Review of NAPLAN

Overview of review findings, including suggestions for immediate improvements to standardised testing in Australia and a summary of longer term issues for investigation.

NAPLAN has been in place since 2008, and is evolving with the introduction of online testing.

Noting changes in the broader education landscape, both nationally and within states and territories, it’s important to consider how NAPLAN can continue to support an effective and contemporary national assessment environment.

The review will be delivered jointly by the state governments of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The review will be informed by and build on work already undertaken or underway, including work that has considered the extent to which NAPLAN has met its original objectives (see below).

Review terms of reference

The review will:

  1. determine what the objectives for standardised testing in Australia should be, given its evolution over time - this could be objectives that support:
    1. individual student learning achievement and growth
    2. school improvement
    3. system accountability and performance
    4. information for parents on school and student performance
    5. national, state and territory programs and policies
  2. assess how well placed NAPLAN is to meet these objectives, including:
    1. the appropriateness, accuracy and efficacy of assessment in each domain
    2. the effectiveness in tracking student and system progress over time (including the impact of equating, and the placement of the tests in years 3, 5, 7 and 9)
    3. alignment with the Australian Curriculum (including any gaps)
    4. the impact of the assessment on schools, students and the community
  3. consider the key objectives, uses and features of effective national assessment programs internationally, and how the objectives and performance of NAPLAN compare with this
  4. identify targeted improvements that can be made to standardised testing in Australia in the short term, including the level of school and student engagement, so it better meets the objectives (above)
  5. identify longer-term objectives, uses and features of standardised testing in Australia within the context of a future national assessment landscape
  6. consider, in line with these objectives, longer-term improvements that can be made to ensure that Australia has the most efficient and effective system for assessing key literacy and numeracy outcomes at the national level.

Other relevant work that the review will need to consider

The review will build on previous and current work including:

  • the 2018 Queensland NAPLAN Review
  • the 2018/19 Review of NAPLAN Data Presentation
  • reviews associated with NAPLAN Online
  • other relevant reviews of NAPLAN.

It will not duplicate the outcomes or findings of this work.

The review will also take into account:

  • concurrent work on assessment, including commitments in the National School Reform Agreement
  • other streams of work which might have implications for assessment goals, including the review of the Melbourne Declaration and updates to the Closing the Gap targets.

Review process

The review will be led by a panel of up to three members, to be appointed by participating governments. Members will have expertise in assessment, curriculum or other relevant fields. An international expert will be considered as one of the members or as a key advisor.

The review will also be supported by an interjurisdictional reference group of practitioners.

Targeted stakeholder consultation (by invitation) will occur in each stage. This will be targeted with the aim of supporting outputs for the reports.

The terms of reference for the review, including the proposed reviewers, will be agreed by relevant ministers.

Review outputs

Interim report

Stage 1 will provide an interim report to Education Council in December 2019 with:

  • a statement clarifying the objectives of standardised testing in Australia
  • suggested immediate improvements to standardised testing in Australia to better meet these objectives
  • a summary of longer term issues for investigation that will inform stage 2 of the review.

Final report

Stage 2 will report to Education Council in June 2020 on a strategic blueprint for standardised testing in Australia, to be considered in concert with the introduction of new assessment approaches (including improvements associated with NAPLAN Online and the national formative assessment capacity).

Review cost

The cost of the review is estimated at $1 million.

This includes the cost to commission the panel of experts, as well as for Secretariat functions and to support targeted consultation.