The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

NAPLAN tests skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life. With the test results, teachers can tailor each child’s education more effectively.

NAPLAN is made up of tests in the four areas of:

  • reading
  • writing
  • language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation)
  • numeracy.

The assessments are undertaken nationwide, every year, in the second full week in May. NAPLAN testing did not proceed in 2020.


NAPLAN is moving online. The tests are shifting from paper-based to online assessments. This year, most public schools will participate in NAPLAN Online assessments. 

Watch the following video to find out about the benefits of incorporating ICT into the curriculum.




Better assessment

NAPLAN Online provides the opportunity to tailor testing to each student’s ability. Students complete tailored tests which have diverse assessment tasks. This enables them to be assessed on a broader range of skills and content, providing teachers with more detailed information about what each student can do.

Students are presented with sets of questions based on their performance during the test. Many of these questions are of mid-range complexity for each year level, but some are of higher or lower complexity. For example, students who find early test questions difficult will be directed to questions that are less complex. Students performing to a higher level in the test will have the opportunity to answer questions that are more complex. This model provides all students with the opportunity to better demonstrate the range of their literacy and numeracy skills. It is also more engaging for students.

NAPLAN Online also enhances the provision for students with disabilities. Adjustments are available to allow them to access and participate in NAPLAN tests.

For more information how tailored testing works, visit the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority's website.

Precise results

NAPLAN Online provides teachers with more detailed information about each student’s ability, particularly those whose performance is in the higher and lower range of scores. They also receive the information much faster, enabling them to tailor learning for each student earlier. 

NAPLAN Online also enables you to receive your child's report faster so you will know earlier how your child is performing. 

NAPLAN Online and the paper-based tests both assess the same literacy and numeracy skills taught through the curriculum. Student results will continue to be measured against the one NAPLAN assessment scale, and students will answer the same number of questions that they would in a paper-based test.

NAPLAN Online will use an automated scoring system. This system uses the same marking criteria, known as the rubric, currently used to mark NAPLAN’s paper-based tests. The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has undertaken research about using an automated essay scoring system for scoring writing tasks and found it is comparable to human markers.

Digital capability

As part of their education, students are taught to be confident and capable with digital technologies. Participating in online assessments is one way they can apply their digital literacy skills. While completing NAPLAN online they will use seven ICT skills, which are aligned to the Western Australian Curriculum.

During the writing test, your child will use their skill in planning and composing text using Word for Windows. Generally students enjoy writing online and using the editing tools available to them. They are given many opportunities at school to develop and practise this skill.

All Australian education ministers agreed to schools using NAPLAN Online.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has responsibility for the central management of NAPLAN and is leading the transition to NAPLAN Online throughout the nation.

In Western Australia, the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) is responsible for overseeing the implementation of NAPLAN online in all Western Australian schools. The Authority has been working with all education sectors in Western Australia to support schools.

Schools have received training and support to ensure:

  • their school has the technology and skills to administer NAPLAN Online
  • school staff are able to confidently support students' engagement with the online assessment
  • students have the ICT skills and confidence to complete NAPLAN Online.

Support has been given to ensure public schools in Western Australia have the infrastructure to administer the test. This included providing advice on how many devices they need to administer the test, their network capabilities and how to manage their technical infrastructure. Schools are able to stagger testing times over nine days, which enables schools with smaller bandwidths and/or limited devices to complete the tests online.

School staff have been trained so they have proficient ICT skills and the confidence to administer the online assessment and support their students.

Students continue to develop their ICT skills as part of their school curriculum and they are given a practice test for them to become familiar with using the online platform.


The best way to support your child is to encourage them to do the best they can. The results of their assessment will help their teacher provide tailored learning for them. Here are some things you can do:

  • Tell them that answering questions online will enable them to better show their ability.
  • Let them know they will use a device with which they are familiar.
  • Show your child how to write and edit using a computer and encourage them to practise using it. Word processing makes it easier to move words around and to replace and delete them.
  • Let them know they will be able to go back and change most answers. (Questions that provide an online calculator cannot be changed).

Excessive preparation is not recommended and can place unnecessary stress on your child. NAPLAN assesses the literacy and numeracy skills your child is already taught in school. Teachers will ensure students are familiar with online assessments while also providing support and guidance.

You can see how the online platform works by using ACARA’s public demonstration site. There is a user guide and practice tests for all NAPLAN year levels which feature the different types of test questions that may be in the NAPLAN Online tests.

If you would like more information about NAPLAN in general, visit the NAPLAN website.

ACARA has undertaken significant research to inform the transition to NAPLAN Online and ensure technical and content readiness.