National protocols for test administration

national_protocols_image_file_1All states and territories administer the tests in accordance with nationally agreed protocols. The National protocols for test administration (National Protocols) for NAPLAN provide detailed information on all aspects of the administration of the tests.

In cases where individual students with disability require adjustments to access the tests, these adjustments are provided at the school in consultation with the relevant test administration authority. Further information about adjustments is available in the Adjustments for students with disability section.

You can now download the National protocols for test administration 2017 (PDF icon 742 KB).
Principals and test administrators should be fully aware of all requirements in the National Protocols. Schools should contact their TAA for advice if the National Protocols do not provide adequate guidance or if there are problems in meeting the requirements in the National Protocols.


Key points to note


  • The test security period will last until 19 May 2017.

  • The NAPLAN test window runs from 9 - 11 May 2017.


  • Year 7 and Year 9 students will complete one numeracy test with two parts: a calculator-allowed part and a non-calculator part. Test administrators are responsible for ensuring calculators are not accessible after the calculator-allowed part of the test.

  • Multifunction or internet accessible devices, such as tablets and the like, are not permitted for use as calculators.

 Test security

  • Principals are responsible for ensuring that students sitting the tests are appropriately supervised. Appropriate supervision during test administration includes the delivery of the test administration script.

  • Schools are reminded they should not open the test booklets any earlier than is required to sort the booklets and prepare the room for students.

  • Principals must notify their TAA immediately if test material security has been breached.

  • Due to copyright, there are restrictions on how NAPLAN test materials may be used after the end of the test security period. These restrictions apply to all NAPLAN test materials from 2008 onwards.

  • Catch-up or rescheduled tests are not permitted for students who abandon the tests due to illness or injury.

Adjustments for students with disability

  • Adjustments are provided to students with disability to support access to the tests and encourage maximum participation. For more information, see Adjustments for students with disability

  • Students with disability may exercise their usual access to standard non-educational facilities and furniture that form part of their everyday assessment adjustments. This includes, for example, usual medication, food or medical equipment that students require.
  • When a rest break is taken, the test time is stopped, and resumed on completion of the rest break. The student must not have access to the test paper, scrap paper, writing implements, computer or text entry device during a rest break.

  • Students with a temporary injury, such as a broken arm, may not use a scribe for the writing test.


Test Integrity

To maintain the integrity of the tests and the testing process, the National Protocols must be followed carefully. Breaches of the National Protocols and allegations of cheating or improper behaviour are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. Substantiated cases of improper behaviour may lead to invalidation of student results and be reported publicly. To assist test administration authorities and schools to understand what appropriate/inappropriate behaviours are, a code of conduct is included in the National Protocols, along with information on how breaches are dealt with. 

The NAPLAN code of conduct is designed to uphold the integrity of the tests by outlining the fundamental principles upon which the tests are based. Undermining test integrity by breaching these principles, or the National Protocols, will lead to an investigation and, if allegations are substantiated, to potentially serious consequences. The code provides a summary of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. At all times educators must ensure that tests are administered in a way that is fair and equitable for all students, in order to provide an accurate assessment of students’ capabilities at the time of testing.

ACARA, in cooperation with states and territories, will continue to review the National Protocols to ensure that tests are delivered in an appropriate and consistent manner across all states and territories. ACARA has full confidence in the ability of schools to administer the tests professionally.

Nationally consistent guidelines to support the investigation of test incidents have also been developed. The Guidelines for managing test incidents document is available in the Test integrity section.