Review report makes recommendations for NAPLAN reform

Released 28/08/2020

The NAPLAN Review Final Report has been released today and proposes a number of recommendations to address longstanding criticisms and concerns with NAPLAN and bring it in line with 21st century education.

An independent review of NAPLAN commissioned by New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT is recommending an overhaul of the national standardised assessment to ensure that it meets the needs of schools, parents and students now and into the future.

The Review, conducted by Emeritus Professor Barry McGaw, Emeritus Professor Bill Louden, and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, considered standardised assessment practices across the world, the uses of NAPLAN data, and the content and delivery of the assessment itself.

The recommendations reflect the widely held views that substantial changes are needed to NAPLAN to ensure it remains a source of important and relevant information on learning progress.

The NAPLAN Review Report recommends that:

  • A new standardised test should be introduced that includes the assessment of critical and creative thinking in STEM. This would replace the current NAP Science Literacy test conducted every three years. Critical and creative thinking is widely regarded as a key skill for the contemporary workforce. Assessment of critical and creative thinking in this way would place Australia as a world leader.
  • The current testing of students in Year 9 should move to Year 10 to enable greater engagement and to provide students with a more accurate indicator of learning achievement prior to their commencement of senior secondary education.
  • The test should be brought forward from May to as early as possible in the year so that results can be used more productively by schools and teachers. Students and teachers should also get results within one week of the test.
  • Substantial changes should be made to the writing assessment to address long-standing criticisms that the current approach merely encouraged formulaic responses.
  • National standardised tests should continue as universal rather than sample tests because of the valuable information they provide to schools as well as students and parents.
  • NAPLAN is rebranded to Australian National Standardised Assessments (ANSA) to indicate the significant redevelopment of the national standardised assessment.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Yvette Berry, said the review report was a step in the right direction.

"The recommendations put forward by the panel reflect some of the same concerns I have held about NAPLAN since taking on my role as Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development in the ACT. I would like to thank the efforts of the professors and appreciate their advice.

“This review is an example of good collaboration between states and shows that governments can work together to address flaws in NAPLAN and its reporting.

"The main concern raised with me through conversations with students, parents, teachers and the community remains the way NAPLAN is publicly reported and how that contributes to creating a high stakes culture, particularly in stigmatising lower scoring schools and the unfair stress NAPLAN can place on students.

“I look forward to continuing to work to address this issue,” Minister Berry said.

NAPLAN is a point in time test. Schools use a range of other methods to assess and support students to make sure meaningful data is tracked and recorded for all students. NAPLAN should not be used to compare the teaching quality in a school.

The NAPLAN Review Final Report is available at:

- Statement ends -

Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Media Releases

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