The National Assessment Program is run at the direction of the Education Ministers Meeting (previously known as the Education Council). It includes the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), the 3-yearly sample assessments in science literacy, civics and citizenship, and information and communication technology (ICT) literacy, and participation in international sample assessments.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is responsible for the overall management of the Australian National Assessment Program, in collaboration with representatives from all states and territories and non-government school sectors.
NAPLAN is an annual assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It tests the types of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life. The tests cover skills in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy. The assessments are undertaken every year. From 2023, the NAPLAN test window will move to mid-March.
NAP sample assessments
NAP sample assessments in science, civics and citizenship, and ICT literacy (to be renamed digital literacy) occur annually on a 3-year rolling basis. ICT literacy was due to be assessed in 2020; however, it was cancelled twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will now be assessed in 2022. Science literacy will be assessed in 2023 and civics and citizenship in 2024. The 3-year assessment cycle for both of these domains was also impacted by the pandemic.
Only a small number of schools participate in the sample assessments, which provide a national snapshot of performance in these areas of learning.
The NAP sample assessments are conducted online. From 2023, NAP sample assessments will move from October to Term 2. From 2024, interested schools will be able to opt in to additional assessments in the NAP sample domains for Years 6 and 10, commencing with science.
International sample assessments
As part of the National Assessment Program, Australia participates in the following international sample assessments:
ACARA does not oversee the delivery of these assessments.