Frequently asked questions

General questions

Education ministers have agreed to extend the current plan for schools to transition to NAPLAN Online by one year to 2021.

Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers are committed to moving the annual NAPLAN tests from paper to online testing. Schools will transition to NAPLAN Online by 2021.

Visit the NSW transition approach webpage for details.

NAPLAN Online will provide a faster turnaround of results to teachers and carers, meaning that student learning needs can be identified sooner.

NAPLAN Online will provide tailored testing, where the test adapts to a student’s ability. This broadens the scope of assessments and has proven to be more engaging for students.

Overall, NAPLAN Online will provide a more precise and beneficial assessment that has potential to adapt as technology develops.

Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers have agreed to extend the current plan for schools to transition to NAPLAN Online by one year to 2021.

Once a school has transitioned to NAPLAN Online, all eligible students in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9 enrolled at that school must participate, unless they are exempt or withdrawn from NAPLAN testing by parents or carers.

No. Education ministers have requested more research about the benefits or disadvantages for Year 3 students composing text in an online environment before any decision is made for the future.

At this stage, the Year 3 writing test will continue to be paper-based. All other Year 3 NAPLAN tests (numeracy, reading and language conventions) will be online.

As with paper-based testing, parents or carers can choose to withdraw a student if there are religious beliefs or philosophical objections to testing. This is a matter for consideration by individual parents or carers in consultation with their child’s school. An application for exemption may be required by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

Every student with a disability has individual needs, experiences and functional abilities so there is no typical or uniform testing experience for students with a disability.

As is currently the case for NAPLAN, adjustments are provided for students with disability, including assistive technology, with approval from NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). Learn more about adjustments at:

NAPLAN Online will have alternate items for students with visual, auditory and/or motor disabilities who may not be able to access specific item types.

Adjustments available in NAPLAN Online will be at least equivalent to what is currently available for NAPLAN paper.

A tailored test design means that students are less likely to become disengaged if the questions are too easy or frustrated if they are too difficult. The online format will allow domains such as spelling to be tested using audio delivery, which closely replicates the way it is taught and assessed in day to day practice.

Research has shown that students find online assessment more engaging. You can read more about this research on the ACARA website.

NAPLAN Online is not a test of computer skills, however students should be familiar with the device they will be using to complete the test. Basic ICT skills are a requirement of the Australian curriculum and should be a part of each school's everyday learning.

Automated marking is currently used in the paper NAPLAN test to mark numeracy, reading and conventions of language and will remain in use for these purposes in NAPLAN Online.

The automated essay scoring system will not be used to mark NAPLAN Online writing tests. Instead, trained markers will be employed to mark student writing, as is currently the case with paper-based NAPLAN tests.

NAPLAN Online uses tailored testing, where the test automatically adapts to a student's performance and asks questions that match their achievement level. This allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and provides teachers and schools with more targeted and detailed information on students’ performance.

You can read more about tailored testing on the NAPLAN Online tailored testing webpage.

Yes. Security and privacy are key requirements for the delivery of national testing. The online assessment platform has been designed to comply with relevant national data security policies and guidelines as well as data encryption standards. It meets the requirements of the Australian Government’s Protective security policy framework and Information security manual to protect privacy of data.

Technical readiness

Technical readiness activities identified schools that required additional resources, such as devices, bandwidth and Wi-Fi. As a result, there was significant investment in network infrastructure and bandwidth speed to prepare school for the move to online testing.

Yes. iPads and tablets can be used, providing they meet the technical requirements. iPad minis are not suitable for participating in NAPLAN Online.

Yes. Headphones or earphones are required for each student to complete NAPLAN Online. For example, the spelling test includes audio delivery of words that students are required to type in.

Yes, however it will be at the discretion of the individual school. Each device will require the installation of a locked down browser application, which prevents students from accessing unauthorised websites, applications and spellcheck features.

The ACARA website has more information on technical requirements for NAPLAN Online.

No. A mouse is not necessary for successful interaction with the online items, although they can be used if a school prefers this approach.

The national assessment platform used for NAPLAN Online is accessed using a specially developed locked down browser that is available for Windows, Macintosh, iPads and Chromebooks. This is the same locked down browser used in the school readiness test.

Department-managed eT4L devices will have the browser deployed to their device. Department-enrolled Chromebooks have the locked down browser application installed by default For other devices, schools will need to install the locked down browser on each device. See the technology requirements webpage for details.

There are national test protocols that schools must follow to manage the security of NAPLAN tests, the test environment and other relevant factors. These protocols specify security requirements and uniform processes and procedures to ensure students complete the tests under similar conditions.

A general requirement of NAPLAN Online is the student’s device must be secured (using a locked down browser) so they cannot access unauthorised websites, applications and spell-checking features.

ACARA has conducted a device effect study, which found that there is no overall device effect across content domains, item types and year levels.

No student is disadvantaged if their device stops working during the NAPLAN Online test. In the case of interruptions, tests can be paused and resumed as required with no time lost. If a device stops working, all responses will have been saved and the student can usually complete their test in a rescheduled test session.


Additional training will be available and will include eLearning modules, and Adobe Connect and face-to-face training sessions. Visit the NAPLAN Online training webpage for more information.

Readiness activities

The school readiness test is an assessment of schools’ readiness to administer NAPLAN Online. It is designed to provide confidence in the online system, confirm whether schools have adequate ICT capacity, and facilitate change management and training at a school level in test administration and logistics.

The platform readiness test is an end-to-end test to ensure the readiness of the NAPLAN Online platform and its full functionality, including the generation of example reports. Around ten schools in each state and territory participated in the test each year.


The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) will provide platform and process support for schools during NAPLAN Online. Support will be provided through the NESA NAPLAN team, as it was during the school readiness test and practice test. Technical support relating to school devices and networks will continue to be provided by EDConnect.

Contact the NAPLAN Online transition team:


Phone: 1300 790 844

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