The annual NAPLAN test – a point in time assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 – will move to Term One from 2023, with new benchmarks introduced “to give teachers and parents better information” on what students can do.

The decision to shift the test from May to March was made by Australia’s education ministers last year, to ensure results were in the hands of teachers and parents earlier in the school year.

New benchmarks unveiled

On 10 February 2023, it was also announced that new benchmark standards would be used and that those benchmarks would be “more meaningful and clearer” to reflect the personalised online tests that students undertake.

“They will be set against a challenging but reasonable standard of literacy and numeracy expected for the child at the time of testing,” a statement from the Education Ministers meeting said.

The standards – Exceeding, Strong, Developing and Needs additional support – will replace the current 10 NAPLAN bands and national minimum standard “allowing parents and carers to know at-a-glance whether their child is where they need to be in literacy and numeracy”.

A re-cap on other changes in 2023

The 2023 test window will be Wednesday 15 March to Monday 27 March with parents and schools scheduled to receive individualised reports in July 2023.

Other 2023 changes previously announced last year included:

  • the current NAP Sample assessments for Years 6 and 10 (held every three years for a selected group of students only in Science, Civics and Citizenship, and Digital Literacy) will move from October to Term Two from 2023;
  • schools will soon be able to “opt-in” to these NAP Sample assessments annually if they wish. These optional tests will be phased in over three years: Science will begin in 2024, Civics and Citizenship added in 2025 and Digital Literacy will follow in 2026; and
  • results from these additional opt-in, annual assessments will be given to schools, but not reported publicly.

Schools have now transitioned from paper tests to online tests, although all Year 3 students will continue to complete the writing assessment on paper.

Should students ‘prepare’ for NAPLAN?

The latest NAPLAN information brochure for parents and carers prepared by the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (ACARA) stresses that students are not expected to study for NAPLAN.

ACARA also does not recommend excessive preparation for NAPLAN “or the use of services by coaching providers”.

“You can support your child by reassuring them that NAPLAN is a part of their school program and reminding them to simply do their best,” the factsheet says.

“Some familiarisation and explanation of NAPLAN is useful to help students understand and be comfortable with the format of the tests.

“Teachers will ensure students are familiar with the types of questions in the tests and will provide appropriate support and guidance.”

Further reading

Read about the results from NAPLAN 2022 in our story from November.

Visit ACARA’s National Assessment Program (NAP) website.

The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority is responsible for coordinating the administration, marking and reporting of the NAPLAN tests in Queensland.