Many parents are unsure of what to expect for their child after primary school. It is a significant change that faces students and can be challenging for parents as much as their children. In this Year 7 High School Survival Guide, we outline the changes and expectations that Year 7 students face as they begin High School.
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In this article we discuss:
An Overview of Year 7
Year 6 vs Year 7 – The differences
What is Stage 4?
NA-PLAN in Year 7
Subjects studied in Year 7 at school
What to expect for Year 7 English
What to expect for Year 7 Mathis
How to achieve a smooth transition into Year 7
An overview of Year 7
Year 7 is the first year of high school and is a big step in a child’s journey to adulthood. Students who have been the oldest in their school will once more be the youngest as they transition into high school. Year 7 students have new challenges ahead, and also exciting opportunities.
Year 6 vs Year 7
Many parents are unsure of differences between Year 6 and Year 7. Here’s a table to help you understand the differences:
In Year 7, students will:
Have several different specialist teachers
Will take different subjects in different classrooms
Will need to follow a subject timetable to know what subject they had and which classroom it will be in
Study compulsory subjects such as English
Study elective subjects like languages or drama
Need to carry their various tools with them as they move from classroom to classroom around the High-School campus
As you can see, students need to deal with significant changes.
In Year 7, students will need to grasp new skills and engage in new study practices such as self-directed learning and research.
These new responsibilities will require a new level of organisation, preparation, and dedication from your child.
What is Stage 4?
The NEW Education Standards Authority (NESA) divides the learning outcomes for students into 6 Stages for Kindergarten to Year 12. You need to be aware that:
Each Stage is comprised of two grades, i.e Stage 4 is comprised of both Years 7 and 8.
Each Stage has a specific list of Outcomes. These are the specific skills, and levels of attainment for those skills, that students should achieve for that Stage.
The syllabus is structured so that students consistently accrue and develop skills between Kindergarten and Year 12.
We will look at some specific Stage 4 outcomes as we discuss the English and Mathematics syllabuses.
More information about Stage 4 can be found on the NESA website.
NA-PLAN in High School and Year 7
Parents of students from Australian Primary Schools may already be familiar with NA-PLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy). NA-PLAN is a series of assessments throughout the school grades designed to track children’s literacy and numeracy skills.
Here’s what you need to know about NAPLAN:
NA-PLAN is tested in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9
Students sit standardized exams for English and Mathis to assess their literacy and numeracy
NA-PLAN assesses students to ensure that they meet the minimum standards for each Stage through school
NA-PLAN is sorted into 10 Bands. Students in Year 9 will need to score a Band 8 or above in all areas to qualify for the HSC
During Year 7, students will have a NA-PLAN assessment in May
The NESA website has comprehensive information on NA-PLAN
The Website for the National Assessment Program has detailed information on NA-PLAN. They also have practice papers for parents and students
Previous NA-PLAN results can be found here on the NA-PLAN site
For English, students must answer:
Write a persuasive text
Compose a creative text
For Mathematics, students must answer questions on:
Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing
Matrix courses cover the skills that are assessed in NAPLAN, and will give your child confidence going into these compulsory exams.
Subjects studied in Year 7
Year 7 students learn the following compulsory subjects:
Your child’s school and teachers will also select elective subjects for them to study. These elective subjects will be drawn from these broad subject areas:
Human Society and Its Environment
Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education (PDHPE)
Technological and Applied Studies
Students will need to follow a timetable to know which subject they have at what time on any given day. Sometimes they may even have the same subject in different classrooms on different days. For example:
Year 7 English
In Year 7 English, students will be presented with more complex texts than they have previously encountered. They will need to understand techniques like metaphors and innuendo and spot them in texts. Students will need to start forming their own opinions about the characters, settings, and events in these texts.
NESA has provided a set of specific outcomes for Stage 4 English. Matrix Theory Books are designed to help students achieve the complete list of Stage 4 Outcomes:
Responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure
Effectively uses a widening range of processes, skills, strategies and knowledge for responding to and composing texts in different media and technologies
Uses and describes language forms, features and structures of texts appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and contexts
Makes effective language choices to creatively shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence
Thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts
Identifies and explains connections between and among texts
Demonstrates understanding of how texts can express aspects of their broadening world and their relationships within it
Identifies, considers and appreciates cultural expression in texts
Uses, reflects on and assesses their individual and collaborative skills for learning
These outcomes translate into the skills that students need to develop during school. Let’s have a look at how the subjects, and skills required, differ between Year 6 and Year 7:
Students will need to produce in depth written responses that use paragraph structures to convey complex ideas.
