National protocols for test administration

All states and territories administer the tests in accordance with nationally agreed protocols. The National protocols for test administration provides detailed information on all aspects of the administration of the tests. It specifies security requirements and uniform processes and procedures to ensure students complete the tests under similar conditions, which in turn will ensure that the results of the tests will be comparable across Australia.

In cases where individual students with disability require adjustments to access the tests, these adjustments are provided at the school in consultation with the relevant test administration authority. Further information about adjustments is available in the Adjustments for students with disability section.

You can now download the 2016 National protocols for test administration (PDF icon 298 KB).

In order to maintain the integrity of the tests and the testing process these protocols must be followed carefully. Breaches of the National protocols for test administration and allegations of cheating or improper behaviour are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. Substantiated cases of improper behaviour may be reported publicly. To assist test administration authorities and schools to understand what appropriate/inappropriate behaviours are, a code of conduct is included in the National protocols for test administration, along with information on how breaches are dealt with. 

The NAPLAN code of conduct is designed to uphold the integrity of the tests by outlining the fundamental principles upon which the tests are based. Undermining test integrity by breaching these principles, or the National protocols for test administration, will lead to an investigation and, if allegations are substantiated, to potentially serious consequences. The code provides a summary of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. At all times educators must ensure that tests are administered in a way that is fair and equitable for all students, in order to provide an accurate assessment of students’ capabilities at the time of testing.

ACARA, in cooperation with states and territories, will continue to review the National protocols for test administration to ensure that tests are delivered in an appropriate and consistent manner across all states and territories. ACARA has full confidence in the ability of schools to administer the tests professionally.

Nationally consistent guidelines to support the investigation of test incidents have also been developed. The Guidelines for managing test incidents document is available in the Test integrity section.

2016 National protocols for test administration

There have been no significant changes made for the 2016 version of the National protocols for test administration. However, to ensure that schools are across all requirements of the National protocols for test administration, principals and test administrators should read carefully through the entire document.

Points to note

  • Schools should contact their TAA for specific advice if the protocols do not provide adequate guidance or if there are problems in meeting the requirements in the protocols.
  • Multifunction or internet accessible devices, such as tablets and the like, are not permitted for use as calculators.
  • Principals must notify their TAA immediately if test material security has been breached in any way, including in transit.
  • A statement of skills being tested is contained in the protocols to assist with decisions on suitability of adjustments for students with disability and a student may have access to more than one disability adjustment.
  • Students with a temporary injury, such as a broken arm, may not use a scribe for the writing test.
  • Catch up tests are not permitted for students who abandon the tests once they have started and students removed from the test room must continue the test immediately in another room, or be deemed to have finished the test.
  • Schools are reminded they should not open the test booklets any earlier than is required in order to sort the booklets and prepare the room for students.
  • Due to copyright, there are restrictions on how NAPLAN test materials may be used after the end of the test security period. These restrictions apply to all NAPLAN test materials from 2008 onwards.