Student participation

All students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are expected to sit the NAPLAN tests.

There are some instances where students may be exempted from one or more of the NAPLAN tests or marked absent (for the purpose of the tests) or withdrawn from the tests. The NAPLAN national protocols for test administration provide the framework for understanding student participation.


Students are considered absent for test purposes if: 

  • they are not present at the school in which they are enrolled when the test is administered and are unable to sit a test in a catch-up session during the test window or school’s planned testing schedule, or

  • they are present at school but are unable to take a test as a result of an accident or mishap prior to the scheduled test session, preventing their participation, and are unable to sit a test in a catch-up session.

Principals are encouraged to enable the participation of students who were absent on the day of the test but who return to school within the NAPLAN test window. 


While a range of adjustments are available for students with disability, exemption may be suitable for some students with disability and for some students with a language background other than English. In both cases, schools need to discuss the proposed exemption with the student’s parent/carer and gain their permission prior to testing.

English language proficiency: Students with a language background other than English who arrived from overseas and have been attending school for less than a year before the test may be exempted. However, these students are not automatically exempt and should be given the opportunity to participate in testing. Principals can expect information from test administration authorities on the preferred method for collecting and recording this information. Students may be exempt from one test (e.g. reading) but still be able to participate in another test (e.g. numeracy).

Students with disability: Adjustments are provided to students with disability to support access to the tests and encourage maximum participation. Students with significant intellectual disability and/or those with significant co-existing conditions which severely limit their capacity to participate in the tests may be exempted from sitting the national tests. This is determined after consultation has occurred between the principal and the relevant parent/carer, and if it is decided the student is not able to access the tests with adjustments. For more information on the types of adjustments available, see Adjustments for students with disability.


NAPLAN tests are a routine part of the school calendar. However, students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer for reasons such as religious beliefs or philosophical objections to testing. This is a matter for consideration by individual parents/carers in consultation with their child’s school. A formal application in the manner specified by the relevant test administration authority must be received by the principal prior to testing.

More information