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NAPLAN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of NAPLAN testing?

NAPLAN tests assess student knowledge and skills in numeracy, reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar. The results of the tests provide information for students, parents, teachers and principals about student achievement which can be used to inform teaching and learning programs. NAPLAN tests provide point-in-time information regarding student progress across Australia in literacy and numeracy and are intended to complement teacher judgement and the wide range of formal and informal testing programs used in schools. As with all single assessments, NAPLAN test results are not intended to be used in isolation from other school-based assessment programs.

What is the VCAA’s role in NAPLAN testing?

The VCAA is the NAPLAN Test Administration Authority (TAA) for all Victorian school sectors and acts on behalf of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in ensuring the successful delivery of the tests across the state. As the Victorian TAA, the VCAA is responsible for ensuring that NAPLAN tests are produced and delivered on schedule annually to all eligible Victorian Year 3/5/7/9 students, and for also ensuring that schools are fully aware of, and deliver the tests in accordance with, the National Protocols for Test Administration.

The VCAA also has a role in reviewing NAPLAN test content as part ACARA’s test development process. VCAA utilises its own curriculum and assessment expertise as well as experts from DET, Catholic and Independent sectors when reviewing proposed test questions.

The VCAA manages the printing, delivery, return, scanning and marking of the tests in Victoria, and the reporting of NAPLAN results to parents and schools. In addition, the VCAA ensures that Victorian schools are supported and kept up-to-date with NAPLAN related matters through its NAPLAN Helpdesk and communications such as School Notices, VCAA Bulletins and direct emails to schools.

How do schools and teachers prepare students for NAPLAN tests?

The best NAPLAN preparation that schools and teachers can provide students is to ensure that their teaching and learning programs are based on the Victorian Curriculum F-10.

Past 2008 to 2011 NAPLAN test papers are available on the ACARA website. These may be used to ensure that students are familiar with the format and response types in the tests. Sample NAPLAN test materials also are available on the NAP website.

Schools and teachers should ensure that students, while taking the NAPLAN tests seriously, do not feel overwhelmed by the experience.

Is NAPLAN aligned with the Victorian Curriculum F-10?

Since 2016, NAPLAN testing has been aligned to the Australian Curriculum: English and the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics. These national curricula are fully encompassed in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 for English and Mathematics respectively. Hence, while the NAPLAN tests are not set with direct reference to the Victorian Curriculum F-10, all questions within the tests are relevant to it and fully compliant with it.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is committed to the continual improvement of the NAPLAN tests. The NAPLAN assessment framework will be revised as information from current and future research studies becomes available and as any revisions to the Australian Curriculum are made.

How can the NAPLAN Data Service be used to support teaching and learning programs in schools?

The VCAA provides a comprehensive online NAPLAN Data Service for all Victorian schools that includes a range of online NAPLAN reports.

Reports within the NAPLAN Data Service provide results data at national, state, school, sub-group and student levels.  These data provide schools with a powerful means of identifying and analysing particular areas of strength and weakness.  Item level data is included, enabling teachers to analyse student response patterns within a class or sub-group.  This information can assist the development of teaching programs and strategies. The Data Service now also provides both school and student level trend data, further assisting schools in measuring growth and improvement.

To assist schools in interpreting their NAPLAN data, the VCAA provides a series of professional development workshops across the state, free-of-charge to all schools. These workshops are usually conducted in Term 4, at a range of metropolitan and regional locations. Further information can be found at the Professional Development Workshops page.

Where can I find further information?

Further information can be found at: 

NAP website.

ACARA website.