Poor NAPLAN results and the new NSW English syllabus revealed

You may have seen the article published by The Sydney Morning Herald this week commenting on this year’s NAPLAN results. If you haven’t, you can read it HERE.

The SMH uncovered a decline in performance among students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across grammar and literacy. Here is what these results mean and what will change.


‘Grammar is back’

There is set to be a ‘sweeping overhaul’ of the NSW English syllabus for Years 3 to 10, with a core focus on grammar. This change comes after teenage boys’ literacy levels have fallen to a record low with one in six struggling to reach the minimum standard in grammar and punctuation.

‘If our NAPLAN results have shown us anything, it’s that we need to focus on the explicit teaching of grammar, sentence structure and punctuation in high school. Focusing on those foundational skills is key to success’ – Dominic Perrottet in The Sydney Morning Herald.


New syllabus

The new syllabus looks to target problem areas for current and future Australian students.

This will include:

  • a focus on phonics for Kindergarten to Year 2
  • ensuring students in Years 3 to 4 can read fluently and decipher new words quickly
  • teaching Year 7 to 10 students how to interpret unfamiliar words and use grammar to express complex ideas.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) hopes to create a continuous flow of English literacy development and progression as students progress through their schooling.


How to prepare

It is important to familiarise yourself with what your child is learning. This allows you to support them as they learn. Read through the current NSW Education Standards Authority English K-10 Syllabus.

As always, it is important for children to study and prepare for an upcoming test. A great way to prepare for NAPLAN is with a NAPLAN* Online–style Test Pack. These packs are available for Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 and cover a wide range of essential skills such as:

📚 Numeracy


📚 Spelling

📚 Grammar and Punctuation

📚 Conventions of Language

📚 Writing


Track progress

A great way to see if your child is on track is to check their progress. Excel Test Zone allows you to do this easily from your parent dashboard, giving you an insight into how your child is progressing across the week, month and year!

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