NAPLAN – general


What is NAPLAN?

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual national assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9. All students in these year levels are expected to participate in tests in reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. All government and non-government education authorities have contributed to the development of NAPLAN materials.



Why do students do NAPLAN tests?

NAPLAN is the measure through which governments, education authorities, schools, teachers and parents can determine whether or not young Australians have the literacy and numeracy skills that provide the critical foundation for other learning and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community.

The tests provide parents and schools with an understanding of how individual students are performing at the time of the tests. They also provide schools, states and territories with information about how education programs are working and which areas need to be prioritised for improvement.

NAPLAN tests are one aspect of each school’s assessment and reporting process, and do not replace the extensive, ongoing assessments made by teachers about each student’s performance.



What will be tested?

NAPLAN tests the important skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, such as reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy. The content of each test is informed by the Australian Curriculum. The Literacy tests are based on content in the English learning area, and the numeracy tests draw content from the mathematics learning area. For more information on the types of skills and understandings that students are generally expected to demonstrate at their particular year of schooling, refer to the information provided for each domain in the NAPLAN section.



What types of questions are in the tests?

Questions are multiple choice or require a short written response for all tests except the writing test. Students are expected to write a continuous text for the writing task. For more information about the writing test, see the relevant FAQs at NAPLAN - writing test.



Can I access previous NAPLAN test papers?

ACARA has developed a set of example tests to enable students, teachers and parents to understand the look and feel of the NAPLAN tests and to become familiar with the type of questions that are asked in the tests.

These example tests are available in PDF format and may be downloaded and printed for non-commercial, educational purposes. They can be found on the tests page of this website.

ACARA has also released past NAPLAN test papers for 2008–2011 for all domains and all year levels. Releasing these previous test papers forms a part of our response to Freedom of Information Act requests received by ACARA. The NAPLAN tests are subject to copyright restrictions and are for personal use only.

ACARA would like to stress that we do not believe in the value of excessive preparation for NAPLAN beyond teaching the Australian Curriculum and familiarising students with the NAPLAN process. These tests should not be used for drilling students for future NAPLAN tests. See the ACARA website for more information and the NAPLAN 2008–2011 test papers.




Can my child be prepared for the NAPLAN tests?

NAPLAN is not a test of content. Instead, it tests skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum. Teachers will ensure that students are familiar with the test formats and will provide appropriate support and guidance. Excessive preparation is not useful and can lead to unnecessary anxiety. If you have any questions about your child's preparation for NAPLAN, you are encouraged to make a time to speak with their teacher.

NAPLAN tests are constructed to give students an opportunity to demonstrate skills they have learned over time through the school curriculum, and NAPLAN test days should be treated as just another routine event on the school calendar. The best way you can help your child prepare for NAPLAN is to reassure them that NAPLAN tests are just one part of their school program, and to urge them to simply do the best they can on the day.

For tips on things you can do at home to help your child develop their literacy and numeracy skills, see Preparing for NAPLAN.



Does ACARA endorse any commercial test preparation products or services?

Neither the Education Council, nor the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) endorses any organisation which may be offering NAPLAN-type tests and answers, diagnostic tools or any other product or service to teachers or students in connection with NAPLAN. These organisations are not authorised by and do not represent the Education Council or ACARA. Teachers and students who are considering purchasing such products or services do so at their own risk and need to make their own assessment as to their suitability.



Can students use tablets, such as iPads, as their calculator in the numeracy (calculator) tests?

No. Multifunction or internet accessible devices, including tablets and iPads, are not permitted for use as calculators in NAPLAN tests. This is outlined in the National protocols for test administration (PDF icon 298 KB). These devices pose a potential security risk in terms of the device’s ability to access the internet, take photos of the test.



What if the internet capabilities are disabled?

Tablets cannot be used as a calculator even if the internet capabilities are disabled. It is unreasonable for test administrators to be responsible for ensuring that the internet capabilities, as well as any other functionality that may aid in completing the test, remain disabled for the entire test for each student who uses a tablet.



How are NAPLAN tests developed?

The development of NAPLAN tests takes a long time and involves experts from across Australia. Specialist writers are engaged to develop test questions (items), and possible questions are carefully considered to make sure curriculum coverage is appropriate for the relevant year levels. Many test items are trialled by small samples of students to inform decisions about which items will be used in the final tests. This process ensures the quality of the tests. The final test forms are reviewed by experts (including experienced teachers) and approved only after they meet strict criteria.

For more information on this process, see the Test development section.



Who will run the tests?

NAPLAN tests are conducted at schools and administered by classroom teachers, school deputies or the principal. Each state and territory is responsible for marking the tests in accordance with strict guidelines and processes.



Who will mark the tests?

Student answers to multiple choice questions will be scanned and the data captured electronically. All other responses and the writing task will be marked by trained, independent markers.



How can I apply to be a marker?

Administration of the NAPLAN tests, including marking, is managed by the test administration authority in each state or territory.



Can schools provide copies of NAPLAN tests?

No. Schools are prohibited from giving copies (including sharing via email/social media) of NAPLAN tests to any person, including the media or parents of students who completed the NAPLAN tests. There are no exceptions to the rules regarding the release of NAPLAN tests.

NAPLAN tests are subject to copyright restrictions due to the use of third party materials, including texts and images. This means these tests cannot be copied, shared or used outside of schools.

Only after the test security period has ended, schools may refer to NAPLAN test papers when discussing a student’s results with parents, showing examples of where the student has performed well or where development and assistance may be required. Copies of the tests cannot be taken.



If I have more questions, whom do I ask?

If parents have additional questions they should contact their school. If the school is not able to help, questions can be directed to the  test administration authority in their state or territory.

Schools should contact the  test administration authority in their state or territory with any queries.

Questions about the administration of NAPLAN tests should be directed to the appropriate  test administration authority.

Questions about the overall National Assessment Program can be directed to ACARA.