Science literacy

The National Assessment Program – Science Literacy (NAP–SL) is an online test that informs schools, education ministers and the community about the levels of achievement in science literacy among Year 6 and Year 10 students across Australia, with the aim of improving teaching and learning.

Science literacy is essential to students being able to:

  • interpret information on scientific issues
  • ask questions
  • conduct investigations
  • make decisions
  • communicate their findings
  • develop problem solving skills

NAP–SL is a world-class online assessment designed by education experts in the field of science literacy. It contains questions and tasks that let students demonstrate achievement and understanding at a range of levels. NAP–SL is an excellent learning opportunity for selected students. 

Who is assessed and when

ACARA chooses a representative sample of students from government, catholic and independent schools in metropolitan and rural and remote locations.

Students take part in either the field trial or the main study.

The field trial: 

  • tests suitability of questions for use in the main study 
  • tests around 3,200 Year 6 and Year 10 students from approximately 128 schools 
  • took place in October and November 2022. 

The main study: 

  • tests around 12,000 Year 6 and Year 10 students from approximately 640 schools 
  • takes place in May 2023.

Preparing for NAP–SL 

For parents

Your child is not expected to study for this assessment and no preparation is necessary. However, they can do the NAP–SL practice assessment if they wish. 

You’ll also find more information for parents on NAP–SL at: 

For schools

Schools can find more information on NAP–SL at: 


ACARA publishes the NAP–SL public report in the year following the test. The report provides nationally comparable state and territory de-identified performance data and overall trends for Year 6 and Year 10 students.  

The report also provides an analysis of the achievement of various sub-groups of students, including the relative achievement of boys and girls, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, and students from different geographic locations and language backgrounds.  

Read previous NAP–SL public and technical reports.  

NAP–SL timeline 

Key dates in the development of NAP–SL are as follows: 

  • 2003 – first NAP–SL takes place.  
  • 2003–2015 – assessments conducted with samples of Year 6 students.  
  • 2018 – assessment program broadened to include Year 10 students.  

Other NAP sample assessments