What Is NAPLAN? The Ultimate NAPLAN Guide for Parents

NAPLAN is a set of four or five standardised tests depending on your child’s year level. NAPLAN tests multiple areas across literacy and numeracy skills. NAPLAN is taken by students in years 3, 5, 7, and 9. In the second week of March, your child will sit these tests across multiple days to make it as fair and accessible as possible. 

There are a lot of common misconceptions about NAPLAN, such as, it being a high-stakes test, it measuring your child’s intelligence, the delayed data release being unhelpful to students and parents alike, and NAPLAN not helping students develop life skills. These are just common NAPLAN myths that are often said, but simply are not true. 

This is just an overarching structure, the sections below provide more detail on specific questions you may have. 

What Does NAPLAN Stand For?

NAPLAN stands for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy. The program is run and overseen by the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and is the only Australia-wide standardised test that all students have the opportunity to undertake. 

What Areas Does NAPLAN Test?

NAPLAN tests a student’s fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. These include reading, writing, conventions of language, and numeracy. More information on each of these can be found below.


The reading test focuses on the reading and comprehension of written English, as well as language conventions in context. 

In the tests, your child is provided with a range of texts in differing writing styles. These texts are accompanied by related comprehension questions that your child will answer. The questions are multiple choice and with the introduction of NAPLAN being completed digitally, technology enhanced questions are becoming more common. 


The writing test is based heavily on the Australian Curriculum: English, which requires that students are taught a variety of different writing styles. These include, imaginative (narrative writing), informative, and persuasive writing. Students across all grades in the same year will complete the same style of writing, either narrative or persuasive and there is no choice in writing type. 

Within the writing test, your child will be provided with a ‘stimulus’ or ‘prompt’ and will be asked to write a response in a particular text type. Differing prompts are used depending on the testing day and year level of your child. 

Conventions of Language

Like with the writing test, the conventions of language tests are based on the Australian Curriculum: English. These tests assess your child’s understanding of the conventions of language and writing across spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The tests are completed through multiple-choice, written, and technology based questions such as drag-and-drop. 


The NAPLAN numeracy test measures the achievement of students in different areas of numeracy, including their mathematical knowledge, skills, and understanding as outlined in the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics. The numeracy test assesses your child’s proficiency in number and algebra, measurement and geometry, and statistics and probability. 

The numeracy tests contain multiple-choice, text entry and technology-enhanced questions such as drag-and-drop and hot-text.

Is NAPLAN Compulsory?

NAPLAN is not a compulsory test, that means that you can choose to withdraw your child from the test through a formal process or some students may be granted exemptions in certain circumstances. 


Students may be withdrawn from NAPLAN testing in a formal process undertaken by you and your school administration. Any application for withdrawal must be received by your school’s principal prior to the commencement of testing. Submitting the withdrawal and the process along with it is dependent on your local testing authority and their requirements. To find your local test authority click here. 


Whilst NAPLAN offers a range of adjustments for students with disabilities, an exemption may be suitable for some students with learning barriers, or for some students with a language background other than English. In both cases, the school needs to discuss this with you and gain your permission for this prior to testing. 

English Language 

Students with a language background other than English who have been attending school in Australia for less than a year may be exempted from completing the test. However, students fitting this description are not automatically exempted and may be able to sit one test (e.g numeracy) but be exempt from another (e.g reading). 

Students With Disabilities

Adjustments are provided to students with disability to allow them access to the tests and encourage participation in NAPLAN. Students with a disability that severely limits their ability to participate in in the tests may be exempted from sitting the national tests. This is often determined through consultation with your school’s principal and yourself, if it is decided that the student cannot access the tests with adjustments. 

When Is NAPLAN Held?

NAPLAN is held every year in a ten to twelve day test window. NAPLAN, which has always been held in the second week of May, will move to mid-March from 2023.

Starting in 2023, the NAPLAN is moving to Term One instead of Term Two to be used to inform teaching and learning for the year. From 2023 until 2027, the NAPLAN Dates will slowly move earlier into Term One in order to help schools plan in advance. Students in Years 5, 7 and 9 will undertake all NAPLAN tests online. Year 3 students will complete the writing test on paper and all other tests online.

The following test windows can be found on the National Assessment Program website. In 2023, NAPLAN will be held from Wednesday 15 March to Monday 27 March.

2023:  15–27 March
2024:  13–25 March
2025:  12–24 March
2026:   11–23 March
2027:  10–22 March 

When Do NAPLAN Results Come Out?

When NAPLAN was held in the second week of May, student NAPLAN results are provided to schools from August onwards, depending on the state or territory you live in. We are expecting that starting in 2023 results will be available a bit earlier in the year due to the moved test dates. The same report format for results is used across Australia. Your child’s school will notify you when the reports are being sent home. 

Does Your Child Need Help With NAPLAN Preparations?

If you would like any help with figuring out your child’s needs, learning language, and the possible effect it will have on their NAPLAN process, feel free to get in contact with us! All of our Academic Personal Trainers are specifically trained to identify a student’s learning language, and would be able to help tailor your child’s work to preparing for their NAPLAN test, thereby setting them up for greater success and understanding when it comes to the areas that are assessed!

Looking to learn how your child can pass their NAPLAN test? A Team Tuition is here to help. With our tried and true tutoring methods, we can help your child excel. Find a tutor near you today!