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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. 

2020 key dates for principals

A list of key dates and activities is on our key dates for NAPLAN 2020 page

2020 testing dates



NAPLAN online 12 to 22 May 2020
NAPLAN online test window runs for 9 days. This allows schools flexibility in scheduling test sessions.
NAPLAN paper 12 to 14 May 2020

Test security is to be maintained until Friday 29 May 2020.

2020 test sequence

NAPLAN tests need to be taken in a specific order known as the ‘test sequence’.

The NAPLAN Online test sequence for years 7 and 9 is changing in 2020. The NAPLAN Online writing test will now be scheduled over more days than in 2019. There is no change to the test sequence for NAPLAN Online years 3 and 5 or NAPLAN paper testing. 

You can read more about the change on the National Assessment Program website. Detailed information about scheduling online tests will also be provided in the handbook for principals and NAPLAN coordinators – NAPLAN Online 2020 provided to schools early in term 1. 

2020 NAPLAN Online test sequence 

For years 3 and 5:

  1. Writing (see notes below)
  2. Reading
  3. Conventions of language
  4. Numeracy.

For years 7 and 9:

  1. Reading (day 1-optional-or after writing has been completed. See notes below) 
  2. Writing (start on day 2)
  3. Conventions of language
  4. Numeracy 


  • Year 3 students do a paper-based writing test on day 1 only.
  • Year 5 must start writing on day 1 and schools must prioritise completion of writing across days 1 and 2 only.
  • Year 7 and 9 must start writing tests on day 2 and schools must priroitise the completion of years 7 and 9 writing tests across days 2 and 3 only.
  • Schools have the option to start year 7 and 9 reading tests on day 1 or start after writing tests have been completed. 

NAPLAN paper test sequence (year 3, 5, 7 and 9)

Years 3, 5, 7 and 9:

  1. Language conventions then writing (day 1)
  2. Reading (day 2)
  3. Numeracy (day 3).


ACARA’s guidance for schools, parents and carers supporting students who are observing Ramadan while undertaking NAPLAN is available on the National Assessment Program website

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.

Marking the NAPLAN writing task

Applications for marking the 2020 NAPLAN writing task are now being accepted.

Apply before 21 February 2020 to be considered for marking in the South Australian NAPLAN Marking Centre. It is anticipated application outcomes will be known by early April 2020.

To apply for marking, please use the online application form.

More information is available in the SA NAPLAN marking information sheet (PDF 232KB).

Please encourage your colleagues to apply for a role in the Marking Centre by downloading this NAPLAN marking recruitment poster (PDF 1802KB) and displaying it on your staff noticeboard.

Contact the the Marking Centre team by email, education.markingcentre [at] sa.gov.au, or phone 1800 316 777, for more information or if you have any questions.

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 6600
Email: karen.sloan [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.