NAPLAN and EALD Language and Literacy Levels

NAPLAN writing assessment is a tool to assess student writing in either persuasive or narrative texts. The assessment uses a rubric in a number of specific areas to determine a score.

In both text types the following aspects are analysed:

  • Audience
  • Text structure
  • Cohesion
  • Sentence structure
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

Additionally when analysing narratives Language devices are assessed, and when persuasive writing is analysed persuasive devices are also monitored.

Comparatively the EALD Language and Literacy Levels divide the analysis of writing into the following areas:

  • Composing learning area texts
  • Text Knowledge
    • Organisational structures
    • Text cohesion- Foregrounding
      • Text and paragraph openers
      • Sentence openers including using passive voice to change what is foregrounded
      • Reference: pronouns, determiners and substitution
  • Grammar Knowledge
    • Sentence structure
      • Simple
      • Compound
      • Complex
    • Punctuation
      • Sentence level
      • Basic punctuation
      • Beyond basic
    • Words and word groups
      • Verbs and verb groups
      • Adverbs, adverb groups/ phrases and prepositional phrases
      • Noun groups/ phrases, including plurals, articles and nominalisation
    • Expressing opinion and point of view
      • Evaluative language
      • Modality
      • Expressing opinion directly
  • Word Knowledge
    • Understanding/ using learning area vocabulary
    • Spelling

NAPLAN is a measurement tool, providing information about where students are in relation to the aspects measured – a summative assessment.
The EALD Language and Literacy Levels are a description of how language skills develop. Therefore they provide much more information to the teacher about where to next – a great teaching and assessment tool; formative and summative assessment.

Although specifically designed to support the development of language and literacy of high needs students, the Levels are a teaching tool to support teachers with all learners. They provide a framework for “high expectations and high support (Mariani 1997)”, enabling a closing of the gap between a student’s language resources and those required for their year level.

Underpinned by a systematic and explicit pedagogy based in:

  • Teaching in advance of language development
  • Stretching students’ knowledge and imagination beyond what they can readily do independently
  • Encouraging the use of strategies such as self-correction and trial and error
  • Customising support for individual learners, including modifying the level of support and the timing of its withdrawal as students move to independence

Implications on practice

Gradual release of responsibility
Zone of proximal development
Explicit teaching – unpacking the demands of the curriculum – How language works, why language choices are made, what the effects of certain choices are and how to use language in powerful ways.
The teaching and learning cycle – 4 key stages
1. Setting the context
2. Modelling and text deconstruction
3. Joint construction
4. Independent construction

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