Friday, October 30, 2015

NAPLAN online update

ACARA has released the following information about NAPLAN Online

Students will be able to use a wide range of devices, such as laptops, notebooks, computers and portable tablet devices, on Windows, Mac and Chrome platforms, when NAPLAN goes online from 2017. Today, (30/10/15), ACARA has today released minimum technical specifications for devices to be used for NAPLAN online. For more information, visit the 'Technical requirements' page of the NAP website and see the NAPLAN online technical requirements supporting document (PDF 98 kb). The specifications also include information on a minimum screen size required, network capability, supported operating systems, minimum disk space, security and external equipment, such as a pair of headphones, keyboard and mouse. ACARA General Manager, Assessment and Reporting, Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, says there is still more research around devices that is currently underway.

“We have released this information as we know some schools may be planning ahead for NAPLAN online in 2017,” Dr Rabinowitz says. “But there is still more research we have been doing around devices. For example, we continue to investigate the use of on-screen keyboards versus external keyboards for tablet devices. This research may support students who use on-screen keyboards if that is what they prefer”.

While NAPLAN online assumes reliable access to the internet, some provisions will be made, where necessary, for students to complete NAPLAN on computers without internet or adequate connectivity. This includes the use of special server software and portable servers in schools.

“One of the concerns we hear is that a school’s internet connection may not be able to support all students doing NAPLAN at the same time,” Dr Rabinowitz says. “We are not expecting all students to do NAPLAN at the same time, or for schools to have one device for every student. When NAPLAN moves online, we propose to extend the testing window from three days to two weeks so students will not be taking NAPLAN at the same time. The concerns around increased opportunities for cheating are also unfounded, as NAPLAN online will use tailored testing so students are not taking the same test at the same time”.

NAPLAN online will require a locked-down browser or app to prevent students from having unauthorised access to websites, applications and spell-checking features during the tests.
“We understand the issues around security, privacy and, of course, equity; and we continue to address these through research we have been doing on the use of devices in the NAPLAN context,” Dr Rabinowitz says. “We will continue to work with schools, education departments and sector representatives to develop an appropriate policy around the use of personal devices”.

About NAPLAN online

Federal, state and territory education ministers have agreed that NAPLAN will move online from 2017, over a two–three year period.
State/territory education authorities (where they exist in a state and territory) will make decisions about the logistics and timing to move NAPLAN online for their state/territory. These groups will also lead implementation in their state/territory.
Advice on implementation and implementation timelines should be sought via the following channels:
  • independent schools: relevant school authority (where they exist in a state or territory) and/or from ACARA (
  • Catholic schools: local Catholic education commission
  • government schools: relevant school authority (where they exist in a state or territory), or department of education in a state or territory.
NAPLAN online will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information. Significant planning, development, research and trialling are going on behind the scenes to make sure we are all ready to move NAPLAN online.