How to prepare your child for NAPLAN maths tests

Feb 25, 2022

With NAPLAN tests on the horizon, parents across the country are considering how to prepare their child for NAPLAN and how they can assist them to feel confident and achieve their best results. At Mathnasium we offer support and assistance to students preparing for NAPLAN maths and for those looking to improve and excel in maths throughout the year. Our philosophy focuses on the development of real maths understanding as opposed to rote learning. Memorising how to answer questions from practice tests without real skills and understanding does not assist students with maths in the long term. But before delving further into NAPLAN maths preparation, let’s first consider more about NAPLAN and its original purpose.   

What is NAPLAN?

NAPLAN was first introduced in Australia in 2008 and refers to the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy in Australia. It formed a mechanism to track the results and progression of students in numeracy and literacy skills from primary through to secondary across Australia. Before its introduction, different states had individual assessments that were used. NAPLAN instigated a national approach and students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are now required  to sit annual tests in reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and numeracy. 

“NAPLAN test results provide information on how students are performing in the areas of literacy and numeracy and support improvements in teaching and learning. The data from NAPLAN test results gives schools and systems the ability to measure their students’ achievements against national minimum standards and student performance in other states and territories”

Why was NAPLAN introduced and what was its purpose?

NAPLAN was introduced to provide quantifiable data. According to a NAPLAN report submitted to the Australian Parliament Housein 2013, a core focus of NAPLAN was to identify if students were not meeting minimum standards in literacy and numeracy and to be able to monitor a student’s progression in these subjects as they move through primary and secondary education. 

NAPLAN’s purpose has been further documented as presenting information for key stakeholders such as education authorities to assist with decision-making including how schools are performing against each other in equivalent and differing socio-economic landscapes and the prevalence of adequate resourcing for schooling. And for teachers, results can be utilised as an indicator of whether different teaching methods and styles can work better in the classroom.

For parents, NAPLAN offers a direct comparison of their child’s achievements in numeracy and literacy not only amongst their school peers but against the national average, and allows them to track this progress over time. Such results highlight potential areas of success and areas for improvement and allow parents to make informed choices about intervention including the school environment and the introduction of additional support such as tutoring. 2

What is the NAPLAN Numeracy test about?

The NAPLAN numeracy test takes place in May for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It aims to assess student’s focus in core mathematical areas appropriate to each respective year group. In particular it focuses on numbers and algebra, measurement and geometry and statistics and probability. For each topic students are assessed on fluency, problem-solving and reasoning. 3

How can you prepare your child for NAPLAN?

Pre-test Preparation: Prior to the onset of NAPLAN, it is important to monitor and keep track of how your child is progressing in maths. For many students maths is not something that they naturally find easy to understand and this is often due to the way it is explained and broken down into concepts. Review their school reports, communicate with teachers and talk to your child about what they think about maths to find out more. Ensure they take time to undertake maths homework and encourage them to communicate with their maths teacher if they need more assistance or need extension work.

The exciting thing with maths is that by individualising and using different techniques for learning, students who previously found maths a struggle can develop skills and ability in the subject. Whether your child is finding maths difficult or a breeze, investing in maths tuition can be a great idea to help your child prepare and achieve their best results in NAPLAN tests. With Mathnasium, we don’t simply focus on NAPLAN tutoring as a separate entity but look at your child’s overall maths and apply an Individualised Learning Plan which incorporates and develops NAPLAN success. Continuous development of maths skills is fundamental. Whilst practice tests help familiarise your child with the format and nature of the upcoming test, and assist with time management, simply taking repeated tests does not build on maths concepts, deepen understanding or create a pathway for future maths success. At Mathnasium we believe combining an understanding of core skills and practice around question-types is the best approach to prepare a student for any standardised test.

Day of Test: As with any test, students can feel nervous about undertaking a NAPLAN maths test. To help your child feel at their best ensure they have a good night’s sleep the night before and that they feel prepared of what to expect on the day. Although many schools do not teach directly for NAPLAN, it is key for students to understand the format of the test, how to complete it and the sort of questions they can expect. Armed with this information, anxiety is lessened and they can feel more confident that they are prepared and ready.  

How can NAPLAN Maths Tutoring aid preparation?  

Undertaking maths tutoring for NAPLAN can assist in building a student’s confidence and help achieve stronger results for them. The additional support and individualised attention it offers allows a student to explore mathematical concepts at their own pace and in their own way which helps foster learning of core concepts, understanding and skills and enhances their ability to apply analytical thinking to problem-solving questions. 

How Mathnasium can help 

Mathnasium are experts in maths tutoring offering opportunities through local Maths-only learning centres and online with Mathnasium@home. Their focus and methodology is known globally for its success and results to help make maths make sense to kids. With real understanding comes results, progression and confidence. 

Find your local Mathnasium centre today or contact us about Mathnasium@home learning. 


  1. National Assessment Program, Results and Reports.
  2. Australian Parliament House. Naplan Report (2013).
  3. National Assessment Naplan Program.


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