It is important for students to read continually throughout Year 7. This means reading texts that are not studied at school this will continue to hone students skills for reading, comprehension, and analysis. At Matrix, students study a variety of text types to specifically address the the Stage 4 outcomes.
In Year 7, students will need to read and watch texts and then comment on them at length. They must do things such as discuss whether they enjoyed the text, and also provide an explanation of why they did or did not. They will need to discuss the themes of the text and begin to explore how composers present techniques
Most importantly students will need to support their arguments with evidence. They will also need to write in a wide variety of forms – essays, letters, reviews, and creative forms.
This is an important step up for students as they learn to communicate their ideas to their teachers, peers, and family.
For example, for NAPLAN students will need to answer grammatical questions like this,
How to achieve a smooth transition into Year 7
Your child’s psychological health during this period is important. The challenges presented by new peers and teachers, as well as coursework that has an increased level of difficulty, can place an onerous burden on students. It is important for students to find a balance between studying and actually being a child and teenager.
Helping your child develop good study habits during years 7 and 8 is essential to giving them the best opportunities for their future.
Helping your child with their study, and communicating with them about what they need to do for school is crucial. Helping your child understand what assignments are asking of them and discussing study planning with them will help them stay on top of the increased workload of high school.
You don’t want to pressure your child unduly, you need to support them.
How you can help your child:
- Develop a daily and weekly routine
You will help your child immensely if you can establish a regular routine. This will help them plan their days and remember what they need to do each day.
This can be done by:
Waking up or leaving the house at the same time
Aiming to have dinner around the same time
Having a consistent bedtime will enable your child to plan their evenings
- Help them get organised!
Parents should help students plan out their days according to a daily timetable that considers:
When they need to get up
How much they need to study
When they should study what subjects
Parents should help their children plan a weekly timetable. This should be organised to align with their school timetable.
A weekly timetable should include their extra-curricular activities and plan out study time over the weekends.
Keep a calendar handy and visible so your child knows what’s coming up! They need to know about the Thursday in March when they have dinner with Nan as much as the Maths test they have in April. This will help them plan!
It is important for students to establish study routines early in High School so they have productive study habits as they advance through the grades.
- Help them set goals
Goal setting is an important skill for children to learn. Goal setting will enable them to aim for a specific achievement and plan towards attaining it. It might be making a specific sports team, or it could be raising their marks in a subject by a specific amount. It is important that children should have a wide range of goals that are not limited to academic achievements.
You can help your child set goals by:
Asking them what they wish to achieve in Year 7. Get them to consider a wide range of things – school, sports, extra-curricular activities, personal goals
Help them plan out a practical timeline. For example, trying to raise their marks from 5/10 in a maths test to 8/10 could be a goal for a term.
Make sure they have benchmarks to meet between the start and finish dates. This way you can both keep track of their progress. it is important that you encourage them in this!
Celebrate with them when they achieve their goals! You don’t need to reward everything, but you should acknowledge their achievements and show them you are proud of what they have accomplished.
- Show an interest in their homework
It is important that you know what your child is studying, and be aware of when they need help or are struggling. It is easy to forget how difficult learning can be. You want to help your child with problems before they fall behind their peers. Showing an interest in their homework forces children to try and explain their knowledge to you. While students in High School need to be self-directed and independent, they still need assistance solving complex problems. Some ways to do this are:
Asking them what they are doing for various subjects.
If they are stuck on a problem get them to explain it to you. Sometimes discussing the issue will give them the solution.
Instead of solving the problems for them, work through them with your child. It is important for Year 7 students to complete tasks to deadlines unassisted.
Do research with your child. If your child has a research task, show an interest in it. Sit down with them while they research and discuss ideas with them. This will help them develop confidence.
- Be there to listen
Children need to be able to have frank discussions with their parents. it is important that your child can come to you and ask for help if they are struggling with things. Often children are scared that their parents will be upset that they struggle with a subject. Rather than asking parents for help, they try and hide their issue. This can quickly snowball into a big problem!
- Build a relationship with the school
Schools are there to help your child. Getting to know your children’s teachers and year coordinator will help you keep track of their progress. Schools often have programs to help struggling students and high-achieving students. Being involved in the school community can be time-consuming, but it also gives your child and you a support network
- Get to know their friends
A child’s friends are an important peer group that will help them deal with stress and also learning. But high school is a big change. Children are often upset when they lose some friends from primary school. They will make new friends in High School, but you can help them establish relationships with new people by getting to know them, too. Don’t be pushy, but do show an interest.
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