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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 2124


(Question No. 2)

Ms MacTiernan asked the Minister for Education, in writing, on 14 November 2013:

In respect of NAPLAN, administered under the Australian Curriculum Assessment Reporting Authority, (a) how were the minimum standards determined in 2007, (b) what is the basis for yearly changes in the scoring necessary to achieve the minimum standards, and (c) who is undertaking the current review of the minimum standards, what is the plan for consultation, and when is the report on the review expected.

Mr Pyne: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) The National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) scale bands, including the National Minimum Standards (NMS), were developed during 2007 by the Australian Education Systems Officials' Committee (AESOC) NAPLAN Steering Group.

The Steering Group received advice from the Expert Advisory Group (comprising leading Australian measurement experts) and were also informed by existing state and territory literacy and numeracy assessment programs that preceded NAPLAN. The bands were endorsed by AESOC early in 2008.

The NMS for each year level is represented by a particular band on the ten band NAPLAN common scale. The skills described in the table at Attachment A represent those assessed in NAPLAN tests at the relevant NMS band level for each year level. This information is available at

(b) The NMS remain the same from year to year and do not change. The scoring processes of NAPLAN tests have also not changed from the inception of NAPLAN. The number of correct responses needed to meet or surpass the NMS may change from year to year depending upon the difficulty of the current test when it is compared with the initial 2008 NAPLAN test.

A well-established psychometric equating process is used to adjust for differences in the difficulty of the tests across years so that the results from different years can be reported on the same achievement scale.

(c) The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is reviewing a range of matters relating to reporting student performance as part of its ongoing work to align NAPLAN with the Australian Curriculum and transition to online testing. This work will also take account of results from and standards set for international testing programs in which Australia participates.

ACARA's work will take account of a request from the Council of Australian Governments in June 2012 to the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) to give consideration to establishing 'proficient' NAPLAN standards, which would further strengthen focus on reporting student achievement across multiple levels.

In undertaking this work, ACARA will seek advice from its advisory, reference and working groups. These groups comprise departmental and school sector representatives, measurement experts, and representatives from other organisations. Advice on changes to the NAPLAN reporting process will be presented to the ACARA Board and SCSEEC during 2014 as part of the overall implementation of NAPLAN online.

Any change to the NMS and the process for reporting on student performance will require a decision from SCSEEC.

Attachment A

Skills assessed in NAPLAN tests at the relevant National Minimum Standard (NMS) band level for each year level

Year level

(NMS Band)


Persuasive Writing

Language Conventions


Year 3

(Band 2)

Makes some meaning from short texts, such as simple reports and stories, which have some visual support. Makes connections between pieces of clearly stated information.

Shows some audience awareness by the use of simple persuasive language; for example, I think ... because ... and by providing some information to support reader understanding. Uses some capital letters and full stops correctly. Correctly spells most simple words used in the writing. Some other one- and two-syllable words may also be correct.

Identifies errors and correctly spells some words with simple spelling patterns.

Recognises grammar and punctuation conventions in short sentences, such as the correct use of pronouns ( herself ).

Doubles a whole number to solve a simple problem. Recognises a 2D shape within a pattern of different shapes. Visually compares the area of similar shapes. Locates a position of an object on a simple plan.

Year 5

(Band 4)

Makes inferences from clearly stated information in short factual texts and stories. Identifies the meaning of some unfamiliar words from their context. Finds specific information in longer stories and factual texts supported with tables and diagrams.

Writes a persuasive text in which paragraphs are used to group like ideas and persuasive devices are used to attempt to convince a reader. Correctly punctuates some sentences with both capital letters and full stops. May demonstrate correct use of capitals for names and some other punctuation. Correctly spells most common words.

Identifies errors and correctly spells some one- and two-syllable words with common spelling patterns ( cent, building ).

Recognises grammar and punctuation conventions in short sentences and speech, such as the correct use of appropriate structure, descriptive phrases, abbreviations, brackets and commas in lists.

Uses addition and subtraction to solve problems. Calculates money amounts using addition and subtraction. Identifies a prism displayed in an everyday context. Estimates the volume of liquid in a familiar container. Recognises attributes of 3D objects. Visualises a 3D model from a different perspective.

Year 7

(Band 5)

Uses clearly stated information in familiar text types to draw some conclusions and inferences. Draws conclusions about a character in narrative texts. Connects and sequences ideas in longer information texts and identifies opinions in persuasive texts.

Structures a persuasive text to include an introduction and a body containing some related points of argument. Includes enough supporting detail for the writer's point of view to be easily understood by the reader, although the conclusion may be weak or simple. Correctly structures most simple and compound sentences and some complex sentences.

Identifies errors and correctly spells one- and two-syllable words with common spelling patterns (grown, drafting, message).

Recognises grammar and punctuation conventions in standard sentences and speech, such as the correct use of verb forms, synonyms, connecting words (however), brackets and apostrophes for contractions (he's).

Applies a small range of strategies to solve problems. Calculates money amounts using multiplication and division. Calculates the missing value in a decimal multiplication equation. Estimates the size of an angle. Finds the chance of a simple event occurring. Uses knowledge of factors to solve problems. Compares and orders decimals with two decimal places.

Year 9

(Band 6)

Makes meaning from a range of text types of increasing difficulty and understands different text structures. Recognises the purpose of general text features such as titles and subheadings. Makes inferences by connecting ideas across different parts of texts. Interprets descriptive and figurative language and identifies the main difference between characters in narrative texts.

Organises a persuasive text using focused paragraphs. Uses some effective persuasive devices and accurate words or groups of words when developing points of argument and ideas. Punctuates nearly all sentences correctly with capitals, full stops, exclamation marks and question marks. Correctly uses more complex punctuation marks some of the time.

Identifies errors and correctly spells most words with common spelling patterns (record, disturb).

Demonstrates knowledge of grammar and punctuation conventions in more complex texts, such as concise expression and the correct use of extended groups of adjectives, prepositions (from), commas to separate phrases and the stroke or forward slash (/).

Solves number sentences that may include negative numbers. Identifies the rule describing a number pattern. Visualises the result of a single flip of an object. Interprets simple line graphs. Identifies area as the measurement attribute for a given situation. Identifies attributes of a 3D object including its net.