Interpreting NAPLAN results

All students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 have their NAPLAN results reported on the same scale for each test domain (reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy). As such, results can be compared across year levels and over time.

The scale for each domain is divided into 10 bands (1–10) to cover the full range of student achievement in the tests:

  • Year 3 report shows bands 1–6
  • Year 5 report shows bands 3–8
  • Year 7 report shows bands 4–9
  • Year 9 report shows bands 5–10.

Each domain scale has been set to have a midpoint of 500. The average score for each year level will be different and may vary from year to year.

Please note that results cannot be directly compared across domains (for example, a score of 650 on a reading test is different to the achievement of a 650 score on a numeracy test).

Keep NAPLAN in perspective

NAPLAN scores provide an indication of students’ achievements, but they provide only one snapshot of selected aspects of what students know and can do. In interpreting a school’s results, there are three important considerations:

  1. It is not fair to compare the results of a student in a wealthy school in a capital city to another student’s results whose school is in a remote location in regional Australia. My School uses the index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA) to enable comparisons of the performance of each school with other schools that are statistically similar in terms of student backgrounds. Comparing schools that are not statistically similar in terms of student backgrounds can result in misleading conclusions about their performance.
  2. NAPLAN tests sample only a part of what students learn during the year, so it is important to find out more about the whole curriculum of the school and the school’s performance across a range of areas. Start by visiting the school’s website or contact school leaders and teachers.
  3. No test can perfectly measure a student’s level of achievement and all tests are subject to a certain amount of measurement error. This means that there will always be a margin of error surrounding a school’s average score. In general, the smaller the number of students tested, the larger the margin of error.