NAPLAN – general

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.

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.

All students in Australia are encouraged to sit NAPLAN. Every effort is made to ensure it is an equitable experience, regardless of a student’s language background, school location or disability. Visit Adjustments for students with disability to discover how participation in NAPLAN is accessible.

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.

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.

In the reading, numeracy and conventions of language tests, questions may be multiple choice, technology- enhanced (such as drag and drop) or require a short-written response. In the writing test, students are expected to write a continuous text. To support students in the writing task, time is provided to allow students to plan their response.

To explore the full range of NAPLAN items, visit the public Demonstration Site. For more information about the writing test, see the relevant FAQs at NAPLAN - writing test.

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.

NAPLAN is not a test of content. It tests skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum and every day in the classroom. 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.

If your child appears anxious about NAPLAN, acknowledge their feelings, and ask them what specific worries they are experiencing. The NAPLAN public demonstration site is available for students and their parents to visit together. Exploring the look and feel of NAPLAN tests can help reduce anxiety.

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

Neither the Education Council, nor 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.

For students who don’t require assistive technology to complete NAPLAN, 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 422 kb). These devices pose a potential security risk in terms of the device’s ability to access the internet, or take photos of the test.

For students with disability who access the large print or braille tests, the calculator that is used on a regular basis in the classroom should be available, under the following conditions:

  • For students using Braille, the inbuilt calculator in devices such as the BrailleNote, BrailleSense or Orion XS can be used, provided that access to the internet is disabled.
  • For students using large print, standalone or talking calculators can be used, either with a headphone jack or under separate supervision.
  • For students using large print who are not familiar with using a standalone calculator, but who access a calculator on their computer on a regular basis, this can be used, provided that access to the internet is disabled.

The NAPLAN coordinator / school principal and the teacher should discuss if additional supervision is required and document the decision made.If you are unsure about exactly which device your child is allowed to use, contact your test administration authority for more information.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.