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NAPLAN - what schools and teachers need to know

NAPLAN results provide information about student achievement, which can be used to inform teaching and learning programs.

NAPLAN tests provide information regarding student progress in literacy and numeracy and complement the wide range of formal and informal assessments already conducted in schools.

NAPLAN test results are not intended to be used in isolation from other school-based assessment programs.

Find out more:

Sitting NAPLAN tests

All eligible students in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9 enrolled at any school must sit for the tests unless they are exempt or withdrawn by parents/carers.

Most students sit NAPLAN tests in their own schools. Students who are travelling within Australia can sit for the tests at a school near their holiday location as a visiting student.

What NAPLAN assesses

During NAPLAN, the following areas of literacy are assessed:

In the language conventions, reading and numeracy tests, most questions will require either a multiple-choice response (shade a bubble to indicate the answer) or a constructed response (write the answer in a box or on a line).

For the writing test, students will be given a stimulus and be required to write up to three pages in response to the task.

Non-government schools and home schoolers

Find out more about NAPLAN in:

  • Independent schools contact Teresa Elliott, Senior Administrative Officer, NAPLAN on (02) 9367 8112.
  • Catholic Diocesan schools: contact Karen Ferrante, Catholic Education Commission on
    02) 9287 1575.
  • Home schooling: Teresa Elliott, Senior Administrative Officer, NAPLAN on (02) 9367 8112.

Participation and registration (PAR) website

School principals and NAPLAN co-ordinators must use the Student Participation and Registration (PAR) website to complete many NAPLAN administration tasks.

The tasks include:

  • completing the Statement of Compliance (including the NAPLAN Code of Conduct)
  • providing school contact details
  • confirming school and student details
  • adding newly enrolled students and deleting students who have left the school
  • ordering special print test material (large print, braille and electronic tests)
  • applying for scribe and computer use  
  • accessing parent/carer consent forms for exemption and withdrawal
  • recording student participation and disability adjustments during test week.

The PAR username and password are contained in a letter that is sent to schools with the  Handbook for Principals.

If you have lost the password, click the ‘Unable to Log In?’ button on the PAR login page. This will send an email to the school’s generic email address with the PAR password.

You will need to access the PAR website during the following NAPLAN phases.

  • Phase 1 – Term 1: Schools check and confirm student details within the allocated time frame.
  • Phase 2 – Term 2: Schools record details about student test participation and disability adjustments.
  • Phase 3 – Term 3: Schools check student participation details against report information.

NAPLAN test administration

The  Handbook for Principals ensures principals and teachers understand what is required to administer the NAPLAN tests. The Handbook for Principals is sent to schools in early March.

There are two parts to the handbook:

  • Part A contains relevant sections from the National Protocols for Test Administration, including the Code of Conduct. These protocols apply to all schools in Australia.
  • Part B contains the jurisdictional information that is relevant to administering NAPLAN in all NSW schools.

Schools must administer the tests in accordance with the nationally agreed test timetable.

Tests must NOT be conducted before the official test dates under any circumstances.

Test material security must be maintained until the test security period finishes.

Students who are absent during a test may undertake a catch-up test. Schools may schedule catch-up tests on a convenient day in the test week only, after the scheduled test. Students are not permitted to undertake catch-up tests in the week following the tests.

The Test Administration Handbook for Teachers provides test administrators with all the instructions needed to administer the tests. The Test Administration Handbook for Teachers is sent to schools with the test materials.

Test administrators must read and be familiar with all the information in the relevant sections of the handbook before administering each test. Test administrators must follow the student instructions and test administration script exactly as provided in the handbook. This means that all students across Australia will receive the same test instructions.

Marking NAPLAN

NAPLAN writing tests are marked by assessors who have received intensive training in the application of 10 ten writing criteria.

Further information about the NAPLAN writing test, including example prompts.

Download the Persuasive Writing Marking Guide and the Narrative Writing Marking Guide from ACARA.

Apply to mark NAPLAN tests


Privacy statement for NAPLAN 2017 – for schools

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is a statutory authority under the Education Standards Authority Act 2013 (NESA Act).  NESA is the Test Administration Authority (TAA) for the administration and delivery of the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) in New South Wales. Section 12(2) of the NESA Act provides for NESA's functions in relation to basic skills testing.

Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd has developed the PAR website in conjunction with NESA, for use by schools to complete a number of NAPLAN administrative tasks. The PAR website is hosted by Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd whose servers are located in the State of Victoria.

Personal information as defined in section 4 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act) and in some instances, health information as defined in section 6 of the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act), is collected and stored on the PAR website for the purpose of facilitating the administration and delivery of NAPLAN tests in NSW. Personal and health information is collected and handled by NESA in accordance with the PPIP Act and HRIP Act.

In order to conduct the NAPLAN tests, NESA collects from schools the names and achievement data of all students who undertake the Year 3, Year 5, Year 7 and Year 9 tests. NESA also collects information on student gender, language background, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, date of birth and in some instances, health information in relation to test adjustments.

NESA supports schools' privacy compliance with NAPLAN testing requirements by encouraging principals to ensure that their parent communities are aware of the purposes for which NAPLAN data will be used.

NESA uses the student information provided by schools to pre-print individual student details on the front cover of the test booklets and to report to parents on their child's performance. This data is also provided to the school to assist principals to analyse the effectiveness of their school programs and to identify individual students' strengths and weaknesses.

Schools across Australia are required to collect background characteristic information for all students participating in the NAPLAN 2017. NESA, on behalf of all NSW schools, is responsible for the management and supply of this information for national reporting purposes.

The background information that will be required for each student is as follows:

  • parental school education (mother and father as applicable)
  • parental non-school education (mother and father as applicable)
  • main language spoken at home (student)
  • main language spoken at home (mother and father as applicable)
  • parental occupation
  • country of birth.

NESA provides student results data to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) so that it can prepare national reports related to the outcomes of the NAPLAN tests. This is authorised by an information sharing arrangement, under section 16 of the NESA Act.

No individual student will be identifiable in the information for release for national reporting purposes. The principal will ensure that all student details and results are confidential.

The personal information collected on the PAR website will be used to:

  • register students for the NAPLAN tests
  • pre-print individual student details on the front cover of the test booklets, including production of alternative test materials
  • maintain a register of NAPLAN school contacts for communication and administrative purposes
  • facilitate the administration of the tests, recording of student test participation and determination of test results
  • report to parents on their child's performance
  • report to school principals and where appropriate sectoral authorities on test outcomes.

This information will be disclosed to authorised NESA staff members, schools, sectoral authorities and contractors used in the delivery of the NAPLAN. If the requested information is not provided, this will impact on NESA's ability to deliver the test program in a timely and accurate way in your school.

An individual may request access to their personal and/or health information held by NESA, and request its correction if inaccurate. In some circumstances, access to personal information will need to be sought under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

If you have concerns about privacy issues in relation to NAPLAN or the PAR website, please contact NESA NAPLAN team on (02) 9367 8394 or via email

Correspondence concerning access to personal information held by NESA should be addressed to the Privacy Officer, NSW Education Standards Authority, GPO Box 5300 SYDNEY NSW 2001, or via email to

NESA's Privacy Management Plan contains further information.

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