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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. 

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 were distributed to schools in term 3, 2019. Principals are responsible for issuing individual student reports to parents and carers.  

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.  

For more information visit our disability adjustments for NAPLAN page


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. 

Apply to mark the NAPLAN writing task

Applications are open for NAPLAN Writing marking in 2021.

Marking is expected to commence in mid May 2021 and will run for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

Markers gain an in-depth understanding of the NAPLAN writing task and marking rubric, and the processes and stages of writing development. Training and marking hours can be accrued as professional development hours.

Apply using the online application form.

Applications for 2021 NAPLAN marking will close on 22 February 2021.

Download the information sheet (DOCX 384KB) for more information. You can also print and distribute at your school.

There is also a promotional poster (PDF 1MB) that principals can print and display.

For more information, contact the marking centre team by emailing education.markingcentre [at] sa.gov.au or phoning 1800 316 777.


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)

Karen Sloan
Senior Education Adviser Curriculum, Learning and Wellbeing
Phone: 8301 6641
Email: naplan [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 1400
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.