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Video 1: What is NAPLAN?


What is NAPLAN?

How do I understand the information on the student report?

What can I do at home now to develop my child's literacy or numeracy skills?



Kate O'Donnell: The National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (usually known as NAPLAN) was introduced into Australian schools in May 2008.

It is a series of tests held in May for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

The tests are administered in NSW by the NSW Department of Education and Training on behalf of all government and

Catholic schools and the majority of independent schools.

Students are assessed in numeracy, reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

In Years 3 and 5 there are four tests - writing, reading, numeracy and the language conventions test, which includes spelling, grammar and punctuation.

In Years 7 and 9 there are five tests because there are two parts to the numeracy assessment - one test without calculators and another

one where a calculator is allowed to be used.

These NAPLAN tests replaced the previous State- and Territory-based assessments.

In NSW the tests that were replaced were the Basic Skills Test (the BST) for primary students and the ELLA and SNAP tests for literacy

and numeracy which were previously used for Years 7 and 8 students.

Before 2008, State- and Territory-based tests were held at different times across the country.

The month of May was chosen for the national tests because it is early enough in the year for the test results to be used to give information back to schools.

The results from the NAPLAN tests will be used to provide an important measure of how Australian students are performing in literacy and numeracy.

Like the previous State tests, the national tests will provide information on how students are progressing and will support parents, teachers

and schools to make improvements in teaching and learning.

All students are encouraged to participate in the national tests and provisions can be made for individual students with special needs.

For example, schools are able to order copies of the test in braille and large-print formats and in black and white.

Students with special needs who require support in the classroom are also able to access this support to do these tests.

Such support for the NAPLAN tests should always be discussed with your school principal and the school's learning support team.

If your child will be receiving any form of special assistance to access the test, you need to sign a form that says that you understand

and agree with the special provisions that will be provided to your child.

Some students may be considered for exemption from the tests if they are newly arrived in Australia and they have a language background other than English.

Students may also be considered for exemption where they have significant intellectual delay.

Exemptions need to be discussed with your school principal before the test and a consent form must be signed and kept at the school.

You also have the right to withdraw your child from the tests.

If you wish to do so, you must sign a consent form that is available from your school.

Once the tests are completed, the marking process begins.

The multiple-choice sections of the tests are marked by computer, but the writing test is marked by teachers in marking centres around Australia.

All of the teachers who mark the writing tests do the same training course so that the marking is consistent and fair.

No identifying information about students is visible to teachers when they are marking.


You will receive a report on your child's performance on the tests.

The reports will provide information on each of the areas assessed - writing, reading, language and numeracy.

The report will tell you the national average result for each of these areas, the range of performance of the middle 60 per cent of

students in each Year level and they will show you your child's result in each area.

In these tests the performance of students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 is calculated on the same continuous scale of ten bands.

This means that over time, as students move from Year 3 to Year 9, parents and schools will be able to see their progress on this scale.

However, on each report only six bands will be shown.

In Year 3 the report will show bands 1 to 6, in Year 5 it will show bands 3 to 7, in Year 7 it will show bands 4 to 9 and in Year 9 it will show bands 5 to 10.

The highest performing students in their year level are expected to be at the top of the band scale shown for that year.

The back of the report will give some brief information on the skills that are typical of each performance band.

General information will also be provided inside the report about the types of skills that were tested in writing, reading, numeracy and language for your child's year.

If your child was absent, exempt or withdrawn from any part of the test, this information will also be included on the report.

Further information will be available from your school about interpreting the report and your child's performance on each part of this test.

Your child's teacher or the school principal is the best person to talk to about your child's performance on the NAPLAN test.

NAPLAN test results are one way that you can see 'how your child is going' at school and they will provide some information on how your

child compares with the national average for that Year of schooling.

However, it is really important to remember that this only one measure of performance.

Teachers and schools use many different methods to assess student performance and it is useful to look at the NAPLAN test results

alongside other methods of assessment and what the teacher and you already know about your child.

For further information about NAPLAN, you can log on to: