Best Start Kindergarten Assessment

About the Best Start Kindergarten Assessment

Best Start Kindergarten Assessment identifies student’s literacy and numeracy skills on entry to Kindergarten. All Kindergarten students complete the literacy and numeracy assessment in the first 5 weeks of school. It has been conducted in all NSW public schools since 2010. The assessment is mapped to the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions.

The assessment is conducted in line with existing school practices and builds upon teaching and learning programs that support students in the transition to school.

In 2023 there were changes to items in both the literacy and numeracy components of the Best Start Kindergarten Assessment and the online recording tool. These changes are to ensure the assessment aligns to Version 3 of the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions and new English and Mathematics K-2 syllabuses.

The "What is the Best Start Kindergarten Assessment?" video provides parents and carers with an overview of the assessment.

What is the Best Start Kindergarten Assessment - information for parents and carers

What is the Best Start Kindergarten Assessment?

The Best Start Kindergarten Assessment is a state-wide assessment that helps teachers identify the literacy and numeracy skills which your child brings with them at the beginning of kindergarten. The Best Start Kindergarten assessment has been conducted in NSW public schools since 2010 and helps teachers understand a student’s literacy and numeracy knowledge upon entry to school.

The assessment does not require students to prepare or study, so don’t be concerned if your child can’t answer all the questions. The Best Start Kindergarten Assessment provides teachers with information so they can plan effective teaching and learning programs.

The assessment takes about twenty minutes each for the literacy and numeracy parts. Teachers usually conduct the literacy and numeracy components separately. The assessment is conducted one-on-one by your child's classroom teacher who will make sure that your child feels at ease and is comfortable.

The literacy tasks are designed to identify a range of skills, such as word, sound and letter recognition, early writing abilities and ability to retell storylines from books that are read to them.

The numeracy tasks are related to early number concepts. They identify a range of skills such as number recognition, counting, early addition and subtraction skills and ability to recognise repeating patterns.

All of these are important literacy and numeracy skills that students will develop in their first year of school and beyond.

Teachers may organise a follow up meeting with you, as the parent or caregiver, with information about the skills your child demonstrated during the assessment and ideas about how you can support your child during the first year at school. For ways to engage your child in literacy and numeracy at home, please visit the Department of Education’s website – education dot nsw dot gov dot au.

Assessment window

The assessment conducted for all Kindergarten students in the first 5 weeks of school.

Professional learning and support

Refer to the Resources page to access Best Start Kindergarten Assessment information, resources and materials.

Professional learning supporting implementation and planning for teaching is available via MyPL (course code NR36594)

Module 1 - implementation

Implementation focuses on foundational learning that will support teachers to effectively implement and administer the assessment.

Module 2 - access and analyse

Access and analyse is designed to help teachers gather evidence and identify learning needs in order to plan your next steps of teaching.

Module 3 - action

Action supports teachers to use student assessment information for targeted teaching in the classroom.

For additional support email


  • Teaching and learning


  • Tests and exams

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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