NAP news, August 2021

NAPLAN 2021 summary results data

25 August 2021



The global COVID-19 pandemic has had no significant impact on students’ literacy and numeracy achievement at the national or state/territory level, according to the NAPLAN 2021 summary information released today.

In addition, the long-term trend data reveals a steady improvement in most literacy and numeracy outcomes, with a number of year levels and domains showing a gain in learning equivalent to a school term since testing began.

The NAPLAN 2021 summary information provides preliminary results at the national and state or territory level for each school year assessed and for all domains in NAPLAN.

The data provides comparisons of 2021 results with both 2019 and the base years (2008 for numeracy, reading and conventions of language, and 2011 for writing). NAPLAN was not undertaken in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These results will be welcomed by governments, schools, parents and carers as a first national insight into the educational impact of the pandemic,” said ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho.

“It’s reassuring to see that overall, our students’ literacy and numeracy standards have not significantly suffered, despite the major disruptions of COVID-19 and remote learning. However, this does not mean there has been no impact on specific students or demographic groups.

“Generally, the average trend is positive, with improvements for Year 3 and 5 reading and Year 5, 7 and 9 numeracy, showing gains equivalent to a term’s worth of learning since the base year.

“The overall decline in writing has begun to flatten, and achievement in Year 5, 7 and 9 has begun to reverse and show signs of an upward trend.

“The results suggest that persistent effort to improve outcomes pays off,” he said. “It is testament to the resilience of students, teachers, parents and carers, and school and system leaders during these challenging times.” 

The national summary preliminary NAPLAN results for 2021 show:

  • The 2021 results were not significantly different from the 2019 results
  • Compared with the base year, 2008 (2011 for writing):
    • Year 3 and Year 5 reading, Year 5 numeracy, and Year 3 and 5 spelling have significantly improved.
  • Taking all assessment years into account, the following has been observed:
    • Year 3 and 5 results have seen a steady upward trend in reading and Year 5, 7 and 9 have seen a steady upward trend in numeracy, resulting in total gains equivalent to at least 3 months of learning. o
    • The ongoing downward trend in writing in Year 5, 7 and 9 has begun to reverse, flattening and showing signs of an upward trend.
    • All years have seen a steady upward trend in spelling.

In May this year, NAPLAN was successfully undertaken in schools across the country. More than 1.2 million students took part across more than 9,000 schools. NAPLAN is in the final phase of transition to NAPLAN Online, and this year around 70 per cent of schools across the country undertook the test online, submitting more than 2.9 million online tests from 870,000 students.

NAPLAN assesses the fundamental skills of literacy and numeracy, with the data provided used by families, schools and education systems to ensure Australian students are supported in their learning. As always, NAPLAN provides a snapshot of a child’s assessment at a point in time, and individual student results should be considered together with other school-based assessments.

In December 2020, ACARA published profiles of 24 schools across the country that have consistently shown above-expected progress in any NAPLAN domain. The profiles highlight some of the practices are likely to support effective student learning.

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