Glossary

This glossary provides an explanation of some of the terms used on this website.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H  I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z
 

A Absent students Absent students are students who did not sit the tests because they were not present at school when the test was administered or were unable to sit the test as a result of an accident or mishap.
Empty Title Assessed students Those students for which a NAPLAN result is reported.
Empty Title Assessment framework

A clear definition of the scope and method of testing in each of the three areas included in the NAP sample assessments.

Empty Title Assessment scale Each of the NAPLAN assessment scales describes the development of student achievement in a domain from Year 3 through to Year 9, along a ten-band scale. By locating all student results on a single scale that describes their performance and skills, the NAPLAN assessment scales provide significant information about the performance of students.
B  Band

The NAPLAN assessment scale is divided into ten bands, used to report student progress through Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Band 1 is the lowest band and band 10 is the highest band. A band contains a range of scores and is not a specific point.

 C Cohort

A group of students.

Empty Title Common scale When two or more tests are equated, the difficulties of test items and student performances can be measured on the same (common) scale. This enables direct comparison of test performances between year groups and calendar years.
Empty Title Confidence intervals An indication of the statistical uncertainty to expect when estimating population parameters using statistics from a sample (e.g. a sample mean score).
Empty Title Correlation coefficient An indicator of the extent to which two variables (e.g. reading and numeracy scale scores) vary together. A positive correlation coefficient suggests that as the scores for one variable increase, so do the scores of the other variable; and a negative correlation coefficient suggests that as one set of scores increases, the other decreases.
Empty Title Criterion variable A variable that is predicted from a combination of other variables after a statistical analysis has taken place. It is sometimes referred to as a dependent variable.
 D Domain

A domain is the term used to describe a subject or learning area that is the focus of a test. The five learning areas tested in NAPLAN are reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy. These are called test domains. There are three domains for sample assessments: civics and citizenship, information and communications technology literacy and science literacy.

 E Equating
The process by which two or more tests are placed on the same measurement scale. This is so student performances and item (question) difficulties can be compared directly.
Empty Title Exempt students Exempt students are not assessed and are deemed not to have met the national minimum standard. Students with a language background other than English, who arrived from overseas less than a year before the tests, and students with significant intellectual disabilities or co-existing conditions may be exempted from NAP testing.
 G Gain

Gain refers to the difference in students’ achievement levels between two testing years. The gain graphs on My School compare students’ NAPLAN results in 2010 with their NAPLAN result in the same test domain in 2008.

Empty Title Geolocation

2008-2015
The MCEECDYA Schools geographic location classification system is based on the locality of individual schools and is used to disaggregate data according to metropolitan, provincial, remote and very remote.

From 2016
In 2016 the decision was made to use the ABS Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) in the National Assessment Program and NAPLAN. ASGS is based on the locality of individual schools and is used to disaggregate data according to major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote.
 I Item

A test item is a test question (or part of a question). 

 J Jurisdiction

State or territory in Australia. Test administration authorities are responsible for the implementation and administration of the NAPLAN tests in their jurisdiction (eg New South Wales, Northern Territory, Tasmania etc).

 L Likert-type items Items to which respondents are required to select one of several categories (e.g. ‘strongly disagree’, ‘disagree’, ‘agree’, ‘strongly agree’ ) to indicate their intensity of response to the item.
Empty Title Link items or common items Questions that appear in more than one test. Having link items is one method of equating tests. Link items can be ‘vertical’ (e.g. having common items in NAPLAN 2010 reading Year 3 and NAPLAN 2010 reading Year 5 tests), or ‘horizontal’ (e.g. having common items in tests administered in different calendar years).
 M Marking rubric The marking rubric is the set of criteria against which the writing test is assessed.
Empty Title Mean

The average result in an analysed data set.

N  NAPLAN

NAPLAN stands for the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy. NAPLAN is a series of common literacy and numeracy tests conducted annually across Australia for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Empty Title NAPLAN average

The average refers to the average NAPLAN score of students in Australia per year level and test domain.

Empty Title NAP sample assessments

The NAP sample assessments test students’ skills and understanding in science literacy, civics and citizenship and information and communication technology (ICT) Literacy. Only selected groups of students in Years 6 and 10 participate in these sample assessments, which are held on a rolling three-yearly basis.

Empty Title National minimum standard

The national minimum standards represent minimum performance standards in literacy and numeracy for a given year level, below which students will have difficulty progressing satisfactorily at school.

 P Participation

In NAP tests, participation rates are calculated as all assessed and exempt students as a percentage of the total number of students in the year level, as reported by schools, which includes those absent and withdrawn.

Empty Title Proficiency level

The sample assessment scales are divided into a number of levels, depending on the domain.  These levels are like bands for NAPLAN in that they encompass a range of scores.

Empty Title Proficiency scale Proficiency scales are developed for NAP sample assessments, and enable comparisons of results in each domain to be made from year to year. Proficiency scales are similar to the assessment Scales for NAPLAN but are divided into proficiency levels instead of bands.
Empty Title Proficient standard

A proficient standard is the standard in each of the NAP sample assessments that represents a reasonably challenging level of performance where students need to show more than the minimal skills expected at that year level. Proficient standards are not the same as national minimum standards because the latter refers to the basic level needed to function at that year level whereas proficient standard refers to what is expected of a student at that year level.

Empty Title Psychometrician

A psychometrician is a person practising any or all aspects of psychometrics. Psychometrics is an area of statistics concerned with educational and psychological measurement. This include the construction of tests, construction of measurement scales and  the development and refinement of theoretical approaches to measurement.

R  Rasch model A statistical model developed to analyse data and responses from assessments such as the NAP tests. It enables student abilities and item (question) difficulties to be placed on the same scale. It is particularly efficient for equating tests.
Empty Title Raw Score The raw score on a given test is the number of marks obtained on that test.
 S Sample testing Testing a sample of the population rather than testing the entire population. It is a relatively efficient method of obtaining general information about the performance of a population without having to test all members of the population.
Empty Title Scale

The assessment scales describe the skills and performance of student achievement in each of the NAP tests. Each of the NAPLAN assessment scales describes the development of student achievement in a domain from Year 3 through to Year 9, along a ten-band scale. By locating all student results on a single scale that describes their performance and skills, the NAPLAN assessment scales provide significant information about the performance of students. Sample assessment scales function in the same way, but are divided into levels instead of bands.

Empty Title Scores

NAP test results are reported both as direct scores and in bands or levels. 

Empty Title Special provisions

To maximise participation in the tests for the National Assessment Program, reasonable adjustments are provided to students with disabilities through a range of special provisions. Special provisions may be accessed by a student for all or part of the tests and include items such as Braille, large print and the use of a scribe.

Empty Title Standard deviation A statistical measure defined as the average amount by which scores in a test differ from the overall average score, that is, how ‘spread out’ the results are from the average result. The larger the standard deviation, the more spread out the values are.
Empty Title Statistically significant The probability that a result may have occurred by chance. It is generally used with data collected from samples. If a difference between two groups is statistically significant, then the observed difference is likely to also occur in the entire populations from which the samples were drawn, and unlikely to have occurred because of some artefact of sampling.
 T Test administration authority

Test administration authorities are responsible for the implementation and administration of the NAPLAN tests in their jurisdiction.

 W Withdrawn students Students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer. Withdrawals are intended to address issues such as religious beliefs and philosophical objections to testing.
 Y Years of schooling

States and territories have different school starting ages. Years of schooling is an estimate of the average time students have spent in schooling at the time of testing, expressed in years and months.