NAPLAN – results, reports, performance

Education ministers cancelled NAPLAN in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in 2020 did not undertake the assessment in 2020 and did not do a ‘catch-up’ test in 2021. This means no student has a NAPLAN individual student report (ISR) for 2020.

ACARA does not have access to individual student reports and cannot arrange for replacement reports to be issued.

To obtain a copy of your child’s NAPLAN report, you should contact the school where they sat the test. If the school does not have a copy of the report on hand, the school may request one from the test administration authority for their state or territory.

Please note: requests to the test administration authorities for replacement reports should not be made directly by parents.

From 2023, NAPLAN moved to March. State/territory test administration authorities (TAAs) provide individual student reports (ISRs) to schools to distribute to parents/carers, and the timing is to be determined.

The same report format is used for every student in Australia. The school will notify you when the reports are being sent home. If your child sits the tests and you do not receive a report, you should contact the school. Individual student results are strictly confidential.

For more information, see Student reports.

ACARA does not publish answers to recent NAPLAN test questions. Due to the nature of tailored testing, students see different questions based on how they perform in the test and as such there is no single version of the test that is available to be shared.

If you have queries about particular questions following the test, you may like to discuss them with your child’s teacher or principal. To see test papers and answers from 2008 to 2016, visit the ACARA website.

NAPLAN is not a pass or fail type of test. Individual student performance is shown on a national assessment scale for each test. Each test scale has 10 bands and all year levels are reported on the same scale. Six bands are reported for each year level for each test. The single scale allows students, teachers and parents to monitor progress across the years and compare results to those in previous years as students advance through school.

The second lowest band at each year level represents the national minimum standard for students for that year level. A result at the national minimum standard indicates that the student demonstrated the basic literacy and numeracy skills needed to participate fully in that year level. The performance of individual students can be compared to the average performance of all students in Australia.

While the scale for each domain appears to be similar, the results cannot be directly compared across domains. For example, a score of 650 on a reading test denotes a different achievement than a score of 650 on a numeracy test.

For detailed information on the assessment scale used for NAPLAN reporting, see How to interpret.

Students and parents may use individual results to discuss students’ strengths and areas for improvement with teachers.

Teachers use results to help them identify students who require greater challenges or extra support.

Schools use results to identify strengths and areas of need in teaching programs and to set goals in literacy and numeracy.

Governments and school systems use results to review programs and support offered to schools.

Yes. A rigorous equating process is undertaken each year to ensure that results can be compared. As a result, change in performance of schools and school systems over time can be identified.

No. The national report does not include school level information – this is available on My School. The national report contains results by each year level and domain by state and territory, and nationally. The report also contains results by gender, Indigeneity, language background other than English status, parental occupation, parental education, and remoteness.

Individual school results are usually made available early in the year after the test took place. They are published on My School. This timeline is due to logistical and technical processes involved in analysing data from almost 10,000 schools and providing this information in the comprehensive format found on the My School website. Individual school results are not available on the NAP website. From 2023, NAPLAN moved to March. The timing of 2023 school results publication on My School is to be determined.

The NAPLAN average score for a school is a good indication of school performance based on the students who were tested in the school. The greater the proportion of students tested, the greater the accuracy. The My School website gives indicative confidence intervals for schools with different numbers of students. Confidence intervals reflect the accuracy of the estimates and the degree of confidence one can have in them.

NAPLAN scores provide an indication of students’ achievements, but they provide only one snapshot of selected aspects of what students know and can do. In interpreting a school’s results, there are 5 important considerations:

  • No test is able to perfectly measure a student’s level of achievement and all tests are subject to a certain amount of measurement error. This means that there will always be a margin of error surrounding a school’s average score. In general, the smaller the number of students tested, the larger the margin of error.
  • NAPLAN tests assess only a part of what students learn at school. For this reason, it is important to find out more about the whole curriculum of the school and the school’s performance across a range of areas. Start by visiting the school’s website or contact school leaders and teachers.
  • In comparing the performance of schools, it is important to take into account differences in their student intakes.
  • My School enables a school’s NAPLAN results to be compared with results for students who have a ‘similar background’. A school’s ‘student background’ takes account of the parental education levels and occupation, geographic location and the Indigeneity of its students.
  • Key factors in a student’s family background (parents’ occupation, school education and non-school education) have an influence on students’ educational outcomes at school and on NAPLAN results.

The My School website enables parents, educators and members of the community to track school performance over time. This information is available in the NAPLAN tab under ‘student progress’ and ‘results’. My School also provides a detailed explanation of how to interpret student achievement data.

The NAPLAN scores for any given school on My School are the average of the results of all students in each test in each year level (e.g. Year 5 reading). The higher the number, the higher the achievement of the students in that year level.

NAPLAN is a valuable tool that can give useful insights into a student’s performance over time, but individual reports should be interpreted with care as they reflect the student’s performance on the day of testing. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s NAPLAN results, discuss them with your child’s teacher, who will have the best insight into your child’s educational progress.

No 2 tests have exactly the same level of difficulty, so results are equated each year to adjust the difficulty of different tests and standardise them. This allows NAPLAN tests in different years to be reported on the same assessment scales.

Equating is a well-known statistical method that is widely used in other national and international large-scale educational testing programs.