies a question.

Selects the word referred to by a noun substitute (one) in a


40 C 59 64.8
complex sentence.

Selects the correct verb form to complete a complex


41 A 58.1 62.6
sentence.

Selects an optional conjunction introducing a relative clause


42 C 60.1 66.7
in a complex sentence.

Selects the correct verb form to complete a conditional


43 B 48.4 52.3
sentence.

Selects the correct punctuation for an exclamation of


44 B 49.7 55.5
admiration.

Selects the correct form of the indefinite article to accord with


45 C 47 46.9
the following word.

Selects the correct punctuation of direct speech with a


46 C 42.3 46.7
quoting clause.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 21


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Selects the correct subordinating and coordinating
47 D 49.2 55
conjunctions to complete a compound/complex sentence.

48 B 34.8 39.1 Identifies a complete simple sentence.

Selects the correct form of the indefinite article to accord with


49 D 31.8 38.1
the following word in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct location for a contraction apostrophe in a


50 B 41.4 49.2
simple sentence.

Key messages for teachers


Items 26, 27 and 29 which tested knowledge of determiners before a noun have high facility rates. Words like few,
much, more, many, lots, one, only one, as many as, most and all, are often taught as sight words for young readers
and writers. A focus in the early years on the meaning of these words will assist students’ understanding of
grammar, reading and writing.
There are five items that test knowledge of past tense verbs. Most give distracters that are not Standard Australian
English. It is important for Year 3 students to understand that this is a test of formal written grammar and that they
need to know the difference between Standard Australian English and home language.
Knowledge of sentence-level punctuation is tested in four items. Students were more able to identify the sentence
boundary between two simple sentences when the second sentence started with a capital letter, tested in item 33,
than one beginning with a book title that used capital letters in italics for the three words, e.g. The Black Horse,
item 37. This difference reduced the facility rate by approximately 5%. Knowledge of using capital letters for proper
nouns like the names of people and pets is tested in item 38. The teaching of these basic aspects of punctuation
needs to be maintained by all year levels.
Contraction apostrophes continue to be problematic for this age. In item 31, students were more able to proofread
sentences with the apostrophe added, whether correctly or incorrectly, than they were able to identify where an
apostrophe is needed, as in item 50. Practising proofreading using both forms would help students as they
proofread their own and others’ writing.
There is evidence in this paper that the reading demand significantly affects students’ results. Item 45 requires
students to identify the correct use of the indefinite article a or an in a short noun group: a elephant, a umbrella,
an iceblock and an balloon. To answer correctly, students need to know that you use an before a word starting with
a vowel. The same knowledge was needed to answer item 49. In this item, either a or an are used in sentences
such as Samantha is a interesting girl and Pedro is an excellent soccer player. Queensland students’ facility rate
drops from 47% for item 45 to approximately 32% for item 49.
Similarly, approximately 95% of Year 3 students were able to identify the adjective soft as the correct word to
complete the sentence, The cat had _____ fur. But the percentage correct drops by 10% for item 29, The car was
very ____ after it was polished. The additional clause, after it was polished, adds to the reading demand of the
sentence but does not alter the correct word needed.

22 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 3 Literacy — Reading
Item descriptions and key messages
Below are the results for the Year 3 Reading test. These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Turtle frogs (Report)

1 C 85.2 88 Locates directly stated information in a text.

2 B 87.9 91.1 Locates directly stated information in a text.

3 B 81.1 83.8 Locates directly stated information in a text.

4 C 81.2 85.2 Connects information across sentences in a text.

5 A 69.7 73.4 Makes a simple inference from a text.

6 A 59.5 63.8 Identifies the purpose of an illustration in a text.

Choosing a classroom pet (Opinion text)

7 D 76.5 81.4 Identifies one reason for an opinion in a text.

8 B 69.5 73.9 Matches a speaker with a statement in a simple text.

9 B 68.7 73.7 Locates directly stated information in a simple text.

10 B 42.3 46.1 Identifies the purpose of a speaker’s response in a text.

11 C 56.1 60.1 Identifies the role of a speaker in a simple text.

How to play SPUD (Procedural text)

12 B 72.4 77.4 Retrieves directly stated information in a text.

13 B 60.3 64 Makes an inference from a procedural text.

14 C 43.2 46.3 Makes a link across adjacent sentences to locate information.

15 A 50.6 55.1 Applies new information to change a given outcome.

16 D 58.5 61 Matches a rule to a photograph in a text.

17 B 48.5 51.9 Categorises extra information into a section of a text.

Rose the musician (Narrative)

18 C 67.6 72.5 Uses letter-writing conventions to identify the author of a note.

19 C 45.9 49 Identifies the intended effect of a device in a text.

20 C 33.1 35.9 Identifies the purpose of a meeting from a text.

21 D 54 57 Identifies a character’s attitude from a text.

22 A 38.8 41.7 Identifies the reason for a character’s comment in a text.

23 B 48 55.1 Recognises the personality of the main character in a text.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 23


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Young adventurer 2009 (Report)

24 C 52.4 59.8 Makes a simple inference from a short article.

25 B 34.3 39.5 Identifies the main topic of a paragraph in a short article.

26 A 41.8 48.1 Make a synonymous match in a short article.

27 D 31.9 35.9 Identifies the intended reader’s response to a short article.

28 2, 1, 5, 3, 4 38 47.4 Identifies the text structure of a short article.

29 D 43.4 51.5 Identifies values in a short article.

30 C 26.3 29.7 Identifies values in a short article.

Down by the river (Narrative)

31 C 52.2 58.8 Uses knowledge of text type to identify an alternative title.

32 B 34.7 38 Uses background knowledge to interpret a metaphor.

33 B 36.5 40.4 Locates information by making links across a sentence.

34 A 27.9 30.8 Identifies the reason for using sentence fragments.

35 D 15.9 20.3 Identifies a value that underpins a narrative text.

36 D 22.1 25.7 Identifies a first-person narrator in a narrative text.

Key messages for teachers


Students performed well on the early texts such as Turtle frog and Choosing a classroom pet. Recall questions that
required matching information in a report to the options were the easiest for the Year 3 students. For example,
item 3 reads The turtle frogs use their strong legs to ..... , the correct answer being option B, dig. This is a match to
the stimulus, which reads Turtle frogs use their strong front legs to dig.
Results for the inferential questions in Rosie the musician, where the stimulus featured a familiar context, were
close to the national results. For example, item 21 asks, What is Rosie’s mum most likely to think about Rosie
being in the band? The correct option is D, She needs to think carefully about this. Students need to infer this
attitude by reading and interpreting the interactions between the mother and daughter.
A continued focus of the teaching of inferential comprehension is essential. Modelling the thinking needed to
make inferences through teaching strategies such as think-alouds would help students understand how to make
inferences.
Vocabulary development is important as students move from reading early texts, where the vocabulary labels
ideas, to texts where the vocabulary gives nuances or connotations of ideas. For example, item 32 in the text Down
by the river asks students to interpret the meaning of arrows of water. To answer this question, they need to infer
that the platypus is making ripples in the water that look like arrows. Teachers can foster an interest in words and
their meaning by focusing on vocabulary choices in texts that the children are either reading or that are read to
them. As well as improving their comprehension and building their resources for writing, an understanding of a
broader range of words will also help the students to read the questions and answers in the test.
One of the challenges for young students is the length of the stimulus passages. Providing students with longer
texts to read, and gradually increasing the time students are expected to read independently, will help build their
reading stamina. As research shows, this will have benefits beyond test performance as there is a significant
correlation between time spent reading and reading ability.

24 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 3 Numeracy
Item descriptions and key messages
This table shows the results for the Year 3 Numeracy test. The numeracy strands are abbreviated as follows:
Algebra, function and pattern (AFP); Measurement, chance and data (MCD); Number (N); Space (S).
All items are worth one score point. These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description


1 S A 91.1 91 Identifies a cylinder from a set of 3D objects.

Calculates the total value of a small collection of


2 N D 84.8 88.1
coins.

Finds all the triangles in an arrangement of 2D


3 S C 83 81.6
shapes.

Identifies the correct subtraction that links two


4 N D 65.5 71.2
numbers.

Locates a position on a plan with modelled grid


5 S D 73.2 74.7
notation.

Calculates a whole quantity by doubling a given


6 N B 80.9 84
half.

7 MCD C 82.5 86.7 Finds information in a simple two-way table.

Identifies the largest of four areas presented as


8 MCD B 73.2 76.9
arrays.

9 S A 66 69.1 Identifies the attribute used for sorting shapes.

Visualises a symmetrical drawing to identify a


10 S C 71.6 73.5
position on an alphanumeric grid.

Finds a remainder when an array of objects is


11 N B 65.1 69.8
regrouped.

12 MCD C 60.9 66.4 Interprets a timetable to locate information.

13 N D 45.8 46.8 Identifies a shape with one-quarter shaded.

Identifies a number pattern that follows a given


14 AFP B 48.4 51.4
rule.

Matches a given addition fact to an inverse


15 AFP A 54.6 58.7
operation.

Estimates the amount of water in a familiar


16 MCD C 42.8 46.9
container.

17 S B 49.1 48.6 Identifies objects as prisms.

18 MCD A 56.4 60.4 Identifies a possible outcome for a simple event.

Identifies an impossible outcome for a simple


19 MCD A 41.5 45.8
event.

20 S D 40 42.6 Recognises the top view of a 3D structure.

Solves a problem by interpreting data and


21 MCD 10 47.1 52.9
relational information.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 25


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
22 MCD C 38.7 43 Reads and interprets a column graph.

Solves a multistep problem involving a familiar


23 N 9 28.9 35.3
rate.

Calculates a missing value in a subtraction


24 N 17 24.7 30.6
number sentence.

25 MCD D 31.5 33 Matches an analogue time to a digital time.

Recognises the relative position of a triangle after


26 S B 30.6 31.6
a quarter turn.

Applies a suitable strategy to solve a multistep


27 AFP 7 18.8 23.1
problem.

28 S D 16.4 17.5 Identifies a net of a cube.

Interprets directions to identify a location on a


29 S C 21.9 22
simple map.

Solves a multistep problem involving halving and


30 N A 18.4 21.4
subtraction.

Uses repeated doubling to extend a number


31 AFP 320 6 8.6
pattern.

Interprets a number line to find the number


32 N 305 16.9 20.2
halfway between two 3-digit numbers.

Solves a problem involving three quarters of an


33 N 18 9.8 12.5
amount of money.

Solves a word problem involving doubling and


34 AFP 5 9.6 13.7
halving.

Solves a word problem involving equal numbers of


35 N 7 3.3 5.1
different coins.

Key messages for teachers


The Year 3 Numeracy test consisted of 35 questions with no access to a calculator. Students had 45 minutes to
complete the test.

Number strand
For the Number strand, questions covered subtraction, doubling, halving, finding quarters of shapes and amounts
of money, and calculating the value of small collections of coins. Three questions at the end of the paper, items 33,
34 and 35, required students to solve word problems involving more than one calculation. Students found the
solving of these problems challenging, with less than 14% of students answering the questions correctly across
the country.
To solve word problems, students need to develop a plan of action that includes identifying the information they
require and the particular strategy to use. They also need to include some method for checking the
reasonableness of their solution at the end and a process of revising their plan if unsuccessful.
To develop these skills in the classroom, it is helpful to solve a variety of problems together as a large group, and
to encourage the sharing and swapping of ideas and strategies within small groups. In such a non-threatening and
positive environment students can develop their confidence in planning and using a variety of problem-solving
strategies.

26 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Algebra, pattern and function strand
For this strand, questions involved number patterns, multistep problems and inverse operations. For patterning,
there was a large variation in the results from around 50% for item 14, where students had to match a rule to a
number pattern, to 6% for item 31, where they needed to do two things for a correct response. First, they had to
use the numbers displayed in a table to work out the pattern, then they had to interpret the written description of a
number pattern to work out a future term in the pattern. An analysis of the incorrect responses showed that a
significant number of students may have tried to work out the pattern from the numbers in the table, rather than
from the given description, and another group of students have not read that they were asked for the seventh term.
Item 15 focused on the inverse relationships between operations. Over half the students were able to provide the
related addition fact to a subtraction fact, however, for item 27, involving the inverse operation in a word problem,
only about 20% of students answered this correctly. Knowing the relationships between the operations is
important and powerful knowledge, and will help develop future understandings around the distributive,
associative and commutative properties.

Measurement, chance and data strand


There were nine questions for this strand and the results ranged from very easy for item 7, at 83% correct, to more
challenging for item 25 at 33%.
Three questions, items 8, 16 and 25, involved measurements. Queensland students found item 16 the most
difficult of the three, at 43% correct. When analysing incorrect responses, it seems that many students have
guessed their answer. This item involved using a reference point to help make an estimation of a quantity of water.
A graphic of a bucket of water was provided and the question told students that it held 10 litres when full. A line
was drawn horizontally across the bucket at three-quarters of the total height to indicate the volume of water in the
bucket. Students were asked how much water was in the bucket. Approximately one quarter of the students
selected nine litres as their response. It seems that many students did not know how to use the marked line as a
reference point to assist in making their estimations.
Chance concepts were tested in questions 18 and 19. For the first question, item 18, students needed to be able to
work out a possible outcome for a single event. For the second question, item 19, students needed to understand
the term impossible. The results, approximately 56% and 42% respectively, may demonstrate that many students
are still developing the language of chance.
The early language of chance is used to scaffold the development of probability concepts. Students use
increasingly precise language to describe outcomes from everyday chance events as they move to providing a
numerical measure.
Data concepts were tested in four questions, items 7, 12, 21, and 22, and all of these dealt directly with data
displays. The most challenging question, item 22, involved using a value from a column graph to calculate a
solution to a problem. The most common incorrect response given by students was to provide the value straight
from the graph.

