MAKING THE GRADE: The NewsMail has calculated averages for percentage of students above the National Minimum Standard at a selection of schools across the region.
MAKING THE GRADE: The NewsMail has calculated averages for percentage of students above the National Minimum Standard at a selection of schools across the region. Eliza Goetze

Bundy students have Naplan in the bag

BUNDABERG schools have come out grinning on the other side of the Naplan test.

And the secret to success could be a cool head.

Some of the schools with the best results, hitting the National Minimum Standard and above, told the NewsMail their winning strategy was to avoid any strategy.

"We were very impressed to see how our students have done,” St Luke's Anglican School principal Craig Merritt said.

"We don't do overt extensive preparation, we make sure it's low key.

"We make sure our students feel comfortable and confident.

"Our philosophy is if our curriculum is doing what it should be doing then our students will do well.”

The test, which has raised controversy for becoming a high-stakes and sometimes stressful experience, is intended to serve as a diagnostic tool, giving schools feedback on where their teaching needs to improve.

"It's different from the report card. It's an internal benchmark for our our curriculum compared to the rest of Australia,” Mr Merritt said, adding the results helped the school look at how to prepare Year 9 students for new Year 12 assessments in 2019.

One weak point for many schools, particularly in Years 7 and 9, was writing.

"Writing has always been perceived as a weakness in Queensland,” Mr Merritt.

"Writing on demand and critical and creative writing is something we now focus on in the younger years.

"If our students are having difficulty we know that already, because we know our students,” he said.

"It's for the development of their education, not an overnight fix.”

CHEERING: Booyal students topped this year's Naplan results with 100% in every area, in both Years 3 and 5.
CHEERING: Booyal students topped this year's Naplan results with 100% in every area, in both Years 3 and 5.

The school that came out on top in the region compared to the rest of the nation was little Booyal Central State School, with a grand total of 27 students

"We always tell them: 'do their Booyal best and nothing less',” principal Dawn Dolinski said.

"On the days, we hand out the papers we don't make the kids stressed.”

Booyal, north of Childers, is "a different sort of school - we do things in a real life kind of way”.

Students create their own business projects and deconstruct news stories in class every day. Learning alongside classmates of different grades extends their knowledge.

"We have a team that put their heart and soul into these kids and we focus on them having fun and being happy,” Ms Dolinski said.

"We (also) have really high standards and the kids know that; we expect them to come in and work hard and they respond to the challenge.

"And we celebrate - tomorrow is going to be lovely.”

READING AND WRITING: Ella Bigg and Steven Pozzebon from Bundaberg East State School are doing Naplan tests.
READING AND WRITING: Ella Bigg and Steven Pozzebon from Bundaberg East State School are doing Naplan tests. Paul Donaldson BUN100517NAP3


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