The following is a summary of a very pleasing overall set of results achieved by our students in the 2016 National Assessment Program. These are an important indicator of student academic achievement at key stages in a student’s school career: Years 3, 5, 7, & 9. Students at Hills Grammar performed well above their state cohorts in a range of areas. Such data provides a wealth of information which allows the School to continually improve the quality of its academic programs by celebrating and maintaining areas of strength and identifying areas requiring additional resources and/or new approaches. A thorough process of analysis is also undertaken each year with a view to more appropriately catering for individual student needs, as well as informing the learning and teaching and strategic planning processes. These are an expression of the School’s ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.

The National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) was introduced in 2008 for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in all government and non-government schools, with the key aim of assessing the literacy and numeracy learning of students in all Australian schools.

The results of the tests in Language Conventions, Reading and Numeracy provide important information to schools about what each student can do, and are used to support teaching and learning programs. Parents receive a report indicating their child’s level of achievement. Each student’s level of achievement is reported against the agreed national benchmarks of student achievement. A brief summary of the 2016 results for each cohort is provided below, with graphs showing the comparison between School and State performance in Literacy and Numeracy. In the analysis “Literacy” results have been obtained by averaging student performances across the domains of Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Grammar and Punctuation. “Numeracy” results are based on the numeracy results reported in individual student NAPLAN Reports.

The overall Literacy and Numeracy band results indicate that the performance of the School’s cohorts significantly exceeded that of the state candidature with:

  • 86% of Year 3 students in the top three bands for Literacy (compared to 75% of the State) and 77% of students in the top three bands for Numeracy (compared to 61% of the State)
  • 78% of Year 5 students in the top three bands for Literacy (compared to 60% of the State) and 73% of students in the top three bands for Numeracy (compared to 57% of the State)
  • 76% of Year 7 students in the top three bands for Literacy (compared to 54% of the State) and 89% of students in the top three bands for Numeracy (compared to 61% of the State)
  • 67% of Year 9 students in the top three bands for Literacy (compared to 46% of the State) and 83% of students in the top three bands for Numeracy (compared to 53% of the State).

While these are pleasing figures, the Minister of Education announced in 2016 that  from 2017, Year 9 students will need to ‘prequalify’ for the HSC by achieving Band 8 (top 3 bands) in these sub-components of NAPLAN. Where students are not able to reach these standards, they will have opportunities to do online tests in Years 10, 11 and 12. More information on this topic can be found here. 

Highlights of student achievement in the top bands for each year group included:

  • 53% of Year 3 students reaching the top Band for Reading (compared to a state average of 28%) and 40% of Year 3 Students reading the top band for Numeracy (compared to a state average of 20%)
  • 19% of Year 5 students reaching the top band for Reading (compared to a state average of 14%) and 40% reaching the top band for Numeracy (compared to a state average of 16%)
  • 32% of Year 7 students reaching the top band for Reading (compared to a state average of 12%) and 37% reaching the top band for Numeracy (compared to a state average of 14%)
  • 22% of Year 9 students reaching the top band for Reading (compared to a state average of 8%) and 26% reaching the top band for Numeracy (compared to a state average of 12%)

Students at The Hills Grammar School were above the averages for all sections of the NAPLAN tests, including the four measures of literacy and the three measures of numeracy, when measured against State scores. The School was also on or above averages of Association of Independent Schools in all areas, in Years 3, 7 and 9, and some areas of Year 5.

It is important to note that to date our approach to ‘preparing’ students for NAPLAN tests is one of familiarisation rather than ‘drill’. That is, the School has always utilised the tests for their intended purpose: to provide a ‘snapshot’ of student performance in Literacy and Numeracy measures on a given day of the year, and through analysis, to provide the School with information to consider alongside other forms of assessment, to help us improve our programs and respond to individual needs. This said, the new HSC Minimal Standards for Year 9 will provide a new challenge moving forward, particularly in the area of writing, based on current analysis.

More details about NAPLAN are published each year on the My School Website; currently the data available on the site is for the 2015 school year. 

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