Space strand
There were 10 questions that focused on this strand. Six questions focused on the geometric properties of 2D and
3D shapes and objects, and four questions focused on location and movement. Most Queensland students were
able to identify cylinders and triangles but only 17% were able to identify the correct net of a cube, item 28. This
provides some evidence that many students are not yet familiar with nets in early Year 3.
Question 10 used a combination of symmetry and alphanumeric references. Over two-thirds of students answered
this correctly, but this question highlights the need for students to be able to draw on concepts across the strands
to help solve problems.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 27


Year 5 Literacy — Language conventions
Spelling — item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Spelling component of the Year 5 Language conventions test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Proofreading — error identified

while
1 87.2 90.4 Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the digraph-wh.
(wile)

cent Correctly spells a one-syllable homophone with the initial


2 84.7 87.2
(scent) soft consonant -c.

building Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the short vowel


3 65.9 71.3
(billding) digraph -ui.

ignored Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the inflectional


4 52.2 60.1
(ignord) ending -d.

choice Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the final soft


5 49.7 54.6
(choise) consonant -c(e).

sword Correctly spells a one-syllable word with the silent


6 41.8 51.3
(sord) consonant -w.

courage Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the short vowel


7 33.3 42.1
(curage) digraph -ou.

sure Correctly spells a one-syllable homophone with the long


8 33.7 40.9
(shaw) vowel pattern -ure.

Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the inflectional


admitted
9 38 43.4 ending -ed requiring a change to the base word
(admited)
(double final consonant).

identifies Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the inflectional


10 32.4 38
(identifys) ending -es requiring a change to the base word (y to i).

pollute Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the long vowel


11 14.8 19.3
(polloot) pattern u-e.

unusual Correctly spells a multisyllable word with a final


12 24.8 31.9
(unusul) unaccented syllable.

sincerely Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the phonogram


13 7.3 10.4
(sinceerly) -ere.

Proofreading — error not identified

pleasing Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable


14 72.1 76.9
(pleesing) word with the long vowel digraph -ea.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable


nicely
15 54.2 61.3 word with the suffix -ly, requiring no change to the base
(nicley)
word.

telescope Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


16 43 51.2
(telascope) word with the etymological elements tele- and scope.

28 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable
hopeful
17 44.9 48.8 word with the suffix -ful requiring no change to the base
(hopefull)
word.

drafting Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable


18 50.5 62.9
(drarfting) word with the long vowel -a.

nursery Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable


19 30.4 38.7
(nursry) homograph with an unstressed syllable.

meant Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-syllable


20 19.8 28.5
(ment) word with the short vowel digraph -ea.

knuckle Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable


21 15 21.2
(nuckle) word with the initial silent consonant -k.

squash Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-syllable


22 35.2 41.5
(skwash) word with the consonant trigraph squ-.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


attention
23 32.5 41.2 word with the suffix -tion, requiring a change to the
(attenshon)
baseword (d to t).

valleys Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable


24 20.9 28.1
(vallees) word with the plural ending added to -ey.

protein Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable


25 13.7 19
(proteen) word with the long vowel digraph -ei.

Key messages for teachers


Year 5 students are still developing their knowledge of how the within-word patterns, used to code sounds, work in
multisyllable words. This is seen in the facility rates for words such as building and drafting, where the
representation of the vowel patterns is less common, and for others words such as pollute, where the pattern is
phonically regular but where spelling may be shaped by how students say it. Teaching words such as these in
tandem with a derivative such as pollution, where the long u is more easily heard, will help students develop a
spelling and proofreading strategy. Less common consonant patterns such as the soft c in choice and the sw in
sword are also still challenging.
Teaching students to engage with homophones and homographs is the beginning of their understanding of the
meaning layer of the spelling system. In the two items 2 and 19, where students were asked to correct a
misspelling, the error patterns suggest that many students whose responses were incorrect failed to realise that
the word was a homophone, writing either variations of scent or nursery. For item 8 (sure), a larger percentage of
those misspelling the word did know it was a homophone with approximately 20% of students writing shore — the
wrong homophone. Increasing the focus on the spelling–meaning connection will help students learn words such
as courage and telescope. In these words they need to understand the etymology to understand why it sounds the
way it does and to make the meaning connections. The error patterns for both these words demonstrate how
difficult it is for students to attempt these spellings with a sound-to-letter matching strategy.
Students should learn how the coding of sounds works in multisyllable words. This needs to be supported by the
teaching of syllable patterns and the conventions for adding affixes, even basic ones such as adding -ed. In
attempting to correct the spelling of ignored (ignord), students commonly altered the base word rather than the
inflectional ending. Students need to be taught the different syllable patterns and the consonant alternation
patterns for adding the very common -tion, -sion suffixes. ( For a list of these patterns, see A framework for
describing spelling items which can be found at www.qsa.edu.au/1443html.)
Although fewer students reproduced the given error pattern in the identified items, significant numbers of
students still did so. The results of the unidentified items should be treated with caution as the error patterns show
that students failed to identify the target word. The analyses that underpin SunLANDA and are also imported into
OneSchool will give more detailed information about student performance.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 29


Grammar and punctuation — item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Grammar and punctuation component of the Year 5 Language conventions test

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


26 D 89 90.4 Identifies a proper noun in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct adjective to complete a complex


27 B 95 95.6
sentence.

Selects the correct determiner to complete a simple


28 D 87.9 89.1
sentence.

Identifies a correctly located contraction apostrophe in a


29 A 81.9 82.4
simple sentence.

Identifies additional information requiring brackets in a


30 C 88.3 88.9
simple sentence.

31 B 60 62.9 Identifies a redundant word in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct subordinating and coordinating


32 A 77 80.4
conjunctions to complete a compound/complex sentence.

Selects the correct form of a complex verb group to


33 B 72.7 76.8
complete a compound sentence.

34 A 84.5 88 Identifies a question.

Selects the correct verb form to complete a complex


35 A 64.1 65.1
sentence.

Selects an optional conjunction introducing a relative


36 C 75.2 78.0
clause in a complex sentence.

Selects the correct verb form to complete a conditional


37 B 59.6 61.9
sentence.

Selects the correct location for a singular possessive


38 A 70.8 75.5
apostrophe in a complex sentence.

Selects the correct punctuation for an exclamation of


39 D 65.7 71
surprise.

Selects the correct punctuation of direct speech with a


40 C 68 72.3
quoting clause.

41 D 64.9 69.8 Selects a correctly structured complex sentence.

42 D 66.5 71.9 Interprets a phrasal verb in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct use of a comma separating place names


43 C 43.6 47.9
in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct relative pronoun to complete a complex


44 D 38.8 41
sentence.

Selects the correct use of commas to separate words in a


45 A 52.2 55.5
series in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct compound verb form to complete a


46 D 59.9 67.2
conditional sentence.

30 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Selects the correct subordinating conjunction to complete a
47 C 49.9 53.8
complex sentence.

Identifies correct capitalisation in direct speech including


48 B 47.1 50.8
proper nouns.

49 A 47.8 52 Identifies a pronoun reference in a compound sentence.

Identifies the correct use of a comma to separate an


50 A 32.7 39.3
introductory element in a simple sentence.

Key messages for teachers


NAPLAN is a test of literacy in Standard Australian English. Specifically, it is about writing, rather than speaking,
and about formal rather than idiomatic language. The draft F–10 Australian Curriculum: English states that, while
other varieties of English should be respected, students must master the Standard written and spoken forms used
in schooling. The difference between oral and written language, like the difference between formal and informal
idiom, should be taught explicitly.
Year 5 students have shown that they understand basic grammatical structures including the adjectival form of
shine (shine, shiny, shinier, shiniest ) and determiner (number of things) to suit a plural noun — books. Their
understanding of verb forms was varied. Queensland results on question 35, the correct selection of the past tense
verb came in a complex sentence, was close to national results. The common error for this item, had came,
indicates close reading is required as students are likely to have read this as the correct verb form had come.
Teaching verb forms in conjunction with the teaching of clause structure will assist students in understanding the
correct Standard Australian English forms and the relationship between verb tense and subject–verb agreement.
Particular attention needs to be paid to more difficult verb groups in sophisticated sentences such as those with
conditional clauses.
Continued work on clause structure will assist students to understand the use of conjunctions and relative
pronouns. Building and reconstructing sentences using different conjuctions will help students understand how to
link clauses, the meaning potential of different conjunctions and the correct verb forms needed as clauses are
linked. These understandings are needed in items 32, 36, 37, 41, 46 and 47. Work in this area will also help
students write well-structured, meaningful sentences in their writing tasks.
Careful reading of items 30, 43, 45 and 50 was needed to determine the correct placement of commas or brackets.
Students showed sound understanding of the use of brackets to indicate additional information (the dates of
Bradman’s life) in item 30. Less well understood is the use of commas to separate the place name and location in
item 43, e.g. The final destination on our holiday is Queenstown, New Zealand. This item also tests whether
students understand the use of commas to mark clause boundaries. Approximately the same number of students
chose the incorrect options B or D. These students need further understanding of when and when not to include a
comma within a sentence. This teaching focus will also assist students with item 50. In this item, the word Outside
is not functioning as a preposition (Outside the yard). It is a place, Outside, which is synonymous with the yard.
Talking about punctuation, grammar and meaning together is essential and will help students in writing and
reading.
The correct punctuation of direct speech remains somewhat problematic. Item 40 tested students on one of the
more difficult aspects of this form of punctuation, the comma after the opening statement, (“Hello,” said Mr Grant).
Three options also gave the comma after the speaker when the direct speech continued, e.g. “Hello,” said Mr
Grant, “I am your new teacher”. Therefore, based on this item, it cannot be assumed that students know this. The
students who did get this item correct understood that there were two separate groups of words Mr Grant said and
were able to identify the correct use of quotation marks to indicate this. Fewer students understood the need for a
capital letter to begin the direct speech and for the proper name of the doctor in item 48. While both of these items
are related to direct speech, they are testing different knowledge.
Close reading of each option is needed, particularly when they are quite lengthy, as shown in item 41. Option A has
drawn a large number of students. It needs is to be inserted as shown, to be correct (The reason why the car
stopped [is] because it had run out of petrol). Knowledge of clause and sentence structure may be the reason so
many students chose this option, or they may simply have read the is into the sentence. Similarly, in option B, the
was error may have been overlooked in such a long sentence.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 31


Year 5 Literacy — Reading
Item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Reading component of the Year 5 Literacy test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


From pop band to movie star (Information text)

1 C 94 95.7 Locates directly stated information.

Identifies reader’s likely response to a short biographical


2 C 74 77.4
text.

Makes a simple inference from a sentence in a short


3 A 59.5 65.8
biographical text.

Identifies the purpose of including specified information in


4 C 64.8 71
a short biographical text.

Identifies a person’s attitude to a subject from a short


5 D 82.2 85.8
biographical text.

6 D 63.9 68.7 Identifies the purpose of a dash in a sentence within a text.

How to play SPUD (Procedural text)

7 B 89.4 92 Retrieves directly stated information from a text.

8 B 80.9 83.5 Makes an inference from a procedural text.

Makes a link across adjacent sentences to locate


9 C 63.6 68.9
information.

10 A 71.2 75.8 Applies new information to change a given outcome.

11 D 81 83.2 Matches a rule to a photograph in a procedural text.

12 B 72.1 75.3 Categorises extra information into a section of the text.

Young adventurer 2009 (Report)

13 C 81.2 85.8 Makes a simple inference from a short article.

14 B 64.6 71.2 Identifies the main topic of a paragraph in a short article.

15 A 65.8 70.9 Makes a synonymous match in a short article.

16 D 53.8 59.8 Identifies the intended reader’s response to a short article.

17 2, 1, 5, 3, 4 69.5 76.7 Identifies the text structure of a short article.

18 D 66.4 72.8 Identifies values in a short article.

19 C 52.8 59.9 Identifies values in a short article.

The diver (Poem)

20 B 46.2 51.9 Interprets the imagery in a poem.

21 D 33.1 37.9 Interprets contrasting imagery in a poem.

22 A 48.1 52.4 Correctly identifies the object being referenced in a poem.

32 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
23 D 26.5 29 Interprets the feelings of the narrator.

24 A 48.7 54.4 Interprets a metaphor underlying a poem.

The outsider (Narrative)

25 B 39.7 43.6 Interprets the behaviour of a character in a text.

26 B 47.9 54 Interprets the personality of a character in a text.

27 A 42.7 46.6 Identifies the dramatic effect of narrated action.

28 C 33.3 37.1 Interprets the thoughts of a character in a text.

Interprets language used to construct character


29 D 35.4 39.8
relationships in a text.

I’m a walking advertisement (Argument)

30 C 18.8 21.4 Identifies the main issue in a text.

31 B 45.7 52.3 Recognises the meaning implied by the tone of a sentence.

32 B 60.2 67.2 Identifies an appeal to an audience in a text.

Identifies the effect of using quotation marks for a


33 B 30.5 33.9
particular purpose in a text.

Compares supporting evidence to find a common element


34 C 35.3 38.4
in a text.

35 C 34.5 39.8 Identifies the tone of a text.

36 B 28.3 31.4 Connects the conclusion to the meaning of the overall text.

Key messages for teachers


Most Year 5 students engaged with the procedural text, How to play SPUD, answering the related questions with
several results close to the Australian results. Omission rates are significantly improved from previous years, even
for difficult questions. A continued focus on higher-order comprehension will help students improve their text-
based and context-based inferencing, as well as their abilities to answer questions that require judgments about
characters and authors point of view.
A focus on vocabulary development will assist students in reading the stimulus material and understanding both
the questions and the answer options. Developing comprehension strategies for working out the meaning of a
word or phrase from the clues given in the text is critical to a general improvement in comprehension. For example,
in the persuasive text, I’m a walking talking advertisement, the writer’s concern about the sly advertising practices
of companies is developed through the vocabulary choices, (clever trick, sneaky and advertising by stealth). The
Queensland results for questions requiring knowledge of persuasive devices are close to the national results. For
example, question 33 in this same set asks students to interpret the effect of using quotation marks around the
words “must-have”. Discussion during reading about the purpose of such literary devices and persuasive
techniques used in texts will help students make the reading–writing connection, as well as improve their
comprehension.
As a test-wiseness strategy, students will benefit from understanding what the question is asking and what the
clues the question gives about where to find the answer. They also need to understand that a good multiple-choice
question will give plausible distracters. Therefore, they need to read all the options for a question before deciding
on the best answer. Teaching students to read all the options has the potential to improve the results of students
who choose the first plausible distracter they meet.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 33


Year 5 Numeracy
Item descriptions and key messages
In this table, the Numeracy strands are abbreviated as follows: Algebra, function and pattern (AFP); Measurement,
chance and data (MCD); Number (N); Space (S).
All items are worth one score point. These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description


1 N B 91.3 92.8 Identifies a shape that has been cut into quarters.

2 S A 72.8 73.6 Identifies parallel streets on a map.

3 S A 89.7 91.3 Recognises a 2D shape that will tessellate.

Identifies the correct subtraction that links two


4 N D 87.4 90.2
numbers.

Locates a position on a plan with a modelled grid


5 S D 86.5 87.6
notation.

Visualises a symmetrical drawing to identify a


6 S C 85.2 86.4
position on an alphanumeric grid.

7 MCD C 84.3 87.3 Interprets a timetable to locate information.

Identifies a number pattern that follows a given


8 AFP B 76.3 78.7
rule.

9 S A 64.4 64.4 Identifies the shape of a cut face of a cylinder.

Estimates the amount of water in a familiar


10 MCD C 73.4 77.6
container.

11 S B 66.2 66.5 Identifies objects as prisms.

12 S C 65.6 69.9 Identifies an object given a description of its faces.

Solves a problem by interpreting data and


13 MCD 10 75.3 79.1
relational information.

Solves a multistep problem involving a familiar


14 N 9 64.9 70.2
rate.

Solves a problem involving addition and


15 N A 54 59.9
subtraction of money.

Calculates the area of a shape embedded on a


16 MCD B 60.4 66.5
square grid.

17 MCD D 67.2 67 Matches an analogue time to a digital time.

Interprets an unmarked scale to find a quarter of a


18 MCD B 50.7 53.9
litre.

19 N B 41.3 49.3 Locates the position of one third on a number line.

20 N C 45 50.6 Finds the lowest cost by comparing familiar rates.

21 S D 45.1 44 Identifies a design with no lines of symmetry.

Calculates the missing value in a decreasing


22 AFP D 27.5 30.7
pattern of decimals.

34 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Matches a location by comparing plans with
23 S B 42.3 45.7
different orientations.

