Understanding online assessment

NAPLAN online tests include a range of question formats and interactive features. Students answer questions by clicking, typing and dragging; some questions include audio or interactive tools; all questions can be reviewed and answered, flagged and returned to later. The assessments can run through a real-time internet connection or onscreen without an internet connection. Watch: Understanding NAPLAN online (2 min 11s).


Adjustments for students with disability include audio and visual alternative format questions to assist students with disability to access NAPLAN.

The Accessibility section has information on adjustments available to students with disability, disability adjustment scenarios and interviews with students, parents/carers and teachers.

Tailored testing

NAPLAN online tests are tailored or adaptive. Students at each level start with a similar set of questions. Depending on each student’s answer, the next set of questions may be easier or more difficult, giving students greater opportunity to demonstrate what they know. Learn more about tailored testing.

Keyboard shortcuts

All questions can be interacted with via keyboard shortcuts. Students can familiarise themselves with these shortcuts by using the Public demonstration site.


Headphones are required for some questions that include sound in the spelling, writing and numeracy tests.

The conventions of language tests contain spelling questions that include audio dictation. Students with disability who cannot hear the audio can be provided with alternative questions without audio dictation.

An audio file is attached to the writing prompt as well as to each numeracy question so that the literacy demands of the questions do not prevent students accessing the test. Students can access the audio support without teachers’ help.

Students using hearing aids or cochlear implants may use the specialised headphones that they typically access in the classroom.



A timer on the screen shows the time allocated for NAPLAN tests under normal test conditions. Students can choose to display or hide the timer, but the timer will always display during the last 5 minutes of the actual test so that students have adequate warning that the time allowed is ending.

Numeracy tools

Some numeracy questions include access to online tools (ruler, protractor or calculator). When a ruler, protractor or calculator is allowed to be used, an appropriate icon appears in the top right-hand corner of the test screen. To use these tools, a student needs to click on the appropriate icon. Once active, the tool can be moved around the screen. Clicking the icon again will minimise the tool.

Questions at the beginning of the Year 7 and Year 9 numeracy tests do not allow the use of the calculator. Students are alerted once they reach the point in the test where the calculator becomes active. Once the calculator becomes active, students cannot go back to questions that do not allow use of the calculator.

Zoom tool

A magnifying glass icon, or zoom tool, appears in the top left-hand corner of the test screen. The zoom tool increases the size of the question on the screen. To enlarge the view to 150, 200 or 300%, students need to click on the zoom tool. Clicking 100% will return the view to original size. Students may need to use the scroll bar as a result of increasing the zoom.


Progress summary

The tests are designed in sections. A student’s answers to one section of the test will determine the next section to appear on the student’s screen, so it is important for students to check their answers at the end of each section. At the end of a test section, a notification screen reminds students to check their answers before proceeding to the next section. To navigate back, students need to click back or use the progress summary screen. Some tests have locked sections: the conventions of language tests and the Years 7 and 9 numeracy tests. See the Branching messages (PDF 458 KB) document for examples of the screens students see between sections.

The progress summary screen is activated by clicking the grid icon at the top of the test, beside the question number. The grid icon displays questions that have been answered, unanswered, unread or flagged, which allows students to view their progress in the test. Clicking the grid icon again returns a student to their place in the test.

To mark a question to return to it later, select the flag function at the bottom of the test.

Public demonstration site tests

In advance of taking NAPLAN, students are encouraged to explore the Public demonstration site tests for their year level in order to familiarise themselves with the different item types as well as the features of the test player. Students with disability, their teachers and families can use the public demonstration site to see some of the adjustments available and check the compatibility of assistive technology.