All students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are expected to sit the NAPLAN tests.
However, there are some instances where students may be exempted from one or more of the NAPLAN tests or marked absent (for the purpose of the tests) or withdrawn from the tests. The National Protocols for Test Administration provide the framework for understanding student participation.
Exemptions may be granted for students with a language background other than English or for students with a disability. In both cases, schools need to discuss the proposed exemption with the student's parent/carer and gain their permission prior to the testing period.
English language proficiency: Students with a language background other than English who arrived from overseas and have been attending school for less than a year before the test may be exempted. However, these students are not automatically exempt and should be given the opportunity to participate in testing. Principals can expect information from Test Administration Authorities on the preferred method for collecting and recording this information. Students may be exempt from one test (eg Literacy) but still be able to participate in another test (eg Numeracy).
Students with disability:
Adjustments are provided to students with disability to support access to the tests and encourage maximum participation. Students with significant intellectual disability and/or those with significant co-existing conditions which severely limit their capacity to participate in the tests may be exempted from sitting the national tests. This is determined after consultation has occurred between the principal and the relevant parent/carer, and if it is decided the student is not able to access the tests with adjustments. For more information on the types of adjustments available, see the section on Adjustments for Students with Disability.
NAPLAN tests are a routine part of the school calendar. However students may be withdrawn from the testing program by their parent/carer if there are religious beliefs or philosophical objections to testing. This is a matter for consideration by individual parents/carers in consultation with their child’s school. A formal application in the manner specified by the relevant Test Administration Authority (TAA) must be received by the principal prior to the testing.
Students are considered absent for test purposes in the following instances:
- they did not sit the tests because they were not present at school when the test was administered;
- they were unable to sit the test as a result of an accident or mishap; or
- they were at school but were too ill to participate.
Principals are encouraged to enable the participation of students who were absent on the day of the test but who return to school within the week scheduled for NAPLAN testing.
In 2013, the Wednesday and Thursday of NAPLAN testing coincide with the Jewish festival of Shavuot. Schools that will be closed during this time need to contact their TAA to discuss applications for test date variation. Schools that have students who will be observing the Shavuot holy days should also contact their TAA to discuss how to accommodate student participation around this celebration, if they have any questions.