24 MCD C 45.7 52.4 Identifies the criterion used to sort data in a table.

Applies a rate to calculate the difference between


25 N C 35.7 38.3
two lengths.

26 MCD A 37.8 43.9 Identifies a true statement for data in a table.

27 MCD B 36.4 41.7 Recognises the angle closest to 100 degrees.

Solves a multistep problem involving halving and


28 N A 34.2 39.3
subtraction.

Visualises and reasons to identify opposite faces


29 S A 25.8 30.8
on a cube.

Calculates a higher term in a number pattern


30 AFP 5.4 20.2 23
involving money.

Solves a problem involving three quarters of an


31 N 18 18.6 23.5
amount of money.

Calculates the number halfway between two


32 N D 22.4 28
decimals on a number line.

Completes a number sentence involving


33 AFP A 14.9 18.8
multiplication and division.

Solves a measurement problem involving


34 MCD D 31.6 34
proportional reasoning.

Calculates the perimeter of a shape made by


35 MCD 760 7.4 10.9
joined rectangles.

Visualises changes to the properties of a 3D object


36 S 2 6.7 9
made of cubes.

Solves a word problem involving relational


37 N 12 10.2 13.1
reasoning.

Uses reasoning to solve a word problem involving


38 N 10 6.8 10.3
addition.

Solves a word problem by interpreting data with


39 MCD 9 5.4 8.4
overlapping categories.

Solves a multistep problem involving a pattern of


40 AFP 1963 3.1 5.4
time intervals.

Key messages for teachers


The Year 5 students completed the 40 questions in 50 minutes. Eleven questions were linked from the Year 3
paper and 8 questions linked to the Year 7 paper. Students did not have access to a calculator.
This year, the last six questions of the paper involved solving problems. Each problem required students to use
knowledge and skills from across the Numeracy strands. These questions all required a constructed (open)
response. Results showed that these items were very challenging not only for Queensland students but also for all
Australian students in Year 5. The most challenging question had a facility rate of approximately 5% nationally
and 3% for Queensland students.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 35


An analysis of incorrect responses for these items showed that a number of students may have misread the
question, or worked some of the problem correctly but incorrectly interpreted their final result. Teachers should
carefully analyse incorrect answers and look for responses that suggest an incorrect strategy, calculation or final
representation. For example, an analysis of item 38 showed that some students provided the number for each face
of the dice instead of providing the sum of the three faces as required. Also in the hardest question on the Year 5
paper, item 40, it seems that many students may have misread or misinterpreted the question. This question
involved calculating the first Year of the Rabbit after 1960. An analysis of the incorrect responses provided, showed
that 1972 was the most prevalent. This response would be the result of adding 12 more years to 1960, and this is
understandable as the Year of the Rabbit occurs every 12 years. However, the question does not state that 1960 is
a Year of the Rabbit; therefore, the answer involved further calculations to determine 1963 as the answer.
Developing students’ experiences and confidence with problem-solving strategies will help them to tackle many
and varied problems. Simple methods for checking or considering the reasonableness or the format of their
answers should be encouraged.

Number strand
Students completed 10 questions involving number. These questions ranged from relatively easy (91% facility) to
very difficult (3% facility) for Queensland students.
Most students were able to identify quarters, use addition and subtraction, and represent a given common
fraction on a number line. Fewer students were able to solve problems involving a rate or involving more than one
calculation.

Algebra, function and pattern strand


There were two questions for this strand, items 33 and 40. Both proved to be very challenging for students.
Individual responses to item 33 should be analysed by classroom teachers to determine students’ strategies for
this problem. Statewide results showed that many students did not work out that the cost of the extra scoop of
icecream was 55c, or realise that a number pattern was involved. A number of students added the costs of two
scoops and three scoops to calculate a result of $8.40. See SunLANDA for further information and teaching tips.

Measurement, chance and data strand


There were 12 questions for this strand. Four questions, items 7, 13, 24 and 39 involved interpreting data
displays. Item 39 was very challenging for Year 5 students, with 6% of Queensland students and 8% of Australian
students answering correctly. This question involved working out a logical method of finding the missing value in
a table when the values were counted in more than one category. Students could have devised a strategy that
used a diagram or table to help them work out their solution.
Questions 10, 16, 17, 18, 24, 27 and 35 involved measurement and more than half of Queensland students could
estimate a volume, match a digital and analogue representation of time, and use a square grid to work out an area.
Question 26 was the only chance/probability question, and tested students’ understanding of the language of
chance. This item required students to read a table of results and find the best descriptor to match a statement
about the data. For Queensland students, this item had a facility rate of 39%. Teachers may wish to analyse
further their own students’ responses to this question, as incorrect responses statewide show that many students
were confused about the difference between certain and impossible.

Space strand
Eleven space questions were included, nine involving recognising and using geometric properties of 2D and 3D
shapes and objects, and two involving location, direction and movement. The most challenging of these questions
item 36, required students to visually make a change to a 3D object made up of small cubes to conform to given
geometric properties. Approximately 7% of Queensland students were able to answer this correctly, with the most
common incorrect response being 64.

36 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 7 Literacy — Language conventions
Spelling — item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Spelling component of the Year 7 Literacy test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item
Answer Qld% Aust% Description
no.
Proofreading — error identified

grown Correctly spells a one-syllable homophone with the


1 81.9 86.4
(groan) vowel digraph -ow.

activity Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the suffix


2 82.6 84.1
(activety) -ity, requiring a change to the base word (drop e).
turtles Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the
3 75.2 77.3
(tertles) r-controlled digraph -ur.

blizzard Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the


4 73.9 77.5
(blizzerd) unaccented syllable ending -ard.

attitude Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the


5 59.8 65.3
(atitude) consonant doublet tt at the syllable juncture.

Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the


admitted
6 64.8 67.3 inflectional ending -ed requiring a change to the
(admited)
base word (double final consonant).

Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the


identifies
7 57.3 59.4 inflectional ending -es requiring a change to the
(identifys)
base word (y to i).

pollute Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the long


8 37.8 34.7
(polloot) vowel pattern u-e.

soldiers Correctly spells a two-syllable word with an


9 39.9 42.4
(solgers) uncommon syllable break sold/iers.

opinion Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the suffix


10 55.4 62.7
(opinuin) -ion and where the i acts as a consonant.
temporary Correctly spells a multisyllable word with an
11 34.6 39.1
(tempory) unaccented medial syllable -or.

circulated Correctly spells a multisyllable word based on a Latin


12 43.5 44.6
(cerculated) root.

angrily Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the suffix


13 26.3 29.3
(angrerly) -ly requiring a change to the base word (y to i).
miniature Correctly spells a three-syllable word with elided
14 9.7 13.3
(miniture) syllable -a.

Proofreading — error not identified

message Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


15 81.8 86.4
(messadge) syllable word with the ending -age.

wrist Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-


16 65.5 69.8
(rist) syllable word with the initial silent consonant w-.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 37


Item
Answer Qld% Aust% Description
no.
drafting Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-
17 73.7 81.4
(drarfting) syllable word with the long vowel -a.

nursery Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


18 52.4 56.9
(nursry) syllable homograph with an unstressed syllable.

meant Identifies an error, then correctly spells a one-


19 37.7 46
(ment) syllable word with the short vowel digraph -ea.

knuckle Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


20 41.2 45.5
(nuckle) syllable word with the initial silent consonant k-.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


scratches
21 50.2 56.2 syllable word with the inflectional ending -es,
(scratchs)
requiring no change to the base word.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a


ineffective
22 45 49.3 multisyllable word with the suffix -ive, requiring no
(ineffectave)
change to the base word.

moisture Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


23 64.1 67.7
(moysture) syllable word with the diphthong -oi.

forecast Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


24 54.8 59.5
(forecarst) syllable word with the long vowel -a.

typically Identifies an error, then correctly spells a


25 17.2 23.3
(tipically) multisyllable word with the short vowel -y.

scenery/scene Identifies an error, then correctly spells a word with


26 40.6 47.3
(senery) the initial blend sc-.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


supports
27 34.8 41.8 syllable word with the consonant doublet pp at the
(surports)
syllable juncture.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a


emptiness
28 35.7 37.2 multisyllable word with the suffix -ness requiring a
(emptyness)
change to the base word (y to i).

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-


echoes
29 19.1 20 syllable word with the inflectional ending -es,
(echos)
requiring no change to the base word.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a


severely
30 12.1 14.1 multisyllable word with the phonogram -ere in the
(severly)
base word.

Key messages for teachers


The Year 7 items are predominantly developed around syllable juncture knowledge. There are some items such as
scratches and grown that test related but earlier, within-word pattern knowledge. Both of these words required
students to add an inflectional ending to a base word without changing it, and both required the more uncommon
endings. Performance on these items was quite different. Where the misspelling for grown was identified, students
focused on the target word. Student misspellings showed that these spellers were restricted to using sound-to-
letter matching skills as their predominant spelling strategy. Students did not make the semantic link which would
help them recognise this word as a homophone. Where the misspelling was unidentified, as was the case with
scratches, the students tended to choose and misspell words other than the target word, producing misspellings of
numerous and furniture.

38 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


An analysis of the misspellings would suggest that Year 7 students are still developing their knowledge of syllable
patterns and how to use them as the basis of both spelling and proofreading strategies. The results suggest that
more than 60% of students are developing some control over closed-syllable patterns in words such as attitude or
admitted.
Other syllable patterns present more of a challenge. A common pattern for adding suffixes, i.e. change y to i) seems
to have caused particular problems with item 7 (identifies), item 13 (angrily), and item 28 (emptiness) all having
relatively low facility rates. In items 7 and 13, students often failed to use the base word as the trigger for applying
this convention. A similar pattern was evident in the errors for the unidentified word emptiness, although it was
masked by the selection of other words. The fact that a relatively stable rule such as change y-to-i proved to be so
difficult may be an indication of the need to teach students how to use this knowledge as the basis of a
proofreading strategy.
The doubling pattern associated with short vowels also presents a challenge. Analysis of the error patterns
suggests that students generally know that something has to double. Refining students’ knowledge of when two
consonants are needed and drawing their attention to consonant patterns and why they occur will help.
Words with unstressed syllables are a particular challenge for students at this part of their spelling development
with low facility rates for words like temporary. An important dimension of learning about unstressed syllables is
the consonant and vowel alternation patterns.
The syllable juncture and derivational layers of the spelling system need to be the major focus of teaching in Year
7. As they are asked to know and write more and more specialised words, it is vital that students are able to draw
upon these knowledge resources. Students who fail to develop this knowledge will not develop as spellers.

Grammar and punctuation — item descriptions and key messages


The following results are for the Grammar and punctuation component for the Year 7 Literacy test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Identifies additional information requiring brackets in a
31 C 94.2 94
simple sentence.

32 B 80.6 81.7 Identifies a redundant word in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct subordinating and coordinating


33 A 88.4 89.7 conjunctions to complete a compound/complex
sentence.

Selects the correct form of a complex verb group to


34 B 84.9 86.6
complete a compound sentence.

Identifies correct capitalisation in direct speech


35 B 82.4 84.8
including proper nouns.

Selects the correct compound verb form to complete a


36 C 75.9 78.2
conditional sentence.

37 A 69.6 71.8 Selects the correct punctuation of indirect speech.

Selects the correct conjunctive adverb to complete a


38 C 82.1 85.4
compound sentence.

Selects the correct compound verb form to complete a


39 D 67.2 72.2
simple sentence.

Identifies appropriate punctuation of speech comprising


40 D 78.1 81.8
questions and exclamations.

Identifies the incorrect use of a pronoun in a compound


41 C 42 48.2
sentence.

42 D 76.6 77.8 Interprets a phrasal verb in a simple sentence.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 39


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Selects the correct use of a comma separating place
43 C 64.5 68.8
names in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct relative pronoun to complete a


44 D 55 49
complex sentence.

45 C 49.9 54.4 Selects the correct preposition in a complex sentence.

Identifies correct use of bracketing commas to mark an


46 D 54 56.6
interruption within a simple sentence.

Selects the correct articles to complete a complex


47 B 69.8 71.4
sentence.

Selects the correct compound verb form to complete a


48 A 66.8 66.2
conditional sentence.

Selects the correct preposition to complete a simple


49 B 43.6 50.2
sentence.

Selects a plural subject to agree in person and number in


50 A 58.3 59.7
a simple sentence.

Identifies the function of an adverbial phrase providing


51 A 68 70.2
information about time.

52 D 61.6 64.5 Identifies the effect of an adverbial phrase.

Identifies the function of synonyms in a passage to avoid


53 C 46.5 50.4
repetition.

54 B 44 49.5 Identifies a question.

55 D 50.6 56.7 Identifies redundant words in a simple sentence.

Selects the correct location for a singular possessive


56 C 43.8 48.3
apostrophe in a simple sentence.

Selects a semi-colon to connect two related independent


57 C 26.2 29.9
clauses.

Key messages for teachers


NAPLAN is a test of literacy in Standard Australian English. Specifically, it is about writing rather than speaking and
about formal rather than idiomatic language. The draft F—10 Australian Curriculum: English states that, while
other varieties of English should be respected, students must master the Standard written and spoken forms used
in schooling. The difference between oral and written language, like the difference between formal and informal
idiom, should be taught explicitly. Questions such as those featuring modal verbs focus on this difference. In item
48, students chose either the correct answer A (would have) or incorrect B (would of), ignoring the other two
options. The students who chose the commonly heard but grammatically incorrect option B would be helped by
knowing that would is a modal auxiliary verb and as such needs to be accompanied by another verb. Item 39 tests
similar knowledge but also requires students to understand the verb tense by reading the whole stem sentence,
On Friday Vanessa____ been travelling for a month.
Three other items, 34, 36 and 42, test the use of verbs in compound and complex sentences. Verb tense is drawn
from the stem or option sentences. Students need to read these closely to ensure that they recognise words that
signal tense, number and subject–verb agreement. As students develop knowledge of more complex clause and
sentence structures, they will need to understand how these changes influence the verbs. Additionally, students
will benefit from exploration of the meaning changes possible through changes in modality and adverbs.

