In May of every year, students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 take part in the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). NAPLAN was first introduced in 2008 and has become a routine part of the school calendar in Australia.
NAPLAN, which is part of the National Assessment Program (NAP), is how governments, education authorities and schools can determine whether young Australians are reaching important educational goals.
ACARA is working towards moving NAPLAN online. The aim is for students to complete NAPLAN tests using a computer or another electronic device, such as a tablet.
The Australian Government remains committed to a national approach to online assessment, including delivering NAPLAN online.
NAPLAN will continue to be paper-based for 2016.
Moving NAPLAN online brings many new opportunities for students and teachers that are often limited or not possible with paper-based tests.
The benefits of online assessments
Some of the main benefits of students taking part in NAPLAN online include:
- Assessments will use a tailored test design. Students will answer an initial set of questions and then be directed to subsequent sets of questions based on the accuracy of their responses. Students with a high number of questions correct will be directed to more challenging questions. Students who have a lower level of accuracy in the initial set of questions will be directed to questions that are less challenging.
Tailored testing will provide teachers and schools with more targeted and detailed information on their students’ performance on the tests.
Use of a computer-based environment provides the opportunity to broaden the scope of the assessments.
Delivery of assessments online will significantly reduce the time it takes to provide feedback to schools, students and parents.
- ACARA research into online assessment has shown that students have engaged well with computer-based tests.
As technology develops, ACARA aims to further refine the delivery of the tests to best use the available technology to provide increasingly sophisticated assessments.
NAPLAN online – key messages
- NAPLAN helps parents, carers and educators to see if children are meeting important numeracy and literacy standards. It is used to support school improvement processes by enabling teachers to monitor their students’ progress over time and to identify areas of strength and development.
- NAPLAN provides parents and carers with an individual report, showing their child’s results and a national comparison of their child’s performance against other Australian students in their year level.
- Federal, state and territory education ministers have agreed that NAPLAN will move online from 2017, over a two-to-three year period.
- NAPLAN online will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information.
- NAPLAN online will mean that the tests better meet the needs of all students, including those with a disability.
- NAPLAN online will use ‘tailored testing’ which gives students questions better suited to their ability, resulting in better assessment and more precise results.
- The precision and improved timing of the results will help teachers tailor their teaching more specifically to student needs.
- Currently, an online national assessment platform is being built by Education Services Australia with funds from the Australian Government.
- Significant planning, development, research and trialling are going on behind the scenes to make sure we are all ready to move NAPLAN online.
- The online national assessment platform is being built and will be used to trial online assessment in 2016. The platform will also be used to deliver NAP: civics and citizenship in 2016.
- State/territory education authorities will make decisions about the logistics and timing to move NAPLAN online for their state/territory. These groups will also lead implementation in their state/territory.
- For schools that are not able to access the internet to the required level for online testing, alternative information technology solutions will be available.
Frequently asked questions
In moving NAPLAN online, what devices are under consideration?
When will NAPLAN online start?
Will all schools commence to undertake NAPLAN online together?
What organisations are responsible for delivering of NAPLAN online?
How far advanced is the build of the NAPLAN online system?
How will ACARA know when schools are ready to go online?
Will students with limited keyboard skills be disadvantaged in the writing test?
Where do I find out more information about NAPLAN online?
How secure will the online assessment platform be?
Won't the expanded test window lead to students being able to tell other students the answers to NAPLAN questions?
More information on technical requirements and information on devices can be found on the NAP website at Technical requirements.
The Education Council, comprising of state, territory and commonwealth education ministers, have agreed that NAPLAN online will be implemented from 2017 on an opt-in basis over two to three years.
State/territory education authorities will make decisions about the logistics and timing to move NAPLAN online for their state/territory. These groups will also lead implementation in their state/territory.
There are three components in the program to move NAPLAN online:
- Developing of the platform, the online national assessment platform (ONAP). This is being developed by Education Services Australia (ESA).
- Having NAPLAN and sample assessments ready to run online. ACARA is responsible for this component.
- Readiness by schools and school authorities, including devices and training.
No. Implementation will be determined by jurisdictions, school systems and schools, based on readiness, to ensure an effective and efficient transition. NAPLAN online will be implemented from 2017 and it is expected that all schools will be participating in NAPLAN online by 2019.
ESA is the lead agency for the development of online assessment capability, but it has received detailed requirement specifications from ACARA.
ACARA is responsible for having the assessments ready to run online and reporting the results of these assessments.
Readiness is an issue for state and territory school authorities. ACARA, ESA and the Australian Government are working with state and territory school authorities to ensure the three components of the program are fully coordinated.
Many of the features of the NAPLAN online system exist in systems already in use and that have been used to deliver NAP sample testing online in 2013 and 2014.
ACARA has been working with state and territory school authorities and Education Services Australia on ‘readiness’. Activities have included:
- conducted readiness survey
- prepared minimum technical requirements document
- design of the program to include options to fit different circumstances (internet-based, downloadable).
The writing test is not about handwriting skills and NAPLAN online will not be about keyboard skills. It is expected that there will be variations in how fast and well a student can type, just as there are now in how fast and well a student can write by hand. Students have sufficient time to complete the writing test, regardless of whether they complete it by hand or by keyboard.
While overseas online assessment activities have not shown any disadvantage relating to keyboard skills, ACARA is conducting its own research in this area with specific context to NAPLAN online.
Moving NAPLAN online should not be the catalyst to introduce keyboard skills into a classroom. The Australian Curriculum incorporates the teaching of keyboard skills and some state and territory curriculum also incorporate it as part of instructional practice.
The national assessment platform (under Education Services Australia's direction) is being built with state-of-the-art security protections. Before NAPLAN goes online from 2017, it will be used to trial various online assessment activities as well as the National Assessment Program: Civics and Citizenship sample assessment 2016. These activities will allow us to test the security of the system and fix any identified flaws.
NAPLAN online will use the tailored test design, which means the test becomes progressively more difficult or easier depending on the student's performance. This means students are likely to be working on different questions at different times. The tailored test design will also incorporate many more items than are currently used for the paper NAPLAN version, providing additional security protection.
Last updated: 21 August 2015