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NAPLAN – Use of a scribe in the writing test

17 March 2017
News story


Principals and NAPLAN coordinators should be aware of the protocols regarding the use of a scribe in the NAPLAN writing test. The closing date for scribe applications is Friday 28 April and applications should be made through the PAR website.

The key points from 6.5 of the National protocols for test administration (NPTA) are:

  • The role of a scribe is to provide access to the Writing test, not to improve a student’s performance in this test. Students must be using a scribe regularly in the classroom and be familiar with the NAPLAN scribe rules.
  • Where appropriate, students should be encouraged to undertake the tests independently of a scribe using alternative adjustments. This will ensure the most accurate assessment of the student’s ability to produce a written text when marked against the ten criteria. 
  • Poor handwriting in itself or a reluctance to write is not sufficient justification for the use of a scribe. Poor handwriting will not impact on the marker’s ability to assess the student’s text against the marking criteria.
  • A scribe is not permitted for students who have a temporary injury (such as a broken arm) at the time of the writing test. Students with a temporary injury who are unable to write may use a computer for the writing test where approval has been given by NESA.

As per the NPTA, a scribe may be provided only for students who have difficulty with the physical act of writing. This does not include students who have difficulty processing what they want to write. 

In order to ensure national consistency in the use of scribes and to ensure results are not compromised prior written permission to use a scribe must be sought and given by NESA. The closing date for scribe applications is Friday 28 April 2017.

All applications for scribe use will be carefully considered against the NPTA. Approval will only be given where a student meets all four criteria listed in NPTA 6.5.3 and who will be unable to complete the writing test independently using any alternative adjustments that are available. Computer use, extra time and/or rest breaks are adjustments which schools should consider as an alternative to scribe use.

The NAPLAN scribe rules can be downloaded from the PAR website and will also be provided in the back of the Test Administration Handbook for teachers.

For more information, contact:
NAPLAN team 
(02) 9367 8382
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