40 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 7 Literacy — Reading
Item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Reading component of the Year 7 Literacy test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Book Aid International (Persuasive text)

1 D 90.8 91.5 Identifies a technique used to encourage reader participation.

2 C 83.3 84 Identifies the purpose of an instruction.

Makes links across a text to identify directly stated


3 A 91 92.1
information.

4 D 85.8 84.6 Identifies the specific purpose of an organisation.

Explains the link between the effect of a section and the


5 * 56.2 50 overall purpose of a persuasive text.
* See SunLANDA for list of plausible responses.

6 C 67.2 64.8 Identifies the intended audience of a persuasive text.

The diver (Poem)

7 B 65.1 68.5 Interprets the imagery in a poem.

8 D 54.8 58.6 Interprets contrasting imagery in a poem.

9 A 68.4 69.8 Correctly identifies the object being referenced in a poem.

10 D 45.1 48.4 Interprets the feelings of the narrator in a poem.

11 A 69.1 72.3 Interprets a metaphor underlying a poem.

Blackberries: tasty terror (Information text)

12 D 77 78.2 Identifies a condition for a classification from a text.

13 A 77.7 77.3 Infers the relationship between two pieces of information.

14 B 71.3 72 Identifies the purpose of a list.

15 B 79.1 81.7 Identifies the main difference between two processes.

16 C 43.5 48.2 Identifies the difference in the intent of a paragraph.

17 A 61.8 66.1 Identifies a fact that is not illustrated in a diagram.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 41


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
The outsider (Narrative)

18 B 55.3 58.6 Interprets the behaviour of a character in a narrative text.

19 B 68.1 72.4 Interprets the personality of a character in a narrative text.

20 A 60.5 63.4 Identifies the dramatic effect of narrated action.

21 C 56.7 60.7 Interprets the thoughts of a character in a narrative text.

22 D 55.9 59.7 Interprets language used to construct character relationships.

The first day (Narrative)

23 C 66.2 67.8 Interprets the reason for an event from context.

24 A 44.1 47.2 Identifies the meaning of an idiomatic phrase from its context.

25 D 60.3 64.2 Infers a character’s motive.

26 B 73.2 76.3 Identifies a character’s feelings.

27 B 44.2 46.2 Interprets the motivation for a character’s behaviour.

Identifies the use of a literary technique to develop a


28 B 41.6 44.8
character.

Comets (Explanation)

29 A 77 79.6 Locates a specific piece of information in an explanation.

Identifies the specific purpose of quotation marks in a


30 A 55 58.5
scientific explanation.

Explains a cause and effect in a scientific explanation.


31 * 16.2 14.2

32 D 68.3 71.9 Interprets a specific piece of information in an explanation.

Identifies the detail in a visual representation of information in


33 B 66.5 68.7
a scientific explanation.

Identifies the intended purpose of a paragraph in a scientific


34 C 72.8 75.8
explanation.

Identifies assumed knowledge required to understand a


35 D 60.1 63.9
scientific explanation.

Salinity (Report)

36 D 35.1 37.6 Interprets information in a report.

Recognises the implications of an example in order to


37 B 52.6 54.5
understand its meaning in a report.

38 C 38.4 40.4 Recognises the implied argument in a report.

39 B 49.2 54.8 Recognises the purpose of an example in a report.

Identifies a point of view developed in a particular section of a


40 C 55.3 58
report.

Identifies the purpose of a visual representation of


41 B 59 59.2
information in a report.

42 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
42 B 34.3 37.4 Locates a specific piece of information within a report.

43 B 60.5 66.6 Identifies the intended audience of a report.

Avatar (Paired review)

Identifies the function of a rhetorical structure within one of


44 C 45.2 49.6
two paired reviews.

45 A 52.2 58.3 Interprets a phrase in one of two paired reviews.

Identifies the argument given towards a topic in one of two


46 C 27.1 31.3
paired reviews.

Contrasts opinions to identify differences between two paired


47 A 28.6 30.8
reviews.

Compares opinions to identify a similarity between two paired


48 A 27.8 31.9
reviews.

Key messages for teachers


There is a marked improvement in Year 7 student results on inferential questions. Queensland students achieved
better than Australian results in three of the six questions about Book Aid International. More Queensland
students attempted and successfully answered both open-ended questions than in previous years. Providing
opportunities for students to write short-answer responses to comprehension questions will help them to improve
further. These questions support the development of higher-order comprehension when they are framed so that
students are asked to evaluate the author’s craft, the use of language or the content of the text. Application
questions where readers are asked to apply information from the text to a new situation can also be constructed in
this way and will help develop higher-order comprehension.
The further development of inferential comprehension will continue with the systematic teaching of strategies for
making text-based and context-based inferences. Vocabulary instruction, specifically understanding figurative
language and other connotative vocabulary, as well as instruction on how to find and use cohesive links between
ideas, will help students improve in this area of comprehension.
Many questions ask students to identify the main idea. Item 39, related to the stimulus Salinity, asked students to
interpret the purpose of including the Wagga Wagga example in the text. To answer this, students first need to
understand the main idea. A focus on summarising and note-making strategies will help improve results in
questions about the main idea and the purpose of a text.
Students need to read all of the text including introductions to excerpts. These introductions should give vital
framing to the excerpt which a reader needs to contextualise the excerpt. For example, in The First Day, we are told
that Michael has been sent to the office — a nuance some readers missed that was important in understanding the
developing relationship between the principal and Michael.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 43


Year 7 Numeracy
Item descriptions and key messages
The strands are abbreviated as follows: Algebra, function and pattern (AFP); Measurement, chance and data (MCD);
Number (N); Space (S).
All items are worth one score point. These results are based on provisional data.

Calculator Allowed test


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
1 S D 84.8 85.3 Recognises a symmetrical shape.

Identifies a category with a given frequency in a


2 MCD B 94.2 95
pictogram.

Calculates the time taken to save a total given a


3 N C 90.8 90.7
simple rate.

Calculates the difference between two 4-digit


4 N D 87 86.3
numbers.

Finds the least number of coins needed to make a


5 N B 71.9 75.4
given total.

Calculates the missing value in a decimal


6 AFP A 86.5 83.1
multiplication equation.

7 AFP A 62.8 66.9 Interprets an equation involving grouping.

8 S D 63.4 55.3 Recognises a net of a pyramid.

9 MCD B 73.3 72.5 Recognises the angle closest to 140 degrees.

Interprets the units on a ruler to solve a


10 MCD C 61.2 63
measurement problem.

11 S A 57.1 60.2 Identifies side lengths that can form a triangle.

12 AFP C 60.5 60.5 Identifies the rule describing a pattern of shapes.

13 S D 47.9 51.4 Interprets a map and scale to find a location.

14 N B 48.3 52.3 Recognises a 2-digit number as prime.

Calculates and rounds a difference of decimals in


15 N C 40.5 41.6
context.

Finds the value of an unknown in a pair of simple


16 AFP B 52.5 54.9
equations.

Identifies the name of a 2D shape given some of its


17 S D 38.1 38.7
properties.

Compares and orders decimals with up to three


18 N C 53.2 50.7
decimal places.

19 MCD D 53.2 46.6 Calculates the mean of a set of prices.

20 AFP B 41.4 40.8 Matches a relationship to an informal rule.

Calculates elapsed time by converting seconds to


21 MCD A 39 39.9
minutes.

44 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Orders the size of internal angles in a
22 S A 43.6 43.4
quadrilateral.

Solves a multistep problem involving common


23 N 100 23.8 25.2
percentages.

Calculates the overall total from a frequency table


24 MCD 115 42.8 47.3
showing category data.

Matches equivalent representations of a common


25 N A 17.1 20
fraction.

26 MCD 55 23.3 24.4 Interprets and completes a two-way table.

Calculates the difference between rectangular


27 MCD 10.5 23.4 24.7
areas to solve a problem.

Interprets position and uses an informal scale to


28 S 75 21 23.9
find a distance on a grid map.

Calculates the maximum possible area of a


29 MCD 56.25 9 8.9
quadrilateral given its perimeter.

30 AFP 80 17.3 19.2 Calculates an elapsed time given a table of values.

Solves a multistep problem involving familiar


31 MCD 4 17.5 21.5
rates.

Solves a multistep problem involving changes of


32 S 125 6.5 8.3
direction.

Non-Calculator test
Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
1 MCD A 90.2 91.7 Interprets a simple column graph.

Identifies a 3D object with six faces from a


2 S A 92.5 91
diagram.

3 AFP D 86.2 85.3 Identifies division as the inverse of multiplication.

Compares and orders decimals to hundredths in a


4 N B 77.4 80.5
time context.

Finds the chance of an outcome in a simple


5 MCD D 86.5 84
experiment.

6 S A 64 62.7 Identifies a design with two lines of symmetry.

7 N C 80 83 Solves a word problem involving a factor of 32.

Calculates the area of a shape embedded on a


8 MCD B 76.3 79.2
square grid.

Interprets an unmarked scale to find a quarter of a


9 MCD B 73 74.3
litre.

Selects the statement that best describes a line


10 AFP A 64.1 68.2
graph.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 45


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Solves a multistep problem involving addition and
11 MCD C 60.1 62.9
subtraction of times.

12 N C 63.7 67.6 Finds the lowest cost by comparing familiar rates.

Matches a location by comparing plans with


13 S B 62.5 62.7
different orientations.

14 MCD C 67 72.2 Identifies the criterion used to sort data in a table.

Finds the number of hidden blocks in a stacked


15 S B 56.6 58.3
arrangement.

16 S D 63.8 65.4 Identifies a building from a different viewpoint.

Finds the position of a common fraction on a


17 N B 49.7 54
number line.

Identifies a correct expression for a 2-step area


18 AFP A 57.7 57.6
calculation.

Applies a rate to calculate the difference between


19 N C 57 56
two lengths.

Calculates a higher term in a number pattern


20 AFP 5.4 41.6 42.8
involving money.

21 S C 46.9 49 Compares tessellations of a regular hexagon.

Rounds and divides by a decimal number to


22 N C 38.3 38.5
estimate a total.

Calculates the number halfway between two


23 N D 43.9 46.4
decimals on a number line.

24 MCD 15 27.8 30.1 Solves a word problem involving elapsed times.

Identifies and applies a rule to continue a spatial


25 AFP 36 30.5 29.7
pattern.

Visualises changes to the properties of a 3D object


26 S 2 17.3 19.7
made of cubes.

Uses the distributive law to identify equivalent


27 AFP D 25.5 25.9
expressions.

Compares and orders fractions with related


28 N D 19.2 22.1
denominators.

Divides a quantity into unequal parts to satisfy


29 AFP 12 26.2 30.3
given criteria.

Uses reasoning to solve a word problem involving


30 N 10 13.5 16.8
addition.

Divides decimals that have different numbers of


31 N 1.1 9.2 10.1
decimal places.

Identifies and uses a rule to find the number of


32 MCD 12 7.2 9
shapes in a pattern.

46 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Key messages for teachers
The Year 7 students completed two papers of 32 questions for the Numeracy test. They had access to a calculator
for the first paper.

Number strand
There were 18 Number questions across the two papers. Results ranged from 91% of students correctly answering
item 3 on the Calculator Allowed (CA) test to 9% of Queensland students correctly answering item 31 on the non-
Calculator (NC) test.
Results show that around 85% of students, both in Queensland and nationally, could apply a simple rate, as seen
in item 3 CA, and calculate the difference between two four-digit numbers, item 4 CA. Approximately 80% of
students could solve a problem involving factors of 32, and approximately half of the students could recognise a
two-digit prime number, item 14 CA.
There were 14 questions on fractional thinking. These were items 15, 18, 23 and 25 on the CA paper and items 3,
4, 12, 17, 19, 22, 23, 28, and 31 on the NC paper. Fractional thinking includes common fractions, decimal
fractions, proportions and rates. Item 6 CA from the Algebra, functions and patterns strand also involved fractional
thinking.
Results for items on common fractions show that students are still developing their understanding of equivalent
fractions. About half of Queensland students were able to locate 2/3 on a number line that was divided into 12
equal parts, item 17 NC but only 20% could find the common fraction with the greatest value from a list of unlike
common fractions, item 28 NC. Likewise, when asked to express 5/6 as ninths in item 25 CA, only 18% of students
could do this.
Results for decimal fraction items show that 44% of students were able to locate the position of a decimal number
to hundredths on a number line initem 23 NC. This indicates that students’ knowledge of the place value for
decimal numbers is still developing.
Performance on the items that required calculating with decimals showed that, with a calculator, 86% of students
could find a missing value in a multiplication problem in item 6 CA. However, without a calculator, and involving a
decimal number and a decimal divisor as in item 31 NC, the Queensland facility rate fell to 9% . A review of
incorrect responses to this item showed that many students were struggling with place value, as 0.11 and 11 were
provided as responses. However, the most common incorrect responses were 1.45 or 1 r 45, demonstrating that
students did not believe they needed to divide the decimal part of the number.

Algebra, function and pattern strand


There were 12 Algebra, function and pattern questions across the two papers and results ranged from 86% of
students answering item 6 CA correctly to 18% of students answering item 30 CA correctly. Approximately two
thirds of Queensland students could interpret equations and identify a rule for a pattern. However, as the items
demanded more problem-solving strategies, all students found this more challenging, with approximately 25% of
students correctly answering item 29 NC. This item was a word problem involving dividing quantities into unequal
parts.

