The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, also known as NAPLAN, is a test taken by all Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 each year. NAPLAN assesses core skills in the Australian curriculum including reading, writing and mathematics, and the assessment usually happens around the second week of May each year.
The writing component of the NAPLAN test allows students 40 minutes to produce a piece of writing based on a given prompt. Students will be asked to produce a narrative text or a persuasive text.
Year 3 and Year 5 students will share the same prompt, while Year 7 and Year 9 students will have a different prompt. Students will not know which type of text they will be asked to write during the assessment, which is why it is important to familiarise yourself with writing both narrative and persuasive texts.
But how does persuasive and narrative writing differ?
Let’s take a brief look at what persuasive writing is all about.
What is persuasive writing?
Persuasive texts are written with the intent to persuade readers to agree with a point of view or idea being presented to them. Persuasive essays are written with logic and reason, to show how one idea is better than another using facts and information to back it up.
Persuasive texts need to be convincing and engaging – by the end of your response, you want the readers to agree with the opinion you have presented in your text.
Some examples of persuasive text formats include open letters, articles, debates, reviews, and advertisements.
What should a well-written persuasive response include?
NAPLAN’s persuasive writing marking guide looks at ten criteria:
- Audience – how well you have engaged with and persuade the readers (your voice in the text)
- Text structure – are all the components (introduction, body, conclusion) well developed and arranged into an effective structure?
- Ideas – type of ideas selected, how they relate to the topic and how well have you elaborated them to further your argument?
- Persuasive devices – have you used appropriate persuasive devices consistently throughout your test?
- Cohesion – flow of your writing; how well do your ideas connect in the text?
- Paragraphing – good paragraph structure that controls the pace of the text and readers attention (ex. using single sentence for emphasis at the end).
- Sentence structure – well written sentences with good structure and grammar
Persuasive Writing Process
When writing a persuasive text, you should have a clear stand on the idea you want to present to the readers. This idea is typically presented to the readers in the introduction of your response. Facts, statistics, examples, or quotes should be used to support your ideas in the body paragraphs. The concluding paragraph should summarise key ideas discussed and include a call to action.
Year 3 and Year 5 students will share the same prompt, while Year 7 and Year 9 students will have a different prompt. Students will not know which type of text they will be asked to write during the assessment, which is why it is important for students to be familiar with writing both narrative and persuasive texts.
Reading persuasive texts and completing practice questions are good ways to build confidence in writing. Practice questions can help students get used to the test structure and completing a response within a given time limit.
NAPLAN – Narrative Writing
But how does persuasive and narrative writing differ?
Let’s take a brief look at what narrative writing is all about.
What is narrative writing?
Essentially, narrative writing is story telling. Narrative writing is a genre that uses language techniques to construct a story that revolves around characters in scenarios that can be based on real-world experiences or fictional situations entirely made up.
Narrative texts will typically contain a character in conflict, and end with a resolution. A good piece of narrative should be descriptive and include figurative language and dialogue between characters.
What should a well-written narrative response include?
NAPLAN’s narrative writing marking guide looks at these ten criteria:
- Audience – language choice and narrative devices used to influence readers
- Text structure – writing a complete narrative while effectively using plot devices (ex. flashback)
- Ideas – well selected ideas that explore the plot/theme of the story
- Character and setting – using details/dialogues to construct a distinct character; setting is well constructed throughout the story with enough details to create atmosphere
- Vocabulary – language choice matches well to the genre of the story (ex. colloquial language, personification)
- Cohesion – flow of the story; does it show continuity of ideas throughout the story?
- Paragraphing – paragraphs are well structured to control the story’s pace and reader’s attention
- Sentence structure – well developed sentences that varies in lengths and rhythms
Narrative Writing Process
Important elements of a good narrative piece include characters, conflict, setting, plot, climax, and a resolution. A combination of these elements will ensure a story that is well-developed.
Students can also choose to write a story that follows a first person, second person or third person narrative voice.
Reading novels or short stories and completing practice questions are good ways to build confidence in writing. Practice questions can help students get used to the test structure and completing a response within a given time limit.