As promised, this is Part 2 of our NAPLAN writing blog series. In part 1, our team has covered key elements of NAPLAN writing. This blog focuses on NAPLAN Narrative writing style and next part will cover Persuasive style which will be published next week.
Narrative writing is a style of writing that tells a story. Its main purpose is to entertain the reader; it must be able to orient, engage, and ensure the audience understands the point. Most common Narrative text types are short stories, fairy-tales, fables, and myths. These can be imaginative or realistic stories, with most writers using real life event to base the stories.
For the NAPLAN writing test, Narrative writing requires an orientation, a complication, and a resolution which is basically the beginning, middle, and an end.
Orientation, often referred as the beginning, is basically an introduction to the story which includes introducing the story’s characters. The reader should get an idea about what the story is about.
Complication, often referred as the middle, is the most important element of Narrative writing and the largest. The writer presents a series of events that cause a conflict or problem, and then presents ways to overcome them.
Resolution, often referred as the ending, is the ending of the story. It reveals the way the problem was or wasn’t able to be solved.
Majority of the students follow this pattern of writing, but NAPLAN is flexible when grading Narrative text type test. A student can start with a resolution first and then build up on it through the complication while adding the orientation later. This leniency is only for the Narrative test.
When grading the Narrative text type test, NAPLAN markers or graders evaluate the Narrative writing test based on ten criterion. These are:
|Marking criterion||Description of narrative writing marking criterion|
|Audience||The writer’s capacity to orient, engage and affect the reader|
|Text structure||The organisation of narrative features including orientation, complication and resolution into an appropriate and
effective text structure
|Ideas||The creation, selection and crafting of ideas for a narrative|
|Character and setting||Character: The portrayal and development of character
Setting: The development of a sense of place, time and atmosphere
|Vocabulary||The range and precision of contextually appropriate language choices|
|Cohesion||The control of multiple threads and relationships across the text, achieved through the use of grammatical elements (referring words, text connectives, conjunctions) and lexical elements (substitutions, repetitions, word
|Paragraphing||The segmenting of text into paragraphs that assists the reader to negotiate the narrative|
|Sentence structure||The production of grammatically correct, structurally sound and meaningful sentences|
|Punctuation||The use of correct and appropriate punctuation to aid the reading of the text|
|Spelling||The accuracy of spelling and the difficulty of the words used|
The maximum points a student can achieve for Audience criteria is 6, Text Structure is 4, Ideas is 5, Character and Setting is 4, Vocabulary is 5, Cohesion is 4, Paragraphing is 2, Sentence Structure is 6, Punctuation is 5, and Spelling is 6.
Now that we’ve covered the marking criteria, here are some tips that will enable the student to achieve high points in these criterion’s:
1) Language choices should control writer/reader relationship, evoke an emotional response, and display irony.
2) Ideas may include psychological subjects, unexpected topics, mature viewpoints, and elements of popular culture. Traditional sub-genre subjects can also be included:
- heroic quest
- good vs evil
- overcoming the odds
3) Use single precise words like hissed, yanked, absolutely, disgusted, exhilarating, rewarded, and eventually.
4) Consistent use of word associations and substitutions that enhance reading.
5) Deliberately structured the text to pace and direct the reader’s attention. Single sentence may be used as a dramatic or final comment or for emphasis.
6) Sentence punctuation includes:
– Capital letters to begin sentences.
– Full stops to end sentences.
– Question marks to end sentences.
– Exclamation marks to end sentences.
7) Noun capitalisation includes:
– First names and surnames.
– Titles: Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms etc.
– Place names: Paris, Italy.
– Institution names: Valley High.
– Days of week, months of year.
– Street names: Ord St.
– Book and film titles.
– Holidays: Easter, Ramadan.
– Historic events: World War II.
Finally, let’s look at a previous NAPLAN Narrative test prompt and how to write its text. The prompt the students were asked to write on was “The Soccer Final” and here’s the best way to answer it.
First, you should plan your narrative with all the important points:
- When and where did the match took place and who played and came to watch.
- How was the match? Was it one sided? Did any injuries occur?
- Did the main characters encounter any problems? How were they overcome?
- A coda where a moral or lesson to be learned is delivered.
Then you should consider:
- Use a title for your narrative.
- To write in the past tense.
- Use the present tense when writing the dialogue.
- Use the orientation to set the scene and mood and to introduce the characters, place, and time of the soccer final.
- Pay attention to the words you use to describe the event and character’s reactions and feelings.
- Use of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
- Check and edit your writing when you have finished.
NAPLAN writing test isn’t that hard. If a student follows the above guidelines and practices writing on different prompts, he/she can achieve a high score.