Measurement, chance and data strand


There were 18 questions across the two papers for this strand: 11 measurement, six data and one chance. Results
for the measurement questions show that about 74% of Queensland students could recognise an angle close to
140 degrees, item 9 CA, and 62% of them could calculate a difference using millimetres, item 10 CA. More difficult
items involved calculating areas of rectangles using perimeters, with 24% of students correctly answering item 27
CA and 9% item 29 CA. These questions were presented as word problems and involved students coming up with a
suitable strategy or method for working out a solution.
There was only one chance question, item 5 NC, and it had a facility rate of 85%. Students were able to determine
the probability of an outcome of an event when displayed in a diagram.
Results for data questions showed that most students in Queensland could interpret a simple column graph,
identify a category and frequency represented in a pictogram. More difficult data items required students to
calculate missing values in tables. The first, a frequency table (item 24 CA), had a facility rate of 43% and the
second, a two-way table presented in item 26 CA, had a facility rate of 24%. Queensland students outperformed
the rest of the country on item 19 NC, which involved calculating a mean for a set of scores. Queensland’s facility
rate was 53% compared to the national facility rate of 46%.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 47


Space strand
There were 15 questions involving spatial concepts items — 1, 11, 17, 22, 28 and 32 CA and 2, 6, 13, 15, 16, 21
and 26 NC — which fell into one of two categories: shape or transformation and location. The questions involving
shape focused on geometric properties and most students demonstrated that they could identify an object with six
faces, item 2 NC and recognise a shape with one line of symmetry, item 1 CA. About 39% of students in
Queensland and 38% of the students nationally were able recognise a 2D shape with three pairs of parallel sides,
item 17 CA.
For transformation and location questions the most challenging item for Year 7 involved degrees of turn. Only 7%
of Queensland students and 8% nationally answered correctly. This type of question has often proved difficult for
students in the past. In 2006, a similar item was on the Queensland Year 7 Numeracy test and returned a result of
17%. It may help students to draw a picture for these items to help them keep track of the changes in directions.

48 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 9 Literacy — Language conventions
Spelling — item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Spelling component of the Year 9 Literacy test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item
Answer Qld% Aust% Description
no.
Proofreading — error identified

record Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the hard


1 91.6 92.1
(reckord) consonant -c in a closed syllable pattern.

several Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the unaccented


2 87.9 86.9
(severall) syllable ending -al.

customers Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the suffix -er


3 81.3 81.5
(customors) requiring no change to the base word.

opinion Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the suffix -ion


4 75.3 77.8
(opinuin) and the i acts as a consonant.

temporary Correctly spells a multisyllable word with an unaccented


5 48.5 49.9
(tempory) medial syllable -or.

circulated Correctly spells a multisyllable word which is based on a


6 61.9 61.7
(cerculated) Latin root.

angrily Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the suffix -ly


7 35.9 37.6
(angerly) requiring a change to the base word (y to i).

approached
8 64.7 65.4 Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the digraph -oa.
(approched)

career Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the diphthong


9 61.5 66.7
(carear) phonogram -eer.

guidance Correctly spells a two-syllable word with the consonant


10 56.2 56.8
(gidance) digraph gu-.

democracy Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the etymological


11 54.2 55.6
(democrisy) element -cracy.

foreign Correctly spells a two-syllable word with etymological


12 48.5 49.5
(forein) element -reign in the unaccented syllable.

bulletin Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the unaccented


13 37.3 37.4
(bulliten) medial schwa -e and the ending -in.

innocence Correctly spells a multisyllable word with a soft -c twice in


14 27 30.4
(innosense) the second syllable.

Correctly spells a multisyllable word with the consonant


exaggerated
15 26.5 25.7 doublet -gg and a single consonant -r at the medial
(exagerrated)
syllable junctures.

Proofreading — error unidentified

moisture Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word


16 81.7 82.2
(moysture) with the diphthong -oi.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 49


Item
Answer Qld% Aust% Description
no.
forecast Identifies an error, then correctly spells a two-syllable word
17 69.8 71.3
(forecarst) with the long vowel -a.

typically Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


18 40.2 46.1
(tipically) word with the short vowel -y.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


allocated
19 54.4 56.2 word with the prefix al- forming a consonant doublet ll with
(alocated)
the base word.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


noisiest
20 56.7 60.4 word with the suffix -est requiring a change to the base
(noiyest)
word (y to i).

medicinal Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


21 59.4 59.6
(medisinal) word with the soft consonant -c.
apprentices Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable
22 49.6 53
(apprentises) word with soft -c before the plural ending.

profitable Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


23 53.3 55.7
(profitible) word with the suffix -able added to the base word.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


benefit
24 38.8 40.9 word with the schwa -e in the medial syllable and -i in the
(benifit)
final syllable.

magazine Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


25 37.4 44.5
(magizine) word with the schwa -a in the unstressed medial syllable.

laboratory Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


26 30.2 32.1
(laboratry) word with the elided syllable -o in the suffix -ory.

rehearsals Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


27 21.4 24.8
(rehersals) word with the r-controlled vowel pattern -ear.

ambitiously Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


28 30 31.3
(ambituosly) word with the ending -ious before the suffix -ly.

consistently Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


29 15.1 16.7
(consistantly) word with the primary suffix -ent.

Identifies an error, then correctly spells a multisyllable


interrupt
30 14.5 14.5 word with the consonant doublet rr at the syllable juncture
(interuppt)
and the meaning unit-rupt.

Key messages for teachers


The spelling results on these words would suggest that Year 9 students have largely mastered the straightforward
aspects of syllable-juncture knowledge, e.g. where the syllables are evenly stressed, as in record, or where the
relationship between the required spelling and the base word is obvious, as in customers. While there is a
discernable development of this knowledge on the part of the Year 9 cohort, there is still a number of students who
are yet to refine their knowledge of open and closed syllables and are yet to understand the reasons for doubling
at the syllable juncture. The error patterns on a range of words suggest a tendency to either double or undouble
something. There is a development in the spelling of words with unstressed syllables such as temporary. As one of
the more challenging aspects of the English spelling system, this needs to be supported by explicit teaching of the
strategies needed for learning, using and monitoring these aspects.
Subject area vocabulary often has strong etymology. Identifying the meaning units and connections such as
democracy, foreign, circulated, medicinal, benefit, will not only improve the range of accurate spelling but also

50 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


vocabulary. Some words such as circulated and medicinal have transparent relationships to their base words or
roots, making them easier to spell, but the error patterns suggest that those students who were unable to spell this
word failed to make the connection. Other words, such as foreign, have meaning connections that are more
opaque and need to be actively explored.
Proofreading requires students to have an organised knowledge of the spelling system and the strategies to apply
this knowledge. The level of omits for the non-identified items in particular suggests that there is a significant
body of students who need to be taught proofreading strategies.

Grammar and punctuation — item descriptions and key messages


The following results are for the Grammar and punctuation component for the Year 9 Literacy test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Selects the correct collocation of a verb and noun in a
31 C 90.7 90.5
complex sentence.

32 B 82.2 83 Identifies a redundant word in a simple sentence.

Identifies correct capitalisation in direct speech including


33 B 85.8 87.5
proper nouns.

Selects the correct compound verb form to complete a


34 C 84 84.3
conditional sentence.

35 A 78.3 79.2 Selects the correct punctuation of indirect speech.

Selects the correct conjunctive adverb to complete a


36 C 91.4 92.1
compound sentence.

Selects the correct compound verb form to complete a


37 D 78.4 78.9
simple sentence.

38 A 77.8 78.2 Identifies correct use of italics for the titles.

39 B 81.5 80 Selects the correct articles to complete a complex sentence.

Selects the correct compound verb form to complete a


40 A 68.5 68.5
conditional sentence.

Selects the correct preposition to complete a simple


41 B 67.4 68.8
sentence.

42 A 68.9 69.7 Identifies the correct meaning of an absorbed prefix.

Selects the correct location for a plural possessive


43 A 54.7 56.6
apostrophe in a complex sentence.

Selects the correct superlative adjectival form in a simple


44 B 54.2 58.3
sentence.

Identifies additional information requiring brackets in a


45 C 73.4 73.7
simple sentence.

46 A 88.3 89.5 Identifies an agent in a simple sentence in the active voice.

47 B 88.5 89.3 Identifies the noun referred to by a reflexive pronoun.

48 B 78.7 80.4 Identifies the purpose of information presented in brackets.

49 D 58.7 59.4 Identifies the function of a synonym in a passage.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 51


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
50 A 57.9 58.9 Selects the correct collocation of words in an expression.

51 A 56.6 53.2 Identifies the function of the derivational suffix -er.

52 C 46.9 48.3 Selects a correctly structured complex sentence.

Identifies the correct capitalisation of proper nouns in a


53 C 30 32.9
complex sentence.

54 D 51.5 52.6 Identifies an adjective in a simple sentence.

55 C 46.3 48.9 Selects a sentence with the correct use of articles.

Identifies the correct use of a hyphen for a compound


56 D 60.9 62
adjective.

Selects the correct plural possessive noun in a simple


57 D 29.2 29.4
sentence.

Key messages for teachers


NAPLAN is a test of literacy in Standard Australian English. Specifically, it is about writing rather than speaking,
and about formal rather than idiomatic language. Questions such as those featuring modal verbs focus on this
difference and the results confirm that this is the decision that the Year 9 students made. Students chose either the
correct answer would have or the incorrect would of, ignoring the other two options. The students who chose the
commonly heard but grammatically incorrect option would of, would be helped by knowing that would is a modal
auxiliary verb and as such needs to be accompanied by another verb.
Items at the word level, such as items 42 and 51, asked about word function, tapping into knowledge that is
related to spelling and vocabulary. These items are dependent on knowledge of the grammatical terms, so it may
be that students who chose an incorrect option did so because they didn’t know the terms. When knowledge of a
specific grammatical term, an adjective, was tested in item 54, approximately half the students were correct.
Some grammar items in particular require close reading. In some, students chose options that either made sense
or were correct if they read only part of the sentence. As a test-wiseness skill, students need to read the whole
sentence before choosing an option.
Punctuation questions feature more sophisticated use of punctuation, such as the convention of using italics for
titles and the convention of using hyphens to construct compound adjectives. Possessive apostrophes remain a
challenge.

52 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 9 Literacy — Reading
Item descriptions and key messages
The following results are for the Reading component for the Year 9 Literacy test.
These results are based on provisional data.

Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description


Marathon man to trade Kununurra for the Big Apple (Feature article)

Locates directly stated information in the first sentence of an


1 B 92 93
article.

Identifies the purpose of emotive language to build the reader’s


2 A 77.3 78.3
appreciation in an article.

3 D 85.3 86.1 Makes a simple inference from an article.

4 A 35 36.9 Identifies a person’s attitude to an event in an article.

5 C 94.3 94.5 Identifies a person’s attitude from an article.

Identifies the background knowledge required to understand the


6 C 72.4 73.3
title of an article.

Underwater fireworks (Information text)

7 A 79.9 79.1 Makes a synonymous match.

8 D 63.2 62.3 Infers a reason for an event.

9 C 84.8 83.3 Locates information.

10 B 68.5 71.9 Deduces information.

11 D 69.5 72.3 Interprets information at the end of an information text.

Identifies the relationship between graphic information and the


12 D 67.5 69.5
written text.

The first day (Narrative)

Interprets the reason for an event from context in a narrative


13 C 76.9 78.1
text.

14 A 56.4 58.8 Identifies the meaning of an idiomatic phrase from its context.

15 D 74.4 76.4 Infers a character’s motive.

16 B 87.2 87.9 Identifies a character’s feelings.

17 B 51 52.4 Interprets the motivation for a character’s behaviour.

18 B 58.2 59.1 Identifies the use of a literary technique to develop a character.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 53


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Salinity (Report)

19 D 51 53.2 Infers the meaning of a phrase in a report.

Recognises the implications of an example in order to


20 B 66.1 67.3
understand its meaning in a report.

21 C 56.6 59.1 Recognises the implied argument in a report.

22 B 65.8 69.2 Recognises the purpose of an example in a report.

Identifies a point of view developed in a particular section of a


23 C 67.1 68.2
report.

24 B 73.6 73.2 Identifies the purpose of a visual representation in a report.

25 B 52.3 54 Locates a specific piece of information within a report.

26 B 75.6 78.3 Identifies the intended audience of a report.

Mort’s dog Blue (Narrative)

27 C 65.8 67.4 Interprets a character’s role in a narrative extract.

28 D 74.2 77.1 Interprets a character’s beliefs in a narrative extract.

29 A 26.4 27.8 Recognises a self-deprecating comment in a narrative extract.

30 B 45.5 47.4 Links ideas across the text in a narrative extract.

31 C 62.2 64.7 Recognises the effect of a literary device in an narrative extract.

Interprets a character’s response during a discussion in an


32 D 66 69.5
narrative extract.

Where on Earth are you? (Feature article)

33 2, 4, 3, 1 22.3 23.1 Sequences information implied in a feature article.

34 B 71.6 73.5 Identifies the connotation of a figurative phrase.

35 C 57 60.2 Categorises activities mentioned in a feature article.

36 B 47.5 50.1 Specifies purpose of supporting evidence in a feature article.

37 D 29.8 30.8 Specifies purpose of supporting evidence in a feature article.

38 A 35 35.8 Recognises the premise of an argument in a feature article.

The living night (Narrative)

39 C 48.4 50.4 Identifies an implied reason for a feeling in a narrative text.

40 C 37.8 40.8 Identifies the reason for a list of species in a narrative text.

41 A 25.9 28.4 Identifies the meaning of a metaphor in a narrative text.

42 A 51.4 53.5 Identifies the meaning of a metaphor in a narrative text.

43 D 39.4 40.4 Identifies the writer’s perspective in a narrative text.

Identifies the presentation of a group of people in an narrative


44 C 43.7 46.3
text.

54 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Inventing daylight saving (Persuasive text)

45 A 49.4 51.6 Infers the social context of a formal argument.

46 C 35.6 38.2 Identifies two responses to a position in an argument.

47 C 26.9 29.1 Identifies qualifying elements in a statement in an argument.

Explains the main idea of a paragraph in a formal argument.


48 * 7.4 10
*See SunLANDA for list of plausible responses.

Infers a writer’s general opinion from a specific instance in a


49 D 38.2 40
formal argument.

50 D 44.8 48.1 Identifies the structure of an argument in a formal argument.

Key messages for teachers


The difference between the performance of Queensland Year 9 students and the national cohort is marginal.
Queensland students performed slightly better on three items of medium difficulty: Question 8, which involved
making an inference, and Questions 9 and 24, which involved comprehending multistep descriptions.
This year a much lower percentage of students omitted questions. Notably, there was a very low omission rate on
Question 33, the first of the constructed-response format items. This asked students to number boxes to show a
sequence of events described in a text. Unfortunately, 13% of students omitted the second constructed-response
item, Question 48, which required them to write a sentence. Students found both questions very difficult. The use
of constructed response in class work would support students’ confidence and develop their skills with these types
of questions. As these questions support higher-order thinking and comprehension, they are likely to support
learning in different subject areas.
Many of the difficult items on this year’s test required students to recognise statements that correctly summarise
or describe parts of a text. Some statements translate an aspect of the text into more general terms, e.g.
Question 33. Others statements require students to draw inferences from the text, e.g. Question 21, which asks
students to infer the reason for listing the diverse effects of salinity, and Question 38, which requires them to infer
why a topic is urgent. Still others describe text functions or features, e.g. Question 50, which requires students to
recognise an author’s method of treating opposing arguments. Clearly, these questions involve more than simple
comprehension of explicitly stated ideas in the text; they require students to think about how the text presents
ideas and why an author chooses one presentation over another. Therefore the teaching message for Year 9 is
similar to that given for Years 5 and 7: focus on how to analyse the question being asked and how to summarise
and draw inferences from texts. To do so requires students to know and understand the language (terms and
categories) used when analysing texts.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 55


Year 9 Numeracy
Item descriptions and key messages
In this table, the numeracy strands are abbreviated as follows: Algebra, function and pattern (AFP); Measurement,
chance and data (MCD); Number (N); Space (S).
All items are worth one score point. These results are based on provisional data.

Calculator Allowed test


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
1 S C 94.8 94.9 Recognises the names of common 2D shapes.

2 N D 91.5 92.3 Interprets a pictorial representation of a fraction.

Calculates the missing value in a decimal


3 AFP A 90.5 89.5
multiplication equation.

4 S B 86.9 86 Identifies a shape from given angle properties.

5 MCD B 92.5 92.9 Estimates a key percentage on an unmarked scale.

6 S A 85.2 83.7 Visualises the result of a single flip of an object.

Recognises algebraic expression for surface area


7 AFP C 72.3 72.8
of a prism.

8 N B 60.8 64.2 Rounds an 8-digit number to the nearest million.

Interprets the plan of a structure to identify a


9 S A 73.6 74.9
specified view.

10 AFP C 72.4 72.5 Identifies the rule describing a pattern of shapes.

Calculates the dimensions of another arrangement


11 S B 63.7 66
of prisms.

Identifies area as the measurement attribute for a


12 MCD D 75.4 76.1
given situation.

Uses a ratio scale and converts between units to


13 S B 53.7 53.9
find a length.

14 AFP B 63.2 65 Substitutes a value into a quadratic equation.

Calculates and rounds a difference of decimals in


15 N C 59.4 60.6
context.

16 MCD D 57.7 57.2 Calculates the mean of a set of prices.

17 N D 49.5 52.1 Uses proportional reasoning to find a capacity.

Finds the mass of an empty object, given its mass


18 AFP 1200 52 54.1
when full and half full.

Orders the size of internal angles in a


19 S A 55 56
quadrilateral.

20 MCD D 47.4 49.7 Uses a frequency table to calculate a probability.

Identifies the percentage closest in value to a


21 N C 36.3 41.7
common fraction.

56 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Matches a table of values to the corresponding
22 AFP B 52.2 52.8
algebraic rule.

Identifies dimensions for a rectangular prism given


23 MCD D 38.1 39.1
its volume and height.

Matches equivalent representations of a common


24 N A 24.7 28.3
fraction.

Calculates the distance travelled by an object


25 MCD D 29.8 29.4
moving in a circle with a given radius.

26 N A 37 37.93 Calculates and orders the unit costs of products.

Calculates the maximum possible area of a


27 MCD 56.25 14 15.2
quadrilateral given its perimeter.

28 AFP 80 29.2 31 Calculates an elapsed time given a table of values.

Calculates the amount of produce needed to meet


29 AFP 60 23 27.4
monthly costs.

30 N 2 21.4 23.8 Solves a multistep problem involving a ratio.

Solves an area problem involving conversion of


31 MCD 1189 5.7 6.5
units of length.

Uses geometric reasoning to calculate interior


32 S 86, 94 17.9 22.3
angles in an isosceles trapezium.

Non-Calculator test
Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
1 S C 81 79.7 Matches compass directions to a given path.

Calculates and orders the differences in a set of


2 N D 81.9 83.3
paired integers.

Visualises the components of a square-based


3 S A 79.6 78.8
pyramid.

Compares and orders decimals to hundredths in a


4 N B 86.1 87.1
time context.

5 N C 83.9 85.1 Solves a word problem involving a factor of 32.

Matches the face of a 3D object to the


6 S B 73.4 72.9
corresponding face on its net.

Solves a word problem involving time zones and


7 MCD A 79.8 81.1
elapsed time.

Selects the statement that best describes a line


8 AFP A 76.5 78.3
graph.

9 AFP C 83.2 83.9 Applies a rule to find the next term in a pattern.

Solves a multistep problem involving addition and


10 MCD C 74.8 75.1
subtraction of times.

11 S D 76.1 77.1 Identifies a building from a different viewpoint.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 57


Item no. Strand Answer Qld% Aust% Description
Finds the position of a common fraction on a
12 N B 60.4 63
number line.

Identifies a correct expression for a 2-step area


13 AFP A 72.1 73.7
calculation.

Identifies the algebraic expression that matches a


14 AFP D 62.8 64.5
practical situation.

15 S C 56.8 59 Compares tessellations of a regular hexagon.

Calculates the sum of two capacities expressed in


16 MCD D 60.9 58.2
different units.

Identifies the effect of additional data on a data


17 MCD A 48.5 48.2
set.

Rounds and divides by a decimal number to


18 N C 46.3 46.9
estimate a total.

Finds the sum of three numbers by solving


19 AFP 145 58 60.3
informal simultaneous equations.

20 MCD A 54.7 54.5 Calculates elapsed time in hours and minutes.

21 MCD D 46.2 50.2 Solves a problem by interpreting a two-way table.

Identifies an impossible combination of properties


22 S B 49.9 50.5
of a triangle.

Recognises the correct expression for finding a


23 AFP D 39 40.3
total cost.

24 N D 38.7 40.5 Solves a word problem involving a ratio.

25 N 4 27.3 29.2 Applies logical reasoning to solve a word problem.

Recognises the scientific notation of a 10-digit


26 N B 29.3 29.6
number.

Divides a quantity into unequal parts to satisfy


27 AFP 12 34.3 38.2
given criteria.

28 MCD 86 23.1 27.8 Calculates the area of a compound shape.

Applies angle properties of common shapes to


29 S 30 20.3 23
determine the size of an angle.

Solves a word problem involving proportions, area


30 N 500 15.3 17.8
and metric units.

Calculates average speed given distances and


31 MCD 15 8.3 10.1
times.

Uses geometric reasoning to find the angle of


32 S 18 10.7 12.9
rotation in a complex design.

58 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Key messages for teachers

Number strand
Of the 64 questions on the Year 9 Numeracy tests, 17 were from the Number strand. These assessed concepts
relating to representations of numbers, fractional understandings (common, decimal and percentage),
proportional reasoning and problem-solving strategies. The facility rates for these questions ranged from 15–91%
for Queensland students and 18–92% nationally.
More than half the students in Queensland were able to:
• identify a pictorial representation of a fraction
• order decimals to hundredths in a time context
• calculate the differences between decimal numbers and between pairs of negative numbers
• solve a problem involving factors of a two-digit number
• round an eight-digit number to the nearest million.
Problems involving ratio and proportion, items 30, and 24 on the Calculator Allowed (CA) test and items 24 and 30
on the Non-Calculator (NC) test, continue to challenge students. The most difficult of these was item 30 NC with a
facility rate of 15%, which tested students’ ability to solve a problem involving proportion, area and metric units.
As in past years, using scientific notation was challenging with only 30% of students doing this accurately. Also
challenging were those questions dealing with percent. Fewer than 40% of Queensland students were able to
identify the percentage closest to a given fraction, item 21 CA.

Algebra, function and pattern strand


There were 14 questions from this strand spread across the two tests, which assessed students’ understandings of
equations, expressions and equivalence, functions, algebraic graphs, patterns, and relationships.
More than 70% of the cohort could apply a rule to determine the next term in a number pattern, identify the rule for
a pattern of shapes, and recognise the correct expression for a two-step area calculation.
Approximately 60% of students were able to substitute accurately into a quadratic equation, item 14 CA. This was
a positive results as this type of question has caused difficulties in the past.
Students found it more difficult to match algebraic expressions to practical situations. For example, for item 23 NC,
only 33% of Queensland students correctly answered a problem involving the cost of concert tickets.
The cupcake question, item 27 NC, in which students had to divide a quantity into unequal amounts to satisfy
given criteria, was answered correctly by approximately 30% of Year 9 Queensland students. However, Year 7
students’ results for the same item had a facility rate of 26%. It is possible that students have solved this question
using a guess-and-check strategy rather than with algebra.

Measurement, Chance and Data Strand


There were three questions about time and these were answered correctly by more than half the cohort. It is
interesting that students found the question involving time zones, item 7 NC, easier than the one about the length
of a bus trip in Queensland, item 20 NC.
Questions involving area, perimeter and volume proved more challenging. Thirty-eight percent of students
correctly identified the dimensions of a rectangular prism when given its volume and height, but only 30% of
students were able to calculate a distance based on the circumference of a circle, item 25 CA.
Item 27 on the Calculator test challenged students’ understandings of perimeter and area, as well as their
knowledge of quadrilaterals. Fourteen percent of Queensland students and 15% nationally recognised that the
maximum possible area was in a square with the given perimeter. Many students interpreted the perimeter as the
side of the shape.
Confusion between area and perimeter was also evident in responses to item 28 NC. In response to being asked to
find the area of a compound shape given most side lengths, many students gave the perimeter as their answer.
Twenty-three percent of Queensland students answered this correctly.
The most difficult question for this strand was item 31 NC which involved calculating an average speed from three
given distances and times. Only 8% of Queensland students provided the correct answer. The most common
incorrect response was the average of the three times, possibly signalling a misreading of the question.
Other data questions on the Non-Calculator test required students to solve a problem by interpreting data in a two-
way table, item 21 NC, and to identify the effect of an outlier on a small set of data, item 17 NC.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 59


The facility rates for these questions were 46% and 47% respectively.
Fewer than half of the Queensland students demonstrated that they could accurately interpret and use a frequency
table to identify probability expressed as a decimal. The most popular incorrect error indicates that more than
three in 10 students may not yet understand the concept of probability.

Space
Questions from this strand assessed students’ understandings of shape names and properties, drawings and
constructions, location, and transformation.
Students found these questions relatively easy with facility rates between 54% and 95% for most of the space
items. The easiest questions were those that assessed the properties of shapes and simple transformations.
Visualisation is a key element of spatial understanding and it was encouraging that more than 70% of students
answered those items correctly. It seems likely from an analysis of incorrect responses for item 15 NC that
inaccurate reading of the question, about four smaller shapes tessellating three times in a hexagon, may have
resulted in many students providing an incorrect response.
Two questions tested knowledge of the internal angels of 2D shapes. In item 29 NC, students had to calculate the
size of a marked angle. Twenty percent of students answered this correctly; however approximately 10% of
students did not attempt this question. Item 32 CA, which tested knowledge of the internal angles of a trapezium,
also had a high omit rate (13%). Of those who attempted this, 18% of Queensland students were correct.

60 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Literacy — Writing test commentary

Too much money is


spent on toys and games
People like to play with toys and games to have fun and
to relax.
Some people think that too much money is spent on toys
and games. They think the money could be used for more
important things.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?
Perhaps you can think of ideas for both sides of this topic.
Write to convince a reader of your opinions.
šStart with an introduction. An introduction lets a reader
know what you are going to write about.
šWrite your opinions on this topic.
Give reasons for your opinions. Explain your reasons for
your opinions.
šFinish with a conclusion. A conclusion sums up your
reasons so that a reader is convinced of your opinions.
Remember to:
šfbWdoekhmh_j_d]
šY^eei[oekhmehZiYWh[\kbbojeYedl_dY[Wh[WZ[h
of your opinions
šmh_j[_di[dj[dY[i
šfWoWjj[dj_edjeoekhif[bb_d]WdZfkdYjkWj_ed
ški[fWhW]hWf^ijeeh]Wd_i[oekh_Z[Wi
šY^[YaWdZ[Z_joekhmh_j_d]ie_j_iYb[Wh\ehWh[WZ[h$

Task description
Students in all four tested year levels (3, 5, 7 and 9) were given the same prompt (stimulus page) containing a
topic and instructions. They were asked to write a maximum of three pages “on demand” in response. Their
teachers read the prompt aloud and students had five minutes to plan independently, 30 minutes to write, and five
minutes to edit their response.
For the first time, the NAPLAN writing test did not require students to write a story. Instead, they were instructed to
write to convince [to persuade] a reader to agree with their opinions on the proposition that too much money is
spent on toys and games. The option of supporting both the negative and positive is allowed. They were instructed
to create a text with a specific structure: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. They were told to state their
opinion and explain reasons. These instructions about structure and content strongly prescribe a response in the
form of an argumentative essay and rule out, for example, stories that contain a “message”. Finally, the prompt
text supplies a checklist of prose-writing basics. Unlike the topic, the instructions and the checklist, which
students must comply with, the photographs on the page are only suggestions to stimulate ideas.

Marking
The task was marked using the nationally agreed Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) rubric,
the Persuasive writing marking guide. Markers were trained in how to apply the rubric. Indications of the way the
rubric is applied can be found in the notes and exemplar scripts in this handbook and in the marking guide itself.
Markers worked from a revised version of the marking guide, which expanded on the school’s version that had
previously been published on the ACARA website. Some amendments were made to the wording of the criteria in
that original version. These changes have implications for the scoring. The updated version is expected to be
published on the ACARA website after the release of the NAPLAN results. A new scale has been developed for this
task, that means that the this year’s results cannot be compared with those from previous years.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 61


Performance on assessable criteria

Prompt compliance
Judgment of compliance to the prescribed genre and topic was not a separate marking criterion in the 2011
marking guide. Rather, compliance was judged within other criteria. If students failed to write a persuasive essay
(e.g. if they wrote a story) they did not meet the requirements for high scores in the criterion Text structure.
Similarly, the high scores in the Audience and Persuasive devices criteria could not apply to genres other than
persuasive texts. If students failed to respond to the topic of toys, games or spending, they could score no better
than 1 in the Ideas criterion. This punished pre-prepared scripts, even if they contained excellent ideas. Writing
was also judged compliant to the topic if it responded directly to the photographs or to specific words, such as
relax, in the text on the prompt. If a student made intentionally idiosyncratic and unexpected interpretations, they
were still compliant; in fact, they may have been demonstrating greater skill.
If markers believe a script has been copied word-for-word from a published source, QSA investigates the possible
plagiarism. However, “originality” is not a marking criterion.

Audience
Skill focus: the writer’s capacity to orient, engage and persuade the reader

What students did well


Almost all students understood that they were not to write stories. Even very young students were able to state an
opinion about the topic. Most were also able to assert some reasons for their opinion. More skilled writers
provided details that made their views clear for the reader. They also become increasingly able to inject a sense of
their personality and voice through the language they used.
The best writers chose a specific audience. They pitched their argument to those readers and tried to build a
relationship with them. They selected reasons, examples and evidence that were most likely to appeal to the
values and interests of their target audience.
Some students, despite the adult tone of the topic and its wording, wrote as a child to other children, but most
either pretended to be adults writing to adults or wrote as children offering advice to adults. The sample Year 3
script in this handbook is a precocious address both to “we children” and “you parents”. The sample Year 5 script
is written to adults by a child showing an appropriate mix of confidence and deference. The Year 7 sample is a rare
instance of a successful attempt to pretend to be an adult writing to adults, while the Year 9 sample script
constructs people of all ages as united in our common human need to play.

Next steps for focused teaching


Two misunderstandings about an appropriate reader–writer relationship were clearly seen in many scripts. Some
students could only use commands and insults to “shout” at the reader to agree with them. Other students made
the mistake of writing informatively rather than persuasively. They explained and informed without making it clear
that they had an opinion with which the reader was supposed to agree.
To improve students’ skills in this and other aspects of persuasive writing, teachers should help them to learn from
the practices of skilled writers. When they read these examples of persuasive texts, help them to identify the social
and publishing context for writing persuasively and the techniques used to establish the authorial position and
engage the reader. Providing students with contexts and issues that they can write passionately about will give
them opportunities to use these persuasive techniques.

Text structure
Skill focus: organisation of the structural components of a persuasive text (introduction, body and conclusion) into
an appropriate and effective text structure

What students did well


Markers noted in most student writing the effect of focused teaching of a schematic text structure, i.e. one which
contains a summary in the introduction, two or three body paragraphs (each signposted with ordinal words, firstly,
secondly, thirdly, etc.) and a conclusion that is virtually identical to the introduction. The best that can be said
about this formula is that it fitted the minimum requirements set out in the task instructions and some students
were able to elaborate each component of the schema to score 2 in this criterion.

62 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


The students who earned the higher scores for structure, however, were those who did not rely on formulaic
structures. They were able to take the reader from a true beginning to a true completion. Instead of a list structure,
the best scripts used one or more of the effective, conventional, top-level structures and their associated
connective words and phrases (see below). Because of this, they were also more likely to earn high scores in the
criteria of Ideas, Cohesion and Sentence structure.

Next steps for focused teaching


Explain “top-level structures” to students. These structures include cause and effect, comparison and contrast,
exemplification, positive (for) and negative (against), refutation, cumulation and order of importance. At the same
time, teach the range of connective words and phrases that signpost these relationships (see comments below
under Cohesion). Help students to recognise these structures in published texts. Show them how skilled,
persuasive writers interpret and refine the topic to show what is at stake, then develop the steps in their thinking
until the conclusion emerges as a call for action or agreement.

Ideas
Skill focus: selection, relevance and elaboration of ideas for a persuasive argument

What students did well


Most students complied with the topic by attempting to link toys and games with spending in some way. Younger
writers could list enough positive or negative effects of toys and games to earn a score of 2 or 3 in this criterion.
Students with developing skills often appealed to parents to either “lighten up” and “give kids a break” or to get
tough for the good of their children.
Even very young writers can learn how to elaborate their ideas, as can be seen in the sample Year 3 script in this
handbook. Amongst the younger students, those who could marshal more ideas and details tended to be those
who interpreted the topic appropriately for their age level, i.e. they chose to write as if the proposition was that
toys and games are overpriced or that children get too many of them or that toys are bad. These are genuine
arguments that children have heard and that they have opinions about. By contrast, those who tried to agree with
the literal words of the topic usually made absurd guesses about more important things to spend money on. Many
claimed, for example, that families are dying of thirst or hunger because they spend too much on toys.
Similarly, older students did best when they interpreted the topic as allowing them to give their views on the
genuine public debate about whether children spend too much time on sedentary, isolated and escapist leisure
activities. This also allowed them to pursue their ideas into the wider issues of community values and issues such
as education and physical and mental growth and health.
An essential element of the best persuasive writing is the use of evidence. Naturally, in test conditions, students
cannot refer to sources for facts and figures but the best students chose wisely to build their arguments around
examples and facts that they already knew well and to make reasonable and plausible generalisations. They used,
for example, personal anecdotes about their own experience as consumers or general truths about income
disparity, budgeting principles or human nature from their general knowledge. Students who invented
percentages and pretended to cite sources rarely did so plausibly. The sample Year 9 script published in this
handbook uses this dubious tactic and it sounds a false note in an otherwise confident piece of writing. Nor is this
tactic necessary if students know how to make plausible and qualified statements (e.g. I am aware that studies
have suggested …). Usually, honesty and authenticity is best for effective writing.

Next steps for focused teaching


To earn higher scores in this criterion, students must know how to move beyond making an assertion and one or
two sketchy reasons. To do this, they must develop the skills of thinking discussed under the Text structure and
Paragraphing criteria.
To help them to elaborate ideas, teach students how to plan an argument. First they need to read a stimulus and
decide on a position. Then they write WHAT they will argue (the key things they know to support this position). They
then plan to write WHY (a few reasons for each key point) and, finally, tell HOW they know this or can prove this
(evidence).
Older writers should learn how to restate and answer opinions that conflict with their own. Very noticeably rare
even amongst the better scripts was a development of ideas through the refutation of opposing arguments.
This, in turn, is probably explained by the widespread teaching of a formulaic text structure in which students have
been coached to give their own opinion followed by three reasons. This leaves no room for the kind of elaboration

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 63


of ideas, including the refutation of opposing ideas, that is necessary to engage and convince a reader.
Students hit a dead end if they carelessly generate absurd ideas. Teachers should help students to value ideas that
make sense and stand up to a test of reasonableness.

Persuasive devices
Skill focus: use of a range of devices to enhance the writer’s position and persuade the reader

What students did well


Younger writers mostly used simple devices such as making personal statements of belief, asserting cause/effect
relationships and using modals (should, must, ought ). Better writers were able to persuade in more subtle ways.
They gave reasons that would be meaningful to their implied audience, and led them to agree by appealing to their
values and interests and using evaluative words. The best writers patterned their language to draw readers along.
One such pattern can be seen used with some effect in the sample scripts for Years 5 and 7 in this handbook. Both
these scripts use a recurring paragraph structure that ends with a rhetorical question. Although repetition and
direct address to the reader are conventional rhetorical techniques, they can fall flat if they are used schematically
or formalistically.
Although effective canvassing and refutation of opposing arguments were rare, many students realised that
disparagement of opposing ideas can be used as a persuasive technique. They would, for example, call the
proposition that “too much money is spent” an outrageous idea.
Fortunately, although the task instructions allowed students to give both sides of the topic, most did not do so.
This was a wise choice because that approach does not suit the use of persuasive language.

Next steps for focused teaching


Comments under the criteria Audience and Text structure can suggest where teaching should be focused to
increase persuasive skills. Refer also to the resources on persuasive writing on the QSA’s NAPLAN web pages.

Vocabulary
Skill focus: the range and precision of contextually appropriate language choices

What students did well


The selection of words that present a point of view is essential in persuasive writing. A positive or negative
position can be implied by the choice of words used when discussing it. Some forms of persuasive text use highly
emotive language, while others develop an argument in precise and formal words.
Many students realised that they needed to use evaluative adjectives and modal verbs, e.g. must, should, could.
Many also strived to use specific words from the fields of health and psychology that are often associated with
debates about the effects of games on education and child development. To their credit, some also tried to create
a “grown-up” persona for their implied author by using formal-sounding diction. Even if this resulted in some
incorrect usage, it could count towards a score for Audience and Spelling.

Next steps for focused teaching


For argument writing, students need to be taught the special terms used to describe argumentation and rhetoric,
such as prove, fallacy, logical, refute, criticise, valid, analogy and so on. These terms will help students to describe
their own argument and to criticise opposing opinions.
Beck, McKeown and Kucan describe vocabulary in terms of tiers. Tier-one words are those learned by students
through everyday interaction. Tier-two words are those of a mature, literate person and tier-three words are
domain-specific, technical words. Beck et al. recommend a teaching focus on tier-two words for students’
vocabulary growth. These are the words that allow students to specify.

Cohesion
Skill focus: control of multiple threads and relationships across the text, achieved through the use of referring
words, ellipses, text connectives, substitutions and word associations

64 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


What students did well
There was greater use of simple conjunctions by younger writers. Pronoun referencing was improved in many
scripts this year. Students also usually managed to write at some length, which gave them a chance to earn higher
scores in this criterion.

Next steps for focused teaching


The teachable aspects of cohesive writing include the use of conjunctions, the control of verb tense across an
extended text, the use of the vocabulary that establishes connections (lexical cohesion) and the correct use of
pronoun referencing.
As mentioned above in comments about Text structure, students should not rely too much on the use of
connectives such as firstly, secondly, thirdly, to relate ideas. This technique is mainly useful where the writer needs
to explain steps and stages in a process or sequence. If connectives such as firstly, secondly, thirdly are used to
mean no more than “here is another paragraph”, then they reduce more than they increase cohesion.
Instead, texts should be structured using the conventional “top-level structures”, also mentioned above in
comments on Text structure. The relationships between their ideas will be signposted with a range of precise
conjunctions, adverbs and adverbial clauses. These will show relationships of : conditionality (if, in cases where,
assuming that, although), similarity and equivalence (in other words, moreover, furthermore, equally, in the same
way, like, similarly), contrast, difference and contradiction (admittedly, on the other hand, unlike, by contrast,
while, however, on the contrary), cause, consequence, effect, reason and purpose (because, for that reason,
therefore, consequently, in order that, so that, due to these factors, as a result), priority and hierarchy (primarily,
centrally, most importantly, crucially), exemplification and inclusion (thus, for example, such as, in this way, in
addition, specifically, after all), exclusion (despite the fact that, apart from, nevertheless, albeit, regardless), and
chronology (meanwhile, as, subsequently, formerly).
The ability to nominalise verbs will help students to stay on topic and to develop it. For example, having
established that an opinion “confuses issues”, the writer can nominalise “this confusion of issues” and make
further points about it. This is one way to exploit lexical cohesion, the linkages that occur by using words precisely.
The teaching of verb tense is also important to help students maintain cohesion in any extended prose. Persuasive
writing is often framed in simple present tense (e.g. “People believe ... but I say ...”). However, students will also
need to refer to events that have occurred in the past and describe what might happen in the future.
Even some older students struggled with more difficult pronoun referencing such as referencing plurals (toys ... it).
Planned explicit instruction across the years of schooling is essential even for basics such as pronouns because
the complexity of grammar in more advanced writing throws up new challenges.

Paragraphing
Skill focus: the segmenting of text into paragraphs that assist the reader to follow the line of argument

What students did well


Even very young students were usually able to separate their introduction from the rest of the text and to cluster
ideas. At the middle levels, many students were also able to create paragraphs with internal structure. For
example, they might make a statement such as Games are bad for health and follow it with a sentence telling why
and another sentence giving an example. This was enough to earn a score of 2 out of the 3 available for this
criterion in 2011. The best writers earned a full score of 3 by using paragraphs to show the underlying, cumulative
nature of their extended text.

Next steps for focused teaching


Well-paragraphed text helps a reader to read fluently and follow the steps in extended thinking. Teachers can
show students how and why skilled writers divide their texts into paragraphs by using a cut-up exercise in which
the sentences within a paragraph are rearranged, or sentences from separate paragraphs are swapped, or
paragraphs are presented in a scrambled order. The resulting confusion shows that paragraph clustering and
internal structuring have a purpose.
Understanding how paragraphs work also helps the writer to plan and structure the whole text. Students can be
asked to change the order of paragraphs in their own writing after paragraph sign posting words (e.g. first, next )
have been removed. If the changed order does NOT much change the meaning of the text, then the text probably
lacks a good underlying structure of thinking.

Queensland Studies Authority 2011 | 65


Sentence structure
Skill focus: the production of grammatically correct, structurally sound and meaningful sentences

What students did well


This writing task required more complex sentences. The use of reported speech (main plus projected clause) and
clauses beginning with because and if were common at all year levels. Older students attempted multiple-clause
sentences, sentences with finite and infinite verbs and short simple sentences for effect. Verb tense consistency
within sentences was much better this year.

Next steps for focused teaching


Younger students tended to begin ungrammatically due to a tendency to negate or affirm the proposition without
changing its wording, e.g. I agree with too much money is being spent . Many scripts contained sentences using
too much incorrectly, e.g. If you buy too much toys and games you will waste money.
Subject–verb agreement becomes difficult for older students as they experiment with placing the subordinate
clause in the theme position or with nominalisation and longer noun groups. Explicit instruction on subject–verb
agreement needs to be planned when students start to use these more complex subject–predicate structures.
Unfortunately, the lack of appropriate sentence punctuation can sometimes render a student’s more ambitious
sentences incorrect.
The teaching focus for persuasive writing should be on the sophisticated clause structures that correspond with
the subordinating conjunctions that show logic and reasoning, e.g. provided that, whenever it is the case that, in
order to. Students also need further work on choosing the appropriate conjunction. For example, so must be used
only where there is a true consequence relationship. Similarly, the conjunction and shows only an addition
relationship so it is not adequate to replace so.
Many students still do not know that modal verbs need another verb with them — e.g. must have not must of;
should have not should of. As well as this being a frequent error in the writing test, items featuring this error occur
on the Language conventions papers, so it is well worth teaching.

