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NAPLAN Online | The Facts for Parents and Kids About the Online Tests

NAPLAN Online marks the movement from paper tests to digital tests that began in 2018 and will happen again this year.

This will be a gradual process across all Australian states and territories that will see a significant shift in the testing dynamic. But what will this mean for the children taking the tests?

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NAPLAN – A Snapshot

Like it or loathe it, NAPLAN is a part of our children’s educational landscape. This national test takes part in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 and is designed to provide a glimpse into the progress of a child’s literacy and numeracy education. The testing takes place over three days in term two.

Some schools prepare their students for NAPLAN ahead of time with practice tests and skill work while others decide not to do practice tests, but rather practice ‘test like conditions’ to prepare them for the ‘process of testing’, so that the results may be a more accurate reflection of progress. NAPLAN results are often used by parents to inform their decisions about what school to send their children to but it’s really only one diagnostic tool in terms of decision-making.

RELATED: Interested in where your local school sits? Here are the most recent NAPLAN primary school rankings for Brisbane’s northside and Brisbane’s southside.

What is NAPLAN?

NAPLAN sees students undertake a series of language and numeracy tests to see where they are when compared to their cohort and then to the national average. The tests are marked in a central environment by trained staff over a three to four week period following the test. These results are then later sent to schools and parents and they also appear on the MySchool website.

Some secondary schools may take NAPLAN results into consideration when accepting enrolments. This is a conversation (and the questions to ask the school) best had between you and the individual school to determine their specific selection criteria.

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Why is NAPLAN moving online?

The decision has been made to move NAPLAN online for a variety of reasons. These include:

  1. Ease of testing and collating of results
  2. Better environmental impact
  3. The ability to tailor tests for particular students (which means not all children will sit the same test. Students will be given the opportunities to show what they KNOW rather than what they DON’T know)
  4. Increased speed of results coming back / marking process will be smoother
  5. The ability of students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems to provide a deeper look at their progress rather than a superficial statement

When will NAPLAN Online begin?

From 2018, schools in different states and territories began trialing NAPLAN online as part of an ‘opt-in’ basis. Individual states will then make decisions about when all schools in their jurisdiction will move to online testing.

Do not be concerned if your child’s school hasn’t started it yet but your friend’s school has. Everyone will be doing it eventually and no one will be disadvantaged.

NAPLAN Online 2023 tests timetable

NAPLAN 2023 Online test window is nine school days. Day 1 is Wednesday 15 March and day 9 is Monday 27 March 2023.

The writing test must be scheduled within a two-day test window and schools must schedule writing from the first day of the appropriate two-day test window. For Year 5, the writing window is days 1 and 2. For Years 7 and 9, the writing window is days 1 and 2. Year 3 students complete the writing test on paper, not online.

The tests need to be taken in a specific order. Individual students are not permitted to sit the online tests after Monday 27 March 2023.

What schools are doing online NAPLAN test in Queensland?

State, Catholic and independent schools in Queensland have joined their interstate counterparts in moving to NAPLAN Online testing.

Transitioning schools have been supported through training and a School Readiness Test. Here is the list of schools doing NAPLAN online:

What computers will schools use?

If your child brings their own device they will be allowed to do so for NAPLAN online. However, the devices will be secured so there is no internet access or spell checking (or similar) tools available. Your child will be shown how to do this.

How will the NAPLAN online tests be marked?

There will be automated scoring of the NAPLAN online tests. These are designed to mirror human scoring and will be much faster than the current system.

Can we try it?

The National Assessment Program website has a public demonstration site that will show you what the tests will be like for different year levels. You can access it here. 

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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