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What is NAPLAN? The Facts About NAPLAN for Kids

What is NAPLAN and what does it mean for my child?

NAPLAN stands for National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy and is an annual formal assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in Australian schools.

2023 NAPLAN key dates

Previously all students sat a written-paper form of the NAPLAN test. After successful trials some schools will now offer online NAPLAN testing rather than written testing. Your school will advise you whether they will be offering the written or online version of the NAPLAN test.

2023 online NAPLAN testing

NAPLAN 2023 Online test window is nine school days. Day 1 is Wednesday 15 March 2023 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 2 and 3. 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.

2023 NAPLAN written test dates

Schools doing online testing will have from Wed 15 to Thursday 16 of March to complete their tests.

The below dates pertain to paper testing. Individual students are not permitted to sit the paper test after Monday 27 March, 2023. Students who are absent for their tests on days 15 and 16 March can sit their tests 17 – 27 March.

YearDay 1 WednesdayDay 2 ThursdayDay 3 Friday
Year 3Language conventions: 45 minutes

Writing: 40 minutes
Reading: 45 minutesNumeracy: 45 minutes
Year 5Language conventions: 45 minutes

Writing: 40 minutes
Reading: 50 minutesNumeracy: 50 minutes
Year 7Language conventions: 45 minutes

Writing: 40 minutes
Reading: 65 minutesNumeracy: 65 minutes
Year 9Language conventions: 45 minutes

Writing: 40 minutes
Reading: 65 minutesNumeracy: 65 minutes

Why do kids sit NAPLAN testing?

NAPLAN tests the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, such as reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy. It is important to remember that NAPLAN is not about passing or failing, but about teachers and educators assessing learning progress.

At the classroom level it is one of a number of important tools used by teachers to measure student progress.

NAPLAN assesses skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time, through the school curriculum.

NAPLAN is not a pass or fail type test, but rather shows how students are progressing in literacy and numeracy skills against national standards for all Australian students.

How is NAPLAN data used?

This data is used both to profile students, their class group, year level, school, state, nation, etc. The data may be used by schools to better target effort and support to assist all students improve and acquire the skills necessary for further achievement. All students are generally expected to participate in the tests.

Can my child be exempt from the tests?

Students can be exempted from one or more NAPLAN tests if they have significant or complex disability, or if they are from a non-English-speaking background and arrived in Australia less than one year before the tests. However, exemption is not automatic and parents may choose for their child to participate. Support can be provided for students with disability to participate in the NAPLAN tests.

Can I withdraw my child from NAPLAN?

NAPLAN tests are a routine part of the school calendar. However students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer if there are 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 (TAA) must be received by the principal prior to the testing.

Signed parent/carer consent forms are required for students to be exempted from the tests. All Australian governments have committed to promoting maximum participation of students in the national assessment process.  For more information, see Student participation.

Absences from NAPLAN

Students are considered absent for test purposes in the following instances:

  • They did not sit the tests because they were not present at school when the test was administered.
  • They were unable to sit the test as a result of an accident or mishap.
  • They were at school but were too ill to participate.

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 week scheduled for NAPLAN testing.

Adjustments for students with disability

Adjustments are available in NAPLAN tests for students with disability to support students’ access to the tests.

ACARA has developed a number of scenarios to explain some of the available adjustments for students with disability.

A student may be granted access to multiple adjustments, and adjustments may be different for each NAPLAN test. For example, the adjustment(s) approved for the NAPLAN reading test may be different to the adjustment(s) approved for the NAPLAN writing test.

As the scenarios show, there are many adjustments available to students with disability, but not all students with disability are eligible for all, or even some of the adjustments. Please note these scenarios are examples only.

In most cases, adjustments should reflect similar support and assistance provided in the classroom for assessment activities. An example might be a NAPLAN support person filling in bubbles at the direction of the student. However, not all adjustments provided in a classroom setting are applicable for NAPLAN.

Parents of students with disability should meet with their child’s teacher and discuss the adjustments that may be suitable for their child.

The provision of adjustments must in all cases comply with the National protocols for test administration.

6 ways parents can help with NAPLAN tests

  1. Keep routines – make sure children get plenty of sleep and a good breakfast on the day of the testing.
  2. Teach helpful thinking – encourage them to believe they can do it.  Help them to say ‘I’ll give it a go”.
  3. Clear expectations – talk through what will happen, how long they will work for, and that they will get a break.
  4. Encourage confidence – for example, encourage them to look through the paper and complete the questions they know they can answer first.
  5. Discuss feelings – encourage the children to discuss how they feel.  Listen with empathy so they feel understood and know their feelings are normal.
  6. Most of all have a positive parent attitude that shows you believe in your child – children take their cues from the adults around them.

When do we get NAPLAN results?

An individual student NAPLAN Report will be received by each school and issued later in the year.

Read more about NAPLAN

We have these informative guide for each NAPLAN grade:

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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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