View Product Range
A student filling out a test paper.

Key NAPLAN Information for 2023

NAPLAN will run from 15-27 March in 2023. Here's all the information you need to know.
Share this post

While each state has their own end examination and reporting processes for the final year of secondary school, NAPLAN is the nationwide test that encourages equal participation for every school student. Due to its rigorous preparation, delivery, and reporting, NAPLAN provides a key snapshot into how Australian schoolchildren are developing, with the ability to make comparisons at an individual, school, and national level. 

Unfortunately, NAPLAN’s reliability and success has also brought in criticism, which we will touch on later in this article, detailing what you need to know, and where to find any extra information.

What is NAPLAN and what is in the tests?

NAPLAN stands for National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy. The test occurs yearly but is only for students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9. Testing is comprised of four components: 

  • Numeracy 
  • Reading 
  • Language Conventions 
  • Writing

While past tests mainly involved multiple-choice, short answer, and longer written responses, the move to NAPLAN online has brought more question formats, such as drag & drop and hot text.

When is NAPLAN 2023?

All students are expected to sit NAPLAN, whether they are from government, private, selective, alternative, or religious schools. Traditionally, tests have been set for mid-May, although for 2023, the test window will be from 15-27 March in term 1.

NAPLAN online

NAPLAN online was introduced in 2018, with about 15% of students participating. While jurisdictions encouraged schools to move over to the online test, paper tests continued to be issued according to school preferences or lack of access to stable internet/devices needed to complete the test without disruption. 

By 2021, a government media release confirmed approximately 70% of students sat NAPLAN online, while in 2022, this figure rose to almost all students.


Australia is a large and diverse country that wants to make sure all students are able to develop the literacy and numeracy skills required to thrive in the modern world. Due to its standardised nature, there is no other test that gives comparable information into how students around the country are performing. 

  • Governments can point to areas of improvement or flag the need to provide more funding to certain areas.

  • Schools can help principals and teachers monitor progress students over time, continuing certain practices that are proving successful while tweaking other ones if needed. 
  • Parents can understand how their child is progressing in relation to their fellow students, and where the school is in relation to others schools with a similar makeup throughout Australia.

  • Students can identify their individual strengths and weaknesses in order to improve their own learning. 


What NAPLAN does on a national scale, PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science), do on an international one. The PISA test, an OECD initiative, is undertaken by 15 year olds around the world, providing a way to measure progress in reading, writing, and scientific literacy. There is some overlap with TIMSS, which was commissioned by the IEA, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, which is completed by students in years 4 and 8 with a focus solely on mathematics and science.  

These tests are not as widely reported on as the NAPLAN test as they only include a small sample of schools, reflective of Australia as a whole. TIMSS in 2019, for example, saw just 571 Australian schools taking part in the test. Having a standardised test that allows Australia to examine itself in relation to countries with different educational practices is definitely a valuable one, especially at a policy level.

Criticism of NAPLAN

Over the years NAPLAN has gained criticism from people who disagree with certain elements of the Australian education system. What is meant to be a point-in-time exam that forms just one part of parents’ and schools’ overall understanding of literacy and numeracy attainment has been turned into something more stressful and high stakes.  

Contributing to this high stakes test culture are two main issues that ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment & Reporting Authority), the agency responsible for delivering NAPLAN, specifically point to as improper: 

  • Schools asking for results as part of new school entrance, and 
  • Encouraging low-achieving students to sit out the test in order to boost average scores and improve the school’s image. 

Although not what the tests are designed for, these two examples are by-products of the transparent post-test reporting practices. The pressure put on some students by their parents, institutions, or even by themselves has been well documented, causing undue anxiety, which has led to calls by some to scrap the test.

Should students prepare for NAPLAN?

Students don’t need to prepare for NAPLAN. Despite the books you can buy and NAPLAN practice tests online, the aim of the test is to show a student’s general capabilities at a specific point in timenothing more. Despite study not being necessary, ACARA does recommend test familiarisation in terms of both the questions and the format of NAPLAN online. A simulated test environment with some example questions can be found on the ACARA website (link provided in the section Where to get important NAPLAN info).

How to get NAPLAN results

Individual results are sent straight to the school by the state or territory’s department of education, while schoolwide results can be accessed on the MySchool website (link provided in the section Where to get important NAPLAN info).

Where to get important NAPLAN info

Whether you’re a parent, teacher or principal, you may find these links helpful for gathering further information. 

Key dates – All information about the upcoming year’s test window can be found here. 

NAPLAN FAQs – Answers to all your NAPLAN-related questions. 

NAPLAN national reports – By looking up your current year’s national NAPLAN report, you can see the conclusions drawn from results Australia-wide. 

School results and info – The MySchool website is a tool for parents and teachers to get up to date data on their specific school. Along with NAPLAN results and comparison tools, you can also examine how much funding schools have received, attendance rates, levels of Socio-Educational Advantage (SEA) and other metrics. 

NAPLAN Public Demonstration Site – An environment that allows students to familiarise themselves with the online test. 

NAPLAN past papers – Although the paper test is not used anymore, looking at past papers can give you a sense of the questions that are likely to be asked in the test. 

For further enquiries – While the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) create the test, its delivery is the responsibility of the test administration authorities (TAAs), who are the education departments of each state and territory. For any specific enquiries about a certain school or region, look up who the jurisdiction’s TAA and call or email to get a timely response.

Top Posts


Search for Products

Search the COS range of products via the field below. You will be taken to the COS shop side of the site to view your results.