Updated: Jan 15
Not sure what the ICAS is? Here are some reasons why parents should be aware of the ICAS and consider registering their child for the 2022 ICAS exams.
What are the ICAS exams?
The ICAS, also known as the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools, is an independent, educational suite of online assessments designed to test and recognise academic excellence in students. Created bv the University of New South Wales, the ICAS is an international competition that is held every year in over 20 countries such as Australia, Asia, Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, India and the United States.
Similar to other public exams such as the NAPLAN, ICAS assessments have been providing schools and parents insightful information about student learning by assessing their ability to apply year-specific knowledge and skills to new contexts and use critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
If you are wondering what subjects they have available tests for in Australia and New Zealand, here is a short summary for you taken from the official ICAS Assessment website:
AUSTRALIA: Digital Technologies (Years 2-10), Science (Years 2-12), Spelling (Years 2-7), Writing (Years 3-12), English (Years 2-12) and Mathematics (Years 2-12).
NEW ZEALAND AND THE PACIFIC REGION (PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND FIJI): Digital Technologies (Years 3-11), Science (Years 3-13), Spelling (Years 3-8), Writing (Years 4-13), English (Years 3-13) and Mathematics (Years 3-13).
Why sit the ICAS exams? Is it the same as the NAPLAN tests?
There are several reasons why your child should sit the ICAS. Firstly, it should be noted that the ICAS is an international competition that is not compulsory for students. Unlike the NAPLAN tests, this means that your child does not have to sit the exam. However, if they do voluntarily choose to sit the exam, they will have the opportunity to exercise their brilliance and challenge their academic limits against students across the world. Secondly, as the questions in the ICAS exams are designed to ask students to demonstrate a deeper understanding level of knowledge, this will give your child more exposure to advanced questions and contexts that they may not typically see in their school classroom. In addition, this will provide your child with the opportunity to build their learning confidence and prepare them early for the difficult assessment that they will undoubtedly face in their senior years of schooling.
Although they have similar ideas, the ICAS exams are different to the NAPLAN tests. First of all, NAPLAN papers only assess Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in Language Conventions, Reading & Comprehension, Writing and Numeracy. Unlike the ICAS, there is no available science or digital technologies test and there are only four year levels that are assessed in total. One additional area that it does assess compared to the ICAS, however, is reading and comprehension so many parents have opted for their children to sit both the ICAS and NAPLAN to cover more subjects.
It should also be noted that the NAPLAN tests compare students in each year level to a National Minimum Standard using bands and the ICAS recognises and awards student scores with Certificates between Participation to High Distinction.
How do I help my child prepare for their ICAS test?
If you are interested in registering your child for the ICAS, there are a few things that you can do to help your child prepare for their tests.
Firstly, depending on what subjects you are planning to register for, you can download the assessment framework for each of your ICAS subjects. This can be found on the official ICAS website under Subjects. Within each assessment framework, you can locate the paper that your child will be sitting and read through the different skills that may be assessed in their upcoming paper. Likewise, if your child has previously sat the ICAS before, this may help you to identify what particular skills your child may need improvement in. While the assessment framework does not provide a lot of detail about the types of questions that may appear, it can give you an idea of what your child will need to know to perform well in their exam.
Here is an example for ICAS Mathematics (Paper C) – Year 5 Equivalent in Australia:
Measurement – Compare areas and perimeters using a grid, solve time problems involving AM and PM
Secondly, you can help prepare your child for the ICAS by purchasing the past papers published by the official ICAS team. At this present moment, each paper costs $16.50 AUD each and is available in a downloadable PDF format.
Please note that you can also prepare your child for ICAS by going through the Free Sample Questions found on the official ICAS website (not available at the time of this post).
How do I register my child for ICAS exams?
If your school is not registered for ICAS, independent bodies such as North Shore Coaching College can provide a venue for your child to sit the ICAS test.