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NAP Sample Assessments


Small Scale Tests

The development and review process for the tests required for the National Assessment Program takes about 18 months to complete. This rigorous process includes the administration of small scale tests for the ‘trialling’ and ‘equating’ phases of the development of the NAPLAN tests and for the ‘trialling’ and main sample phases of the NAP Sample Assessments.

Trialling
Trialling involves samples of students from each state and territory completing sets of test questions. The tests are conducted to evaluate the quality of potential test material being considered for inclusion in future tests. The main purpose of the trial tests (NAPLAN and the NAP Sample Assessments) is to determine the quality of potential test items, not individual student or school performance.

Equating program
A process of equating is carried out to enable test results completed year to year to be reported on the same assessment scales. For NAPLAN, a representative national sample of students is selected annually to participate in this additional ‘equating’ phase or ‘equating study’ so that NAPLAN test results can be compared over time.

Who participates in small scale tests?

For NAPLAN trial and equating tests, students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 from a national sample of schools participate. At each selected school, generally two classes from two different relevant year groups participate. Ministers’ agreements and legislation requires schools selected to participate in the small scale tests to do so.

Small scale tests – Fact Sheet

Rosemary Kadow is the NAP Liaison Officer for schools in the SA Independent sector.

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NAP Sample Assessments

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is the independent authority responsible for the overall management of the National Assessment Program, including the NAP sample assessments. However, ACARA does not oversee the delivery of these international assessments. Further information about each test and their management is provided.

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Sample Assessments

The NAP sample assessments test students’ skills and understanding in:

  • science literacy
  • civics and citizenship and
  • information and communication technology (ICT) literacy.

Schools are selected for participation in a NAP Sample Assessment through a scientific representative selection process. If selected, schools are notified by letter well in advance of the assessment period.

The sample assessments are held on a rolling three-yearly basis and students in Years 6 and 10 are selected to participate. NAP sample assessments began in 2003 with science literacy (NAP – SL), followed by civics and citizenship (NAP – CC) in 2004 and information and communication technology literacy (NAP – ICTL) in 2005.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is the independent authority responsible for the overall management of the National Assessment Program, including the NAP sample assessments. However, ACARA does not oversee the delivery of these international assessments.

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NAP Sample Assessment Schedule

Year Period Details
2018 15 October - 2 November NAP - Science Literacy sample assessments
2019 To be determined NAP - Civics and Citizenship sample assessments
2020 To be determined NAP - ICT Literacy sample assessments

Rosemary Kadow is the NAP Liaison Officer for schools in the SA Independent sector.

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International Assessments

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is the independent authority responsible for the overall management of the National Assessment Program, including the NAP sample assessments. However, ACARA does not oversee the delivery of these international assessments. For more information on how these assessments are managed in Australia on behalf of the Education Council, please click on the links below.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is conducted every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). PISA is not a curriculum-based assessment. PISA assesses how 15 year-olds can apply their skills and knowledge to real-life problems and situations. Questions are multiple choice or require a short written response. These will be in the areas of mathematical literacy, reading literacy and science literacy. Although the current cycle is referred to as PISA 2019, in Australia the assessment takes place in 2018, because of differences in the timing of the school year in the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study TIMMS is conducted every four years by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). The tests developed look at how well Year 4 and Year 8 students have mastered the factual and procedural knowledge taught in school mathematics and science curricula. Although the current cycle is referred to as TIMSS 2019, in Australia the assessment takes place in 2018, because of differences in the timing of the school year in the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is conducted every five years by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). PIRLS tests are based on the assessment framework that is developed after extensive analysis of national curricula. The tests describe what students have learned and the questionnaires examine what is intended to be taught in reading and how they are actually taught. The tests developed look at two purposes of reading that Year 4 students typically engage in: reading for literary experience, as well as to acquire and use information.

PIRLS also assesses four broad processes of comprehension predominantly used by Year 4 readers:

  • focus on and retrieve explicitly stated information
  • make straightforward inferences
  • interpret and integrate ideas and information and
  • evaluate and critique content and textual elements.

This test is administered to a sample of students in their fourth year of schooling from each participating country. Australia was involved for the first time in the study in 2011. Although the current cycle is referred to as PIRLS 2016, in Australia the assessment took place in 2015, because of differences in the timing of the school year in the northern and southern hemispheres.

In 2018, Australia will participate in the PISA 2019 and TIMMS 2019 international assessments. This is due to the differences in the timing of the school year in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Rosemary Kadow is the NAP Liaison Officer for schools in the SA Independent sector.

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Assessment Frameworks

NAP sample assessments test students’ skills and understanding in science literacy, civics and citizenship and information and communication technology (ICT) literacy.

The content for each NAP sample assessment is defined according to a specific assessment framework. The frameworks help to provide test developers, state and territory education reviewers and policy makers with a clear definition of the scope and method of testing in each of the three domains included in the sample assessments.

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Data Collection for Student Registration

The student registration data collected for the NAP Sample Assessments is the same student data collected by schools to register students for the NAPLAN assessments. Schools selected for participation in a NAP sample assessment will receive information from the testing contractor about the procedures for submitting this student background data.

This data may have been collected upon enrolment or prior to a student first sitting a NAPLAN assessment at their school. Schools are required to collect information for each of the following four student background characteristics:

  • sex
  • Indigenous status
  • socioeconomic background
  • language background.

This data is collected using a nationally standardised form, which can be found in Attachment 2 of the Data Standards Manual on the ACARA website.

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School Release Materials

School release materials are available to schools following each sample assessment. The information and assessment materials in these documents have been designed to assist teachers to administer their own assessment and gauge their own students’ proficiency in the relevant area. By replicating components of the Year 6 and Year 10 sample assessments, teachers may be able to judge their students’ proficiency in relation to the proficiency levels for each domain. It is anticipated that teachers will be able to reflect on this information to enhance teaching and monitoring programs in Australian schools.

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