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Disability adjustments for NAPLAN

Adjustments are provided to students with disability to support access to NAPLAN tests and encourage maximum participation. All adjustments currently available for NAPLAN remain available for NAPLAN Online.

Working out disability adjustments

Adjustments are available for students with disability participating in NAPLAN Online or NAPLAN paper-based tests.

A student’s needs must be established prior to testing. Teachers and schools need to consult with students, parents and caregivers to work out the needs of individual students.

Disability adjustments should reflect the kind of support and help given for assessment in the classroom. However, some adjustments that are appropriate in a learning environment may not be appropriate in a standardised assessment environment. For example, reading the material or questions to a student during the reading test is not appropriate or permitted, even if this is what the student has in their normal classroom.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) guide for schools to assist students with disability to access NAPLAN Online gives an overview of the process teachers, in consultation with parents and caregivers, can use to work out if students with disability need adjustments for NAPLAN Online tests.

Schools should trial the NAPLAN Online tests with their students with disability using the demonstration tests available via the locked down browser. This will assess if the available adjustments meet a student’s needs.

ACARA provides scenarios to help work out the type of adjustments a student may use.

NAPLAN Online adjustments

Adjustments available in the NAPLAN Online assessment platform for students with disability include:

  • alternative questions for students with visual or hearing impairments
  • colour themes
  • keyboard accessibility (shortcuts) for all questions
  • use of a scribe or NAPLAN support person
  • use of assistive technology
  • allocation of extra time.

Some adjustments need the approval of the test administration authority (TAA) before they are applied. 

Approval to use adjustments – online and paper-based tests

Some adjustments need TAA approval before testing begins. 

TAA approval is needed if the adjustment uses:

  • assistive technology or any other adjustment that requires the disabling of the NAP locked down browser (LDB)
  • a scribe (only permitted for the writing test) if the student and scribe meet the criteria set out in the national test protocols
  • alternative format tests eg braille, large print, black and white, electronic tests
  • an allocation of double time.

Schools should contact the relevant sector representative to request TAA approval before using any of these adjustments.

Schools can approve all other adjustments in line with the national test protocols including rest breaks, extra time and use of a NAPLAN support person. A NAPLAN support person is only permitted for reading, conventions of language and numeracy tests (not writing).

More information is in the handbook for principals given to principals each year.

Applying adjustments for online tests

To access adjustments in the online assessment platform, the correct disability adjustment code (DAC) must be applied against each relevant test domain (writing, reading, conventions of language, numeracy) before the test begins. The platform will then automatically substitute an alternative item, or configure the test player theme to the corresponding DAC.

Schools are responsible for applying the correct DAC against each relevant test domain. DACs can’t be added or changed once a student has started a test.

A full list of DACs is in the handbook for principals – NAPLAN online, given to principals each year.

If the adjustment doesn’t meet the student’s needs –  alternative format test materials

If platform adjustments do not meet individual needs, schools can request alternative format tests (eg braille, large print, black and white, electronic). 

Alternative format tests are also available for students with disability in schools administering NAPLAN paper-based tests.

TAA approval to use alternative format test materials must be sought through the relevant sector representative. Schools are responsible for ordering alternative format test materials through their sector representative by the communicated date.

South Australian NAPLAN sector contacts for disability adjustments

Department for Education

Test Administration Authority
Phone: 1800 316 777
Email: education.sa.taa [at] sa.gov.au
Email: education.naplanonline [at] sa.gov.au (NAPLAN Online schools)

Catholic Education South Australia (CESA)

Mary Carmody
Phone: 8301 6643
Email: mary.carmody [at] cesa.catholic.edu.au

More information for Catholic schools can be found on the CESA website

Association of Independent Schools of South Australia (AISSA)

Alice Duffield
Phone: 8179 1400
Email: duffielda [at] ais.sa.edu.au

More information for independent schools can be found on the AISSA website.