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National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)

In May each year, students from all state and non-state schools across Australia participate in testing under the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy External Link (NAPLAN). The tests assess the skills of all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy.

NAPLAN tests are an important tool in helping schools to identify how education programs are working and what needs to be improved.

They assist schools and the government to recognise curriculum programs that are effective in improving student outcomes. They support funding decisions and identify areas where resources should be allocated or where money should be spent.

NAPLAN also helps parents and families to understand how their child is progressing in the important foundational areas of literacy and numeracy. Students and parents may discuss results with their teacher to understand how they are performing and identify areas of focus for the future.

NAPLAN: every student counts!

More students participating in NAPLAN will provide more data, as well as a more accurate picture of how schools and students are progressing. Better data, both in terms of quality and quantity, leads to more effective decisions and greater support for all students.

In order to provide better information and greater support, all Queensland students should be encouraged to participate in NAPLAN because every student counts!

NAPLAN Participation factsheet Adobe PDF document626K

NAPLAN: every student counts! video (duration: 0:55 minutes)
NAPLAN: every student counts! video (duration 0:55 minutes)

NAPLAN for your child - busting the myths

Myth 1: NAPLAN is a pass/fail test

NAPLAN is a point-in-time test. It assesses student literacy and numeracy performance at a given point in time to gauge how they are progressing. NAPLAN tests provide valuable information to schools and educators to better understand their students' needs. Results also highlight focus areas for schools, regions and the department that will influence change and drive improvement. There is no pass or fail mark for NAPLAN. It is a test that assesses a range of abilities and reports against a common scale with questions ranging from very easy to challenging.

The tests provide parents with a snapshot of their child's performance against the population of Australian students for that year level and the national minimum standard.

Myth 2: NAPLAN is too hard and confusing for my child to understand

NAPLAN tests are designed around the literacy and numeracy skills your child is expected to have at a given age and stage of their education, in line with the Australian Curriculum. The tests assess their literacy and numeracy skill levels to identify areas where they may need additional support.

Questions are multiple-choice or require a short written response. The writing task requires students to write an extended response. To give you an idea of what the tests look like, sample questions and a sample writing task are available on the NAP website.

Myth 3: NAPLAN places too much stress on students

Students do not need to stress about NAPLAN as the results will not go towards their academic result. The Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 tests each take less than four hours over three days. Students have always been given tests by teachers and it's perfectly normal to get nervous. NAPLAN tests skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life.

Myth 4: Students need to practise for NAPLAN

Students are not expected to practise for NAPLAN tests. NAPLAN assesses the literacy and numeracy skills described in the Australian Curriculum which is used in all Queensland state schools as part of everyday learning in the classroom. Schools may choose to administer a practise test to ensure that students are familiar with the types of questions that are contained in NAPLAN.

The best way to help your child prepare for NAPLAN is to reassure them that NAPLAN tests are just one part of their school program, and to encourage them to simply do the best they can.

Myth 5: It doesn't matter if my child doesn't participate

NAPLAN results are used to report the effectiveness of current curriculum programs and to plan for future resourcing. It is important that NAPLAN results are representative of the entire student population as schools use NAPLAN to monitor the effectiveness of various initiatives undertaken to improve student learning. If there is low participation in the tests, the information available to improve learning outcomes will be less inclusive of all students' needs.

Myth 6: There are no benefits to me as a parent for my child to participate in NAPLAN

NAPLAN tests provide another perspective about your child's progress in literacy and numeracy from Year 3 to Year 9. Parents have the option of withdrawing their child from one or all of the tests on certain grounds, although applications must be provided in writing to the school. Some students may be exempt from testing, including some students with a language background other than English or students with a disability.

Myth 7: NAPLAN forces schools to teach to the test

NAPLAN is designed to test what schools teach their students every day as part of the Australian Curriculum, as well as skills learnt over time during a student's school career. Schools may expose their students to the style of the tests and the nature of the questions, however they don't know the specific content of the tests. Schools need to teach to the Australian Curriculum.

Myth 8: My child has a disability and can't participate in NAPLAN

Reasonable support and adjustments are available for students with disability to participate in NAPLAN tests where possible.

Students may be able to access assistance such as a scribe for a writing task or a NAPLAN support person. Adjustments should reflect similar support provided in the classroom for students to show what they know and can do in the tests.

Parents of students with disability are encouraged to discuss options with their child's teacher before the tests to support their participation in NAPLAN. It is important that NAPLAN results are representative of the entire student population, including students with disability. For more information on adjustments, visit the ACARA website External Link.

Myth 9: NAPLAN tests are out of date

NAPLAN tests are designed each year to align with the Australian Curriculum. NAPLAN will transition from paper-based to online testing over the coming years, with all students to undertake NAPLAN online by 2019 unless their circumstances prevent them from doing so. NAPLAN Online will provide an adaptive 'tailored test design', presenting students with more questions pitched at their individual achievement level, thus increasing the accuracy of the results. There will also be a faster turnaround of information between testing and the return of results to the school.

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This page was last reviewed on 11 Sep 2017 at 02:51PM

NAPLAN information

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