Each year since 2008, Australia-wide National Assessment Program Literacy And Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing has been conducted for students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9. The intention of NAPLAN is to provide a common measurement and reporting instrument for all Australian students and schools. Students receive individual reports that allow parents to identify aspects of achievement and some comparative information with their children’s peers across the nation (though it should be remembered that interstate comparisons remain of dubious value until such time as a national curriculum is implemented by all states). To the extent that the tests are based on only a small part of the overall curriculum, they may indicate some individual strengths and weaknesses.
NAPLAN results represent only a single ‘snapshot’ of an individual student’s achievement at a particular time. They are pen-and-paper tests that cannot test the full range of the rich ways by which learners normally demonstrate what they know and what they can do with what they know. NAPLAN results need to be understood in the context of the richer and more continuous information that schools have about learners’ progress and demonstrations of learning. Each student’s semester report of achievement, prepared by their school and sent to parents, remains the most comprehensive measure of student achievement.
Schools receive class and school reports of their NAPLAN results each year. These may help schools identify areas of curriculum planning and curriculum enactments requiring attention.
School systems, including Brisbane Catholic Education, can also see if there are particular schools or groups of students needing particular support.
NAPLAN results for every school are available on the federal government’s MySchool website.