How Are NAPLAN Scores Calculated?

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment of the reading, writing, language conventions (grammar and punctuation), and numeracy skills of Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9. The tests are designed to provide information about student progress and to identify areas where students need additional support.

NAPLAN scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1000, with 500 being the national average. Students are awarded a score for each of the four test components, as well as an overall score.

How Are NAPLAN Scores Calculated?

NAPLAN scores are calculated using a process called item response theory (IRT). IRT is a statistical model that takes into account the difficulty of each test item, as well as the student’s response to the item.

The IRT model uses a mathematical formula to estimate the student’s ability level based on their responses to the test items. The estimated ability level is then converted into a score on the NAPLAN scale.

The IRT model takes into account the following factors:

  • The difficulty of each test item
  • The student’s response to each test item
  • The student’s overall performance on the test

The IRT model is used to calculate NAPLAN scores for the following reasons:

  • It takes into account the difficulty of each test item, which ensures that students are not penalized for taking a more difficult test.
  • It takes into account the student’s response to each test item, which allows for more accurate measurement of the student’s ability level.
  • It provides a consistent and reliable measure of student achievement, which allows for comparisons between students and schools.

NAPLAN Score Bands

NAPLAN scores are divided into 10 bands, with Band 10 being the highest and Band 1 being the lowest. The bands are used to describe the student’s performance in relation to the national average.

Band Score Range Description
10 900-1000 Significantly above average
9 800-899 Well above average
8 700-799 Above average
7 600-699 At or slightly above average
6 550-599 At average
5 500-549 Slightly below average
4 450-499 Below average
3 400-449 Well below average
2 350-399 Significantly below average
1 0-349 Not yet at expected level

NAPLAN Results

NAPLAN results are reported to students, parents, and schools. The results can be used to:

  • Track student progress over time
  • Identify areas where students need additional support
  • Compare student performance to the national average
  • Inform school planning and decision-making
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