Minimum standards - writing

Year 3 | Year 5 | Year 7 | Year 9 |

The NAPLAN writing task requires students to write in response to a stimulus or prompt. The text of the prompt is read to all students.

Between 2008 and 2010, the task was a narrative assessed against 10 criteria: audience, text structure, ideas, character and setting, vocabulary, cohesion, paragraphing, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling. Each criterion has a different number of broad categories based on identifiable developmental stages.

Between 2011 and 2014, the NAPLAN writing task required students to respond to a stimulus with a piece of persuasive writing. The students’ persuasive writing, like the narrative, is assessed against 10 criteria, many of which are very similar to those assessed in students’ narrative writing. The 10 criteria against which persuasive writing is assessed are: audience, text structure, ideas, persuasive devices, vocabulary, cohesion, paragraphing, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling.

The text type will be revealed on the day of assessment. Students will be asked to write a narrative or persuasive response to the writing prompt.

Comparability of skills demonstrated in the writing and language conventions assessments

Although there is some overlap in the skills assessed in the writing and language conventions assessments, (for example, both assess spelling and aspects of grammar and punctuation), a student’s placement on the band scales for the two tests may not match, due to the difference in the nature of the assessments. The writing assessment is a production task whereas the language conventions assessment is essentially an editing task. Students may be able to identify errors or choose the correct option in an editing task without being able to apply the skill in their own writing.

Spelling results, in particular, may not be comparable across the two assessment tasks. For the writing task, spelling is scored in the context of writing and depends on the words the students choose to include in their response to the stimulus words and the level of correctness then demonstrated. In contrast, the language conventions assessment requires students to identify and correct spelling errors in 25-30 pre-determined words which identify specific spelling skills.

In the writing tests, the spelling criterion consists of six broad categories to measure the range of performance demonstrated from Year 3 through to Year 9.

Using the broad categories for assessing spelling in the writing tests, students at the minimum standard may demonstrate similar skills in Years 5, 7 and 9.

This does not mean that students that achieve results at the minimum standard for the writing tests fail to make progress from Years 5 to 9. Rather, it reflects a continuing tendency amongst students at the minimum standard to spell difficult or challenging words (as defined in the writing test criteria) incorrectly. The same applies to punctuation and grammar. The use of a particular punctuation mark or sentence structure may not be applicable to the writing task and so will not necessarily be used by the student in his or her own writing; however when given a specific item in a different context, such as determining the correct use of apostrophes, quotation marks and dependent clauses in the language conventions test, students may demonstrate competency.

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Year 3 

At the minimum standard, Year 3 students responding to a narrative task generally write a text consisting of a few simple ideas that show audience awareness by using common story elements; for example, using a simple title, or beginning with Once upon a time. Students name the characters and setting and the ideas and vocabulary used are generally very simple. Students typically choose mostly simple verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns. They may include a few examples of precise words and produce some correctly formed sentences. Students use some capital letters and full stops correctly and correctly spell most of the simple words they choose to use in their writing.

When responding to the persuasive task, students at the minimum standard for Year 3 generally write a text consisting of a few simple ideas that show audience awareness by providing some simple information about the topic. Simple persuasive devices such as opinions and reasons are used in an attempt to convince a reader. Students typically choose mostly simple verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns. They may include a few examples of precise, topic specific words and produce some correctly formed sentences students use some capital letters and full stops correctly and correctly spell most of the simple words they choose to use in their writing.

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Year 5 

At the minimum standard, Year 5 students generally write a story with a few related ideas which are not well elaborated, and attempt to create a clear context by providing brief descriptions of the characters and/or setting. The vocabulary used is usually simple.

When responding to the persuasive task these students at the minimum standard for Year 5 generally write a text that attempts to create a position on a topic by providing a context and some points of argument with some simple elaboration. They attempt a small range of simple persuasive devices and use some topic specific vocabulary.

When writing to either task, students typically correctly structure most simple and compound sentences and generally use some correct links between sentences. Most referring words are accurate. Students typically correctly punctuate some sentences with both capital letters and full stops. They may demonstrate correct use of capitals for names and some other punctuation.

Students correctly spell most simple and common words.

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Year 7 

At the minimum standard, Year 7 students generally structure a story to include a beginning and a complication, although the conclusion may be weak or simple, or a persuasive essay that has an indefinable introduction, body and conclusion, although the introduction and/or the conclusion may be weak or simple.

Students typically include sufficient information for the story or essay to be easily understood by the reader and there is usually development and elaboration of ideas which all relate coherently to a central storyline or the position taken on a topic. They use a small range of simple persuasive devices with some success and use some topic specific vocabulary.

Some precision is evident in the vocabulary use although words are not all used successfully. Students correctly structure most simple and compound sentences and some complex sentences and correctly punctuate some sentences with both capital letters and full stops. They may demonstrate correct use of some other punctuation, for example quotation marks for direct speech or commas for phrasing.

Students correctly spell most simple and common words.

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Year 9 

At the minimum standard, Year 9 students generally write stories with a beginning, complication and ending and can organise a story into paragraphs that focus on one idea or a group of related ideas. Students attempt to develop context by providing some elaboration, detail and description of characters and settings.

At theminimum standard, Year 9 students generally write persuasive essays that contain an introduction, a body and a conclusion in which paragraphs are used to organise related ideas. Students attempt to develop their position on a topic with some elaboration and detail about the topic and use a range of persuasive devices with some success.

Students typically use accurate words or groups of words when describing events and ideas although there are typically errors evident in sentence construction. The writing often uses a small range of connectives and conjunctions to link text sections and sentences correctly.

Students punctuate most sentences correctly with capitals, full stops, exclamation marks and question marks. Students correctly use more complex punctuation marks correctly some of the time.

Students correctly spell most simple and common words.

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