Provides parents, schools, governments and the non-government school sectors with information about whether young Australians are reaching important educational goals.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is an independent authority focused on improving the learning of all young Australians through a national curriculum, the national assessment program and a national data collection and reporting program.
ACARA collaborates with teachers, principals, governments, state and territory education authorities, professional education associations, community groups and the general public to develop national education standards for use in every school in Australia.
The National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests are conducted in May for all students across Australia in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Each year, over one million students nationally sit the NAPLAN tests. All students in the same year level are assessed on the same test items in the assessment domains of reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy.
NAPLAN data provide parents, schools, governments and the non-government school sectors with important information about whether young Australians are reaching important educational goals.
NAPLAN tests are the only Australian assessments that provide nationally comparable data on the performance of students in the vital areas of literacy and numeracy. This gives NAPLAN a unique role in providing robust data to inform and support improvements to teaching and learning practices in Australian schools.
The NAPLAN assessment and reporting process
NAPLAN tests are developed collaboratively by ACARA, the state and territory governments, the non-government school sectors and the Australian Government. The test administration authority in each jurisdiction is responsible for test administration, data capture and delivery of reports.
NAPLAN tests broadly reflect aspects of literacy and numeracy within the curriculum in all jurisdictions. The types of test questions and test formats are chosen so that they are familiar to students and teachers across Australia.
The test administration authority in each jurisdiction manages the marking of the tests. Tests for reading, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy are marked using optical mark recognition software to score multiple-choice items. Writing tasks are marked using well established procedures for maintaining marker consistency across all jurisdictions.
Test administration authorities submit de-identified student data from all tests to a contractor appointed to undertake analysis of the test data on behalf of ACARA. This analysi determines individual student scores across the national achievement scale and enables comparisons over time.
Comparative data showing the performance of each jurisdiction and the nation are provided to each test administration authority.
Student reports are produced by the test administration authorities, using a common national reporting format.
Comparisons over time
NAPLAN tests are equated so that the 2014 results can be compared with those for previous years. Equating enables the results from NAPLAN tests in different years to be reported on the same achievement scale. As with all statistical calculations, the NAPLAN statistics provided in this report include some degree of uncertainty and this should be considered when interpreting differences in jurisdictional and national average scores, and percentages at or above national minimum standards.
To help interpret differences in results, an additional effect size measure has been included in the 2014 comparison calculations. Where comparisons of results are shown, a representation of the effect size and statistical significance of the comparison is also provided. This representation is referred to as ‘nature of the difference’. The ‘nature of the difference’ representation combines the outcomes of statistical significance tests with an effect size measure of the difference.
Comparisons are made for results within jurisdictions, between the current year and previous year, and between the current year and base year. For reading, narrative writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy, the base year is 2008. For persuasive writing, the base year is 2011.
Between 2008 and 2010, students were assessed using a narrative task. A persuasive task has been used since 2011. With the change in the writing genre in 2011, a new persuasive writing scale was introduced. As this is a separate scale to narrative writing, there is a break in the time series data. The persuasive writing results should not be directly compared to the narrative writing results.
NAPLAN results are publicly reported through the summary and national reports. Results are also available for use by jurisdictions, non-government school sectors and schools.
Individual student reports, provided to parents/carers, show student results against the national average and the middle 60 per cent of students nationally. These reports contain a description of what was assessed in each of the tests and provide information about the knowledge and skills the student demonstrated in the tests.
NAPLAN results are reported using five national achievement scales, one for each of the NAPLAN assessment domains of reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy. In 2014, results for writing are reported on the persuasive writing scale. Each scale consists of ten bands, which represent the increasing complexity of the knowledge and skills assessed by NAPLAN from Years 3 to 9. Six of these bands are used for reporting student performance in each year level. Student raw scores on tests are converted to a NAPLAN ‘scale score’ so that those scores can be located on the national scale for each domain.
The NAPLAN reporting scales are constructed so that any given scale score represents the same level of achievement over time. For example, a score of 700 in reading in one year represents the same level of achievement in other testing years.