NAPLAN score equivalence tables

The following material is provided to enable parents and other interested stakeholders to better understand NAPLAN results through the use of equivalence tables. NAPLAN results (or NAPLAN scale scores) are reported using 5 scales, one for each of the domains of reading, writing and numeracy, and 2 for the conventions of language domain (one scale for spelling, and one for grammar and punctuation). Each scale spans all year levels from Year 3 to Year 9 with scores that range from approximately zero to 1000. It is possible for a NAPLAN scale score to be negative.

The NAPLAN scales are constructed so that any given score represents the same level of achievement over time. For example, a score of 700 in reading will have the same meaning in 2014 as in 2010. This enables changes in domain achievements by student cohorts or groups to be monitored over time.

Each NAPLAN scale is divided into 10 bands used to report student progress through Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Band 1 is the lowest band and band 10 is the highest band. A band contains a range of scores and is not a specific point. Each year level is reported against 6 of these bands.

The equivalence tables can be used to convert a student’s score on each test (raw score) to its equivalent on the NAPLAN scale (NAPLAN scale score) for each domain. The raw score on a given test is the number of marks obtained on that test. The maximum number of marks on a test varies by domain and year level. Up to and including 2016 for Year 7 and Year 9 numeracy, 3 separate tables are provided. The first is for the overall numeracy test, the second for the non-calculator form and the third for the calculator form. The second and third tables are for allocating scores to students who sat only one of the tests. In addition, the tables also provide the band assigned to the corresponding NAPLAN scale score. From 2017 there is only one numeracy test for Years 7 and 9 (which includes non-calculator as well as calculator items) and thus a single table is provided.

Score equivalence tables from 2018

The transition to online NAPLAN testing has implications for the publication of score equivalence tables due to the adaptive nature of the online tests. Tailored testing adapts to student responses in real time and presents students with questions that are more or less difficult, based on the student’s test performance. The adaptive nature of the online tests means students are more likely to stay engaged with the tests as they receive questions better suited to their ability, allowing them to show what they can do, rather than just what they cannot. A student’s NAPLAN result is based on both the number and difficulty of questions the student answers correctly. A student who completes a more complex pathway is more likely to achieve a higher result (and a higher band placement) than a student who answers the same number of questions correctly but follows a less complex pathway.

Score equivalence tables for online tests are only useful if the exact pathway is known for a student. Given that the exact pathway is not included in the individual student report (ISR), and to prevent any confusion in interpreting students’ scaled scores, score equivalence tables for the NAPLAN online tests will not be released. From 2018 onward, the score equivalence tables are published for paper only.