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NAPLAN information for schools and principals

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It tests skills in writing, reading, spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy.

The NAPLAN tests are administered in schools across Australia in May every year. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) coordinates NAPLAN testing.  The relevant state test administration authority (TAA) administers the tests. The Department for Education is the TAA for all schools in South Australia.

Moving to online testing

NAPLAN is transitioning from paper-based tests to computer-based assessments. The move to online testing started in 2018. The aim is for schools to transition to online testing by 2020.

Online testing will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information, helping schools tailor teaching and learning to student needs.

The NAPLAN team supports schools to participate in readiness activities in the year before each school’s transition. These readiness activities help prepare students and staff for the move to online testing. 

As we plan the transition of all schools in South Australia to NAPLAN Online, we are working closely with the Association of Independent Schools South Australia (AISSA) and Catholic Education South Australia (CESA).

NAPLAN information for parents, carers and the community

Parents, carers and members of the community looking for information about NAPLAN can visit our NAPLAN information for parents, carers and the community page.

2019 reports

Reports will be distributed to schools in term 3. Principals are responsible for issuing individual student reports to parents and carers. 

The guide to interpreting 2019 NAPLAN results (PDF 267KB) supports all NAPLAN South Australian schools to interpret the information presented in the results reports.

More resources to help schools interpret results are in each school’s reporting pack:

The archive on the Student Participation Website (SPW) is open from 12 September to 22 November 2019. It has scanned images of 2019 test booklets for students who completed any test on paper, and the writing scripts for all students (online and paper writing tests).

Login and password details for the SPW have been sent to all principals.

ACARA have also published information and videos on the National Assessment Program website to help schools interpret NAPLAN results.

School and student summary report (SSSR) – NAPLAN Online schools only

Principals of NAPLAN Online schools have been sent information on downloading their school and student summary report (SSSR).

Download ACARA’s guide to interpreting the SSSR (PDF 1675KB). If you're printing this guide, please print A3.

2020 testing dates

We anticipate that all South Australian schools will conduct NAPLAN testing online in 2020.



NAPLAN online 12 to 22 May 2020*
NAPLAN paper 12 to 14 May 2020

* NAPLAN online test window runs for 9 days. This allows schools flexibility in scheduling test sessions.

Tailored testing

NAPLAN Online tests are tailored tests. This means students are presented with questions that are more or less difficult, based on how they are performing during the test.

Tailored testing means students are more likely to stay engaged as they receive questions better suited to their ability. This allows them to show what they can do, rather than just what they can't.

Students at each year level start with a similar set of initial questions. The second set of questions may be more or less difficult, depending on the number of questions answered correctly in the initial set. The same approach applies to any further sets of questions.

A student’s NAPLAN result is based on both the number and difficulty of questions the student answers correctly.

Several testing programs used by schools use a form of tailored testing. For example, the online Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT) in reading and mathematics use tailored testing.

You can read more about tailored tests on the National Assessment Program website.

Technical requirements for NAPLAN Online

Minimum technical requirements for equipment used for NAPLAN Online testing are listed on the National Assessment Program website. This includes minimum technical specifications for devices.

Public demonstration site

Teachers can use the public demonstration site to help students become familiar with the format of NAPLAN Online.  

The NAPLAN Online assessment platform uses a locked down browser (LDB) to ensure security during testing. It's recommended that schools use student devices with the LDB installed to access the demonstration tests and familiarise students with the format of online testing.

The public demonstration site provides examples of alternative test items that will be used in NAPLAN Online for students with disability.

Students with disability

The national assessment platform provides adjustments for students with disability to support them in accessing NAPLAN online tests. Adjustments include alternative audio and visual questions, including colour themes and keyboard accessibility for all questions. 

ACARA’s guide for schools to assist students with disability to access NAPLAN Online gives an overview of the process teachers, in consultation with parents and carers, may use to assist students with disability to access NAPLAN Online.

Students with disability who use assistive technology are encouraged to try the public demonstration site at their school by using a device with the LDB installed. This will help determine if the assistive technology or device settings are compatible with the platform. 

Where a student with disability cannot access NAPLAN Online, alternative format paper tests (eg large print, black and white, electronic tests) can be provided on application to the TAA.


All parents and carers of students participating in NAPLAN Online, including those participating in readiness activities, must be provided with the NAPLAN Online - privacy collection notice.

Contact your sector representative for a copy of the privacy notice if you don't have it already.

Marking the NAPLAN writing task

Thank you to all markers involved in NAPLAN marking in May and June 2019.

Recruitment of markers for the 2020 NAPLAN writing task will begin towards the end of 2019. This page will be updated when recruitment starts.

Please contact the NAPLAN team on 1800 316 777 or education.markingcentre [at] sa.gov.au  if you have any questions about marking recruitment. 


South Australian sector contacts

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)

Ray Moritz
Senior Education Adviser Educational Measurement
Phone: 8301 6136
Email: ray.moritz [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)

Schools conducting NAPLAN paper testing

Rosemary Kadow
Educational consultant
Phone: 8179 1415
Email: kadowr [at] ais.sa.edu.au

Schools conducting NAPLAN Online

Lynda Secombe
Senior Educational Consultant
Phone: 8179 1400
Email: secombel [at] ais.sa.edu.au

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