National Report on Schooling in Australia 2012

Student achievement – National Assessment Program

5.1 NAP – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)

In 2012, the fifth year of national literacy and numeracy testing, Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students in Australia were assessed on Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and Numeracy. These tests, known as the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), were first conducted in May 2008.

NAPLAN assesses the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life. The same tests are used in each state and territory, and the results provide nationally comparable data on student performance in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy.

The test results provide schools, states and territories with information about how education programs are working and which areas need to be prioritised for improvement. They also give parents and schools an understanding of how individual students are performing at the time of the tests.

A key aspect of NAPLAN test design is the single scale of achievement across 10 bands from Years 3 to 9 in each domain. Each band for each domain has a summary of skills assessed at each year level. The introduction of the 10 achievement bands from Year 3 to Year 9 means that, as a student advances through schooling, it is possible to see how much progress has been made in each domain.

In the first three years of testing (2008–2010), Writing was assessed by testing students’ ability to respond to a narrative writing task. In 2011, a change of genre was introduced, and the narrative task was replaced with a persuasive one. Results for the persuasive writing task are reported on a separate persuasive writing scale that is not comparable with the narrative writing scale. As a consequence, student performance in Writing from 2011 and 2012 cannot be compared with that from previous years.

In December 2012, Education Ministers released the 2012 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy – Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy report (the 2012 NAPLAN National Report). The results contained in this report (and previous reports) are also available in interactive form on the NAP website. Preliminary national results were also released in September 2012 at around the same time parents received an individual report on their child’s achievement in the NAPLAN tests. The student report shows student performance against the national average and relative to the achievement band scale.

The final national results are reported as mean scale scores and by performance in bands, and may be viewed by gender, Indigenous status, language background other than English status, geolocation (metropolitan, provincial, remote and very remote), parental occupation and parental education at each year level and for each domain of the test. Other data available include participation rates. Results are also available for: the performance of each state and territory relative to other states and territories, and to Australia; time series; and cohort gain across year levels.

NAPLAN results are reported at the school level on the My School website.

Key performance measures

The mean scale scores and proportion of students achieving at or above the national minimum standard in each domain and year level are measures of literacy and numeracy achievement in Australian schooling. These are specified as performance indicators in the National Education Agreement and as key performance measures (KPMs) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012.

More information about the assessment scale can be found on the NAP website scales page.

More information about national minimum standards can be found on the NAP website standards page.

For 2012, the proportions of students achieving at or above the national minimum standard and mean scale scores at the national level are reported for Reading in Table 5.1, for Persuasive Writing in Table 5.2 and for Numeracy in Table 5.3.

The proportion of students participating in NAPLAN for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 for Reading, Writing and Numeracy is also a key performance measure. These proportions for 2012 are reported in Table 5.4.

Table 5.1 Summary for Reading for Years 3, 5, 7 an 

Notes:

Exempt students were not assessed and are deemed not to have met the national minimum standard.

CI = Confidence Interval. Confidence intervals reflect the level of uncertainty associated with the measurement of achievement. They define a range of values within which the true level of achievement is likely to lie. This table shows 95 per cent confidence intervals for percentages of students at or above the national minimum standard. This means, for example, that where the percentage shown is 90% ± 0.5 it can be said with 95 per cent confidence the true value lies between 89.5% and 90.5%.

Confidence intervals cited should be used to compare data within 2012 only.

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, Achievement in Reading, Persuasive Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy, National Report for 2012; ACARA (unpublished data)
 

Table 5.2 Summary for Persuasive Writing for Years 

Notes:

Exempt students were not assessed and are deemed not to have met the national minimum standard.

CI = Confidence Interval. Confidence intervals reflect the level of uncertainty associated with the measurement of achievement. They define a range of values within which the true level of achievement is likely to lie. This table shows 95 per cent confidence intervals for percentages of students at or above the national minimum standard. This means, for example, that where the percentage shown is 90% ± 0.5 it can be said with 95 per cent confidence the true value lies between 89.5% and 90.5%.

Confidence intervals cited should be used to compare data within 2012 only.

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, Achievement in Reading, Persuasive Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy, National Report for 2012; ACARA (unpublished data)
 

 Table 5.3 Summary for Numeracy for Years 3, 5, 7 a

Notes:

Exempt students were not assessed and are deemed not to have met the national minimum standard.

CI = Confidence Interval. Confidence intervals reflect the level of uncertainty associated with the measurement of achievement. They define a range of values within which the true level of achievement is likely to lie. This table shows 95 per cent confidence intervals for percentages of students at or above the national minimum standard. This means, for example, that where the percentage shown is 90% ± 0.5 it can be said with 95 per cent confidence the true value lies between 89.5% and 90.5%.

Confidence intervals cited should be used to compare data within 2012 only.

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, Achievement in Reading, Persuasive Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy, National Report for 2012; ACARA (unpublished data)
 

 Table 5.4 Proportion of students participating in

Notes:

Participation rates are calculated as all assessed and exempt students as a percentage of the total number of students in the year level, as reported by schools, which includes those absent and withdrawn.

Exempt students were not assessed and are deemed not to have met the national minimum standard.

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, Achievement in Reading, Persuasive Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy, National Report for 2012