We know that preparing for NAPLAN can be stressful and time-consuming, but it doesn’t need to be.

It is important to keep in mind the purpose and the focus of the NAPLAN test series.  Whilst NAPLAN is designed to complement the curriculum content of each state and territory, it is essentially a test of skill. NAPLAN is an opportunity to revise fundamental numeracy and literacy skills and develop essential exam skills.

Your one-stop NAPLAN shop:


NAPLAN is a national test that all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sit. ACARA recognises these assessments as ‘an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they have learned in class’. In essence, it tests children on the essential skills they are taught as they progress through their education.

The NAPLAN tests are made up from four main areas:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation)
  4. Numeracy

Students sit the NAPLAN test in May each year and the test results and student reports are released in September.


The overriding objective of the NAPLAN test series is to provide governments, education authorities, schools, teachers and parents with a standardised measure to assess the critical numeracy and literacy skills of young Australians. The results obtained from NAPLAN assist in identifying national trends, highlighting strengths and weaknesses in current education programs and identifying priority areas for the future. When used effectively, the results can also help to inform school and teaching planning and pedagogy. NAPLAN is the only standardised assessment undertaken by Australia’s youth and therefore is a useful measure for interested parties to gain a general sense of how the Australian education system is operating.

It is important for schools, teachers, parents and students to remember that NAPLAN testing provides point-in-time information regarding student progress in literacy and numeracy. Whilst the results reflect a national examination, they are not a holistic indicator of a student’s numeracy and literacy capabilities. The NAPLAN tests are one aspect of each school’s assessment process, and are merely meant to complement teacher judgment and the existing range of formal and informal school assessment.

Keeping this in mind, students should not be worried or anxious about sitting the NAPLAN tests, nor should they be disheartened or discouraged by their NAPLAN results. Instead students should think about NAPLAN primarily as a learning experience, and secondly as a way to gain hands-on experience in exam conditions – a crucial skill to take into their final exams in Year 12.


THE FUTURE – online testing?

Currently the NAPLAN test series is a paper test undertaken by students nationwide in year 3, 5, 7 & 9. The future of NAPLAN testing is set to be offered online, providing students with more sophisticated tests and providing parents and teachers with more detailed results. National Schools Interoperability Program program leader Daniel Ingvarson, who is part of the team developing NAPLAN online tests, said that ‘it was envisioned that an online NAPLAN testing system could be reused for other tests, eventually even down to the weekly classroom maths test.”

Work by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Education Services Australia, and Mr Ingvarson’s team to develop the NAPLAN online tests for 2016 was agreed by all education ministers in 2012.
Source: The Advertiser

Get ahead of the game. Online learning and online testing is undoubtedly trending in the education arena at the moment, so it is not surprising that NAPLAN is heading in the same direction.  Whilst this year’s test remains to be in the paper format, using online resources for revision will not only help your students in the future, it will also keep students engaged and motivated to learn for NAPLAN 2014.



The numeracy test is a test of both content and problem-solving skills. Therefore, whilst it is necessary for students to have an understanding of the various content areas, excessive content cramming is not the best way to improve student performance. The numeracy test does not ask students to complete a set of straightforward algorithms, rather it asks students to assess a given task and work out the best way to solve a problem. The greatest challenge for most students is the ability to understand the process that is required to solve each problem, not the actual content itself.

The focus areas of the numeracy test include:

  • Number
  • Algebra, function & pattern
  • Measurement, chance & data
  • Space
  • Working mathematically (i.e. knowing, applying and reasoning)

Numeracy testing information:

Year 3 Year 5 Year 7 Year 9
  • Non-calculator: 45 minutes
  •  Non-calculator: 50 minutes
  • Calculator: 40 minutes
  • Non-calculator: 40 minutes
  • Calculator: 40 minutes
  • Non-calculator: 40 minutes



The literacy test is a test of the literacy skills that students have developed over time through the school curriculum. The literacy test is not a test of content, but rather assesses students’ ability to interpret, understand and respond to stimulus. The literacy test is made up of three components:

  1. Reading (& comprehension)
  2. Writing
  3. Language conventions (spelling, grammar & punctuation)
Year 3 Year 5 Year 7 Year 9
  • Reading test: 40 minutes
  • Language conventions test: 40 minutes
  • Writing test: 40 minutes
  • Reading test: 50 minutes
  • Language conventions test: 40 minutes
  • Writing test: 40 minutes
  • Reading test: 65 minutes
  • Language conventions test: 45 minutes
  • Writing test: 40 minutes
  • Reading test: 65 minutes
  • Language conventions test: 45 minutes
  • Writing test: 40 minutes






NAPLAN Trends || 2008-2013

The NAPLAN test series has been running since 2008 – here are some national and regional trends which have emerged over the past six years.

Literacy Trends
Numeracy Trends