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The Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment: Think Ahead To March 2017!

The Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) will soon be on the agenda for many students who have failed to reach Band 8 or higher in the Reading, Writing and/or Numeracy components of the Year 9 NAPLAN this year.

Students have to pass OLNA in order to successfully meet the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) requirement of demonstrating the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy.

At the clinic, we see a number of students who need help knowing how to pass these tests.

In our experience, the area that we have the most success with is Writing, mainly because we can teach students a “formula” to follow when writing an essay or story.

There are very clear guidelines to follow when writing a persuasive essay such as:

  • break the topic down into discrete points

  • find reasons, explanations, consequences and solutions for your points

  • devise evidence to prove your points

  • “inject” a variety of persuasive techniques into each paragraph

  • make sure you have followed the line of argument you intended to

Similarly, we advise students to follow some guidelines for narrative writing such as:

  • make the narrative character-driven, not plot-driven

  • create mood, atmosphere and power

  • select a problem and setting that work together

  • do not introduce too many characters – one or two will do

  • employ descriptive and emotive language techniques to create strong and impacting images

  • make sure you “resonate” with your reader – make him/her want to read on

Reading is best tackled via examination of the text types provided as well as a really close analysis of the types of questions asked. We suggest students scrutinise the questions before reading the text, and hold those questions “in their head” while reading through the text in order to “match” information from the text to them. We teach them about figurative language and how to know when sentences are not to be taken literally. We also teach them how to “paraphrase” what they have read in their own words in order to really make sure that they have processed the information in the text.

Numeracy is quite tricky because the questions are all worded ones and this means that our student with Specific Learning Disorders such as Dyslexia are doubly disadvantaged; they have to process the worded-questions and then work out the operation required to solve them! Once again, repeated exposure to the types of questions included in the Numeracy Assessment allow students the opportunity to analyse the types of questions asked – giving them better predictive value.

The assessment dates for 2017 are:

Round One

Writing: 7 – 10 March

Reading: 7 – 24 March

Numeracy: 7 – 24 March

Round Two

Writing: 4 – 7 September

(All years)

Reading: 28 August – 22 September

(Yr 10 & 11)

Reading: 28 August – 15 September

(Yr 12)

Numeracy: 28 August – 22 September

(Yr 10 & 11)

Numeracy: 28 August – 15 September

(Yr 12)

We wish those students sitting the OLNA next year all the very best of luck.

Make sure you have a good break over the Christmas Holidays, but please begin planning and working towards these assessments a week or so before school starts, because once the term begins, the workload takes over!

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