Understanding NAPLAN

As parents and families, we take great interest in our children. We also know how important it is that they have literacy and numeracy skills for life.

NAPLAN (the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) assesses the sorts of skills that are necessary for every child to progress through life – skills of reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy.

There are two things we need to remember about NAPLAN;

  1. There is no pass or fail on this test.
  2. It is another piece of information to add to the many tools teachers use to measure student progress.

Participation in NAPLAN

All students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 are expected to participate in NAPLAN assessments. NAPLAN gives you, as parents and families, information on how your child is progressing against national standards. NAPLAN does not replace, but complements, assessments organised by your child’s teacher throughout the year.

Adjustments are available for students with disabilities. A student may be given many adjustments to enable participation in the assessments. Not all students with disabilities are eligible for adjustments – the adjustments should reflect similar assistance given in class. There are a small number of students with significant intellectual disability or many complex issues who are granted exemption from NAPLAN. This exemption is given by the central authority i.e. the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office.

How is NAPLAN performance measured?

NAPLAN is not a pass or fail type of assessment and it is designed to show the range of student performance across Australia. It is not expected that students will answer all questions correctly.

Individual student performance is shown on a national achievement scale for each assessment. The performance of individual students can then be compared with the average performance of all students in Australia.   You, as parents, will receive this report sometime between mid August and mid September. Your school will advise you when they will be sent home.

How can I best help my child prepare for NAPLAN?

The best way you can help your child is to reassure them that NAPLAN assessments are just one part of their school program and urge them to simply do the best they can on the day.

NAPLAN assesses literacy and numeracy that students are already learning through the school curriculum. Excessive preparation is not useful as it can lead to a level of anxiety which is not helpful.  Teachers will assist students to be familiar with the assessments and give appropriate support and guidance.

How does a school use the information?

NAPLAN is important as it provides information for schools to reflect on the effectiveness of their programs. There can then be an adjustment to meet the needs for students at the school.  It can assist, together with other assessments completed at the school, with targeted programming or interventions for some students.


After the NAPLAN assessment days, life goes on. As parents and families please keep up all the activities in which your child is involved. Don’t just focus on literacy and numeracy. Evidence shows that a well-rounded education, such as including sport, art and music, all contribute to the development of literacy and numeracy. All contribute to happy, informed students who are confident in their own abilities.