Punctuation
Skill focus: correct use of appropriate punctuation to aid in the reading of the text

What students did well


Even very young students mostly showed they could punctuate the boundaries of basic sentences (capitalising the
first word and providing a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark at the end). More students were able to
maintain accuracy of punctuation through to the end of their writing.

Next steps for focused teaching


Punctuation marks out the semantic boundaries in the text. It helps a reader make connections between ideas and
recognise where one thread finishes and another begins. Correct punctuation needs to be developed as a habit of
mind and action for each writer. Teachers should establish realistic but rigorous expectations regarding the
punctuation of students’ written work so that students can be their own final editors.
Sentence-level punctuation needs to be re-taught at intervals. As sentences become more complex, particularly
those with many and/or different types of clauses, students can lose control of sentence boundaries and misuse or
omit commas. This should be seen as a sign of growth and students should be helped to re-establish control.
Punctuation needs to be re-taught at the same time that students learn to construct these more complicated
sentences.
The use of apostrophes to show possession or contraction is an aspect of word knowledge that is marked under
the criterion of Punctuation rather than Spelling. Repeated errors in using, for example, your for you’re and peoples
for people’s reduce the punctuation score. These errors often still occur in the writing of Year 7 and Year 9 students.
As an exercise, teachers should have students read their work aloud and then have someone else, a teacher or a
writing partner, read aloud a text in which the punctuation has been intentionally misused or omitted. This
exercise shows how punctuation really sounds and how punctuation helps writers to get their meaning across.

66 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Spelling
Skill focus: accuracy of spelling and the difficulty of the words used

What students did well


Even very young students could usually provide enough examples of short and commonly-seen words to earn a
score of 3. Many students also succeeded in or made a genuine and intelligent attempt at correctly spelling the
more technical words or formal latinate words that they chose to use.

Next steps for focused teaching


Younger students will benefit from developing writing stamina and planning for writing. Low-scoring scripts were
often too short to provide enough words to score beyond 2 for the spelling criterion. To get a high score, students
need to use many words with difficult and challenging spelling. In order to learn and to use the words that improve
scores in Vocabulary and Spelling, therefore, students should explore broad and deep issues in their writing. This
will also earn high scores in the Ideas criterion.
For students, a key decision is about whether or not to use vocabulary that they cannot spell. Teachers should
advise students that, for the most part, the spelling in the writing should be correct. It is important not to have
many bad errors as this affects the readability of the text. However, this should not discourage students from using
more effective vocabulary, even if the spelling is difficult.
There are students in all year levels who struggle to spell high-frequency words, including common homophones
such as there/their/they’re, two/too/to, here/hear, through/threw. Errors in high-frequency words must be
corrected as soon as possible so that students do not write the incorrect spelling habitually. Furthermore, the
spelling of common homophones is the basis for learning the spelling–meaning dimension of the spelling system.
Word study and word-building activities will help students understand the spelling–meaning connection. Often
these activities can be developed as part of vocabulary lessons.
Too many students use spellings such as opend or walkt. They must learn that the spelling of inflected endings
such as -ed tends to remain stable regardless of pronunciation. When they add these sorts of affixes, they need to
pay attention to the visual pattern and use their orthographic knowledge, rather than listen to sound.

References
Beck, IL, McKeown, MG & Kucan, L 2008, Creating robust vocabulary: Frequently asked questions and extended
examples, The Guilford Press, New York.
Calkins, L 2006, Units of study for teaching writing, Heinemann, Portsmouth NH.
Christie, F & Dreyfus, S 2007, “Letting the Secret Out: Successful writing in secondary English”, Australian Journal
of Language and Literacy, 30 (3), pp. 235–47.
Derewianka, Beverly (2006 ), A grammar companion for primary teachers, Primary English Teaching Association,
Newtown, NSW.
Ray, KW & Laminack, LL 2001, The Writing Workshop: Working through the hardparts (and they’re all hardparts),
NCTE, Urbana IL.
Routman, R 2005, Writing Essentials: Raising expectations and results while simplifying teaching, Heinemann,
Portsmouth NH.

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Writing task sample
Year 3 — I really like toys

68 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 3 — (continued)

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Year 3 — I really like toys
Audience 4
The text attempts to engage and persuade the audience with a clear statement of personal opinion, I really like
toys, and then a call to the reader, What about you? It addresses parents from the perspective of we, the
children, shown in the phrases we have toys, our friends. Parents are addressed personally, e.g. you parents,
toys that you adored when you were young, and as particular groups of parents, e.g. These parents who don’t let
us have toys. This shows an emerging understanding of author’s voice coming through the writing.

Text structure 3
The introductory paragraph clearly presents the writer’s position and foreshadows three points of argument.
Each body paragraph develops one of the points. The issues of loneliness and fairness have some effective
reasoning. The issue of toys being cheap is argued with evidence and example. The closing paragraph draws
together all three issues and concludes with a command to have fun shopping at the next toy sale.

Ideas 3
The ideas deal with issues related to children as a group. The writer gives examples and reasons, and attempts
to refute opposing views. The issues of loneliness and fairness are somewhat developed and some less relevant
ideas are included. Had these been elaborated more effectively this script would have scored 4.

Persuasive devices 3
Many effective devices are used. By establishing an audience, the writer is able to appeal to them in varied ways,
e.g. asking rhetorical question, What about you?; appealing to the value of fair play, You parents had toys that you
adored; making strong assertions, I call that unfair; appealing to parents’ love of their children, it’s your children
that you love and adore; softening modality to persuade, it wouldn’t hurt to give them at least a few toys; using
words and phrases for effect, last but not least; using tricolon for emphasis, really glum, bored, and of course
lonely. There are also some immature or ineffective persuasive devices used, e.g. I call that unfair, oh [all] right!

Vocabulary 3
Mostly simple words and phrases are used throughout. There is some precise wording, e.g. If that’s too much
for you, toy shops are only a few minutes away, however, not the sustained use required for a score 4.

Cohesion 3
The meaning is clear on a first read. The student uses a range of text connectives to link ideas within and
between paragraphs, e.g. next, also, another reason is, besides, last but not least. The text uses mostly simple
word associations, e.g. cheep [cheap], too expensive, spend ten dollars, cost hundreds of dollars, ten gold coins.

Paragraphing 3
Paragraphs have a topic sentence with supporting detail. They are ordered and have no incorrect breaks.

Sentence structure 4
Sentences show some variety; however attempts at more sophisticated structures cause error. The third
sentence joins too many clauses and needs to be broken into two or three sentences. There are also incorrectly
placed adjectival clauses, such as we don’t have to invite our friends over who make the house messy, and an
incorrect word is used, what else what you want buy for ten dollars.

Punctuation 4
Some sentences use a splice comma instead of a full stop and a capital letter. The contraction apostrophe in
don’t and that’s is left out but correctly used in it’s, won’t and wouldn’t. The student uses exclamation and
question marks correctly and applies commas for different purposes, e.g. Next, its not fair.

Spelling 4
Simple words and most common words are correct. Two difficult words are correct: definitely and expensive.

70 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 5 — Do I think

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Year 5 — (continued)

72 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 5 — Do I think
Audience 5
The student supports, engages and persuades the reader through deliberate language choices and persuasive
techniques. The opening and closing paragraphs are highly persuasive. Direct appeals to the reader are
frequent and suit the style of the argument. There are some strong statements of personal belief and appeals to
the emotions of the audience.

Text structure 3
There are 3 clearly identifiable components to the argument. The introduction makes a clear statement of
position that is reinforced in the conclusion. The body develops the four key ideas. The conclusion is a call to
action, but does not reinforce any of the arguments presented, therefore not strong enough for a score of 4.

Ideas 4
Four ideas are developed to persuade parents to keep spending money on toys and games. These ideas are:
toys entertain children and keep them quiet, which is good for both parents and children; parents had fun with
toys so their children deserve the same pleasure; people in toy factories get pleasure from making toys and get
paid for it, so should not be deprived of this; and toys make children smarter.

Persuasive devices 4
This student shows sustained and effective use of a range of persuasive devices including: statement of
personal opinion, I do think that toys and games are great; rhetorical questions, Did you enjoy your life?; direct
appeal to a reader, That’s right, they would lose their jobs; repetition for effect, they would lose their jobs, lose
the money they could have achieved; emphatic statement answering a direct question to the reader, NO! and
I’m absolutely POSITIVE that you do!; giving examples as evidence, There are games like ‘Brain Training’ that
exercise your brain; emotive language, your little humans, What if you were in their position, fighting for your
job?

Vocabulary 3
The student uses some precise words (entertainment, deserve, support) and words groups (as lucky as you,
living beings, little human beings, aren’t going to live forever, exercising your brain). However, this is not the
sustained use required for a score of 4.

Cohesion 4
The meaning is clear on first read. Referencing is correct. The student shows sufficient use of connectives, Even
though, Firstly, Then there’s, Now think, Of course, everyone, So now.

Paragraphing 2
Paragraphs develop one idea or set of ideas. The text has at least two body paragraphs and paragraph three
shows clear idea development. Opening and closing paragraphs do not fulfil their function. The second
paragraph shows little development of idea, while paragraph four should be broken into two ideas.

Sentence structure 5
The student demonstrates a variety of sentence structures. Sophisticated sentence structures cause the
occasional error, e.g. a misplaced clause, I do think that toys and games are great, I still have my REASONS.

Punctuation 4
Good use of accurate and appropriate punctuation of sophisticated sentences, e.g. full stop, question marks and
exclamation marks; commas for phrasing and to mark embedded clauses; capitals and quotation marks for the
name of a game; and contraction apostrophes and possession. One splice comma used instead of a full stop.

Spelling 5
The student uses sufficient difficult and challenging words to score 5.

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Year 7 — Dear Sir

74 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 7 — (continued)

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Year 7 — Dear Sir
Audience 5
The student develops an appropriate relationship with the reader from the opening paragraph by establishing
the audience of the text. The student maintains the tone of the letter through deliberate choice of persuasive
techniques and language choices.

Text structure 4
The student uses an effective introduction, body and conclusion. Ideas are clearly foreshadowed in the
introduction, ideas are developed in the body, and the conclusion draws together the writer’s position
and key points of argument, including a final appeal to the reader.

Ideas 4
Three key issues are argued through the text: Money/expense of toys; toys provide enjoyment to children; and
games support family relationship-building. Some of the reasoning is developed through statements and some
through the use of questions. The first two ideas are developed with examples, some evidence and reasoning.
The final idea is underdeveloped.

Persuasive devices 4
The student uses sustained and effective use of persuasive devices. Devices include: an appeal to logic and
reasoning by giving specific examples, I ... can buy myself Monopoly for $15; an appeal directly to the reader
through questions, Do you really think that is too much to pay?; words to add emphasis, that small amount of
money; emotive words, absolutely ridicules articles, complete waste; short statement for effect, Obviously you
have written your articles based on one thing. Money).

Vocabulary 4
The student uses many precise words, worldwide, entertainment, benefits, sincerely, and word groups, more
emotionally and socially connected but this is not sustained throughout the text.

Cohesion 4
The student uses a range of text connectives, conjunctions and word associations to link ideas across and
within paragraphs.

Paragraphing 3
Paragraphs are logically constructed and ordered to build the argument.

Sentence structure 5
The student confidently uses elaborating clauses (Think of the things children [or adults for that matter] would
be doing).

Punctuation 4
The student shows correct sentence punctuation. The student made a minor error when erasing during editing
and ended up with a splice comma. The student shows correct use of commas.

Spelling 6
The student shows correct spelling of all words, including at least 15 difficult words.

76 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 9 — I vehemently oppose

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Year 9 — (continued)

78 | NAPLAN Test Reporting Handbook


Year 9 — I vehemently oppose
Audience 6
The text establishes a credible voice. Writing is crafted to influence the reader by appealing to logic, emotions
and values. The student uses a range of persuasive techniques, e.g. respectfully managing opposing views,
People recognise that there is a need to be thrifty … but at the same time; appealing to parents through their
love of their children, especially for children, and identifying specific groups, for people suffering disorders such
as Autism and Down-syndrome.

Text structure 4
All parts are well developed. The introduction makes a strong statement of belief and foreshadows the
argument. The body builds cumulatively to key points moving from a global view to personal views. The
conclusion appeals to the reader to move to the writer’s views and draws together the main threads of the
argument.

Ideas 5
The student’s ideas are elaborated well through reasoning examples and evidence. The student’s ideas are
drawn from global issues, e.g. In a democracy, our views of childhood, and from a more personal stance, e.g.
enjoying our life is a very important thing.

Persuasive devices 4
The student effectively uses a range of devices including the use of multiple descriptors to give emphasis, e.g.
... functionality and usefulness , Beauty, enjoyment and fun ... and emotive words and word group, e.g. vital for
the happiness and wellbeing of humans.

Vocabulary 5
The student shows consistent use of precise words, vehemently, investment, conclusively and word groups,
multiple independent groups, people suffering from disorders such as Autism and Down-syndrome and phrases
with implied meanings, simple pleasures, time is limited, passes in a blink.

Cohesion 4
A range of cohesive devices enhance reading and support the underlying argument. Clauses are linked in varied
ways. Nominalisation is used effectively, living is by no means all about functionality and usefulness. Many
word associations advance the writer’s position, like to spend, domestic income, spent, fruits of their labour,
their money, and contrast it to the views of others, People recognise that there is a need to be thrifty at times to
provide the necessities of life, but at the same time they acknowledge that living is by no means all about
functionality and usefulness.

Paragraphing 3
Paragraphs are structured and ordered to pace and direct the reader’s attention and cumulatively build
argument across the text.

Sentence structure 6
The student uses a range of stylistically appropriate, sophisticated sentence structures. Dependent clause
position is varied and controlled.

Punctuation 4
Comma punctuation of sophisticated sentence structures includes: in a list, for phrasing and to mark clause
boundaries. Errors in paragraph four keep this student from achieving a score of 5.

Spelling 5
Simple and common words are correct but errors in difficult words prevent this student from achieving a score
of 6.

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