NSW schools have been moving to deliver NAPLAN Online since 2018. The majority of NSW Catholic schools will deliver NAPLAN online in 2021 with the remaining schools delivering the tests online in 2022.

The 2021 NAPLAN Online test window is 11 to 21 May.

CSNSW continues to work with NESA and the other education sectors to prepare for participation in the delivery of 2021 NAPLAN online.

Staff training

Training is available from mid-February. All staff involved with NAPLAN Online are strongly encouraged to participate in training, even if schools have already delivered NAPLAN Online. Registration is now open for live online sessions. Read more about the training options on the NESA website.

General questions regarding NAPLAN Online please contact the NAPLAN team on 1300 119 556, 02 9367 8382 or [email protected]

For specific advice on Catholic school preparations please contact [email protected]


Provides information on the transition to NAPLAN Online for NSW schools.

What’s changing?

The national assessment program literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) tests will change from paper to online assessment by 2021 for all Australian schools. The move to NAPLAN Online will bring benefits for schools, students and teachers.


Significant planning, research and trialling has been ongoing since 2012 to support the move to NAPLAN Online. Online testing creates new opportunities that are not possible with paper tests.

  • NAPLAN Online will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information.
  • Most students find online assessment more engaging.
  • NAPLAN Online will use tailored testing, which gives students questions better suited to their ability, resulting in more detailed individual assessment.
  • Online assessment will reduce the time it takes to mark and provide feedback to schools and teachers.
  • The precision and improved timing of the results will help teachers streamline their teaching more specifically to student needs.
  • Once all schools complete NAPLAN online, student results will be returned to parents and carers within weeks of the NAPLAN test, as opposed to months.

For further information about NAPLAN Online visit the ACARA website.

Tailored Testing

The move to NAPLAN Online enables the use of tailored testing

Instead of the static approach of the current NAPLAN tests, tailored tests give students questions that are better suited to their ability, resulting in better assessment and more precise results.

In NAPLAN Online, students attempt the same number of questions in the same amount of time as in paper NAPLAN. Based on their responses, tailored testing provides questions more aligned to individual ability, providing teachers with more detailed information about what each student can do, rather than what they cannot do.

The ACARA tailored testing provides information that explains what tailored testing is and research that supports its use in NAPLAN Online.

NSW transition approach

In 2021, approximately 65% of schools across Australia continue the move from paper NAPLAN tests to NAPLAN Online. Ministers have decided that the final year for transition to NAPLAN online is 2022. In 2021 over 90% of NSW Catholic schools transitioned to NAPLAN Online with 100% expected to deliver NAPLAN Online in 2022.

NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) provides information about preparation activities including training to all schools via NESA news and by direct email contact with principals. For advice about the CSNSW transition approach or your school’s transition to NAPLAN Online, please contact [email protected] 

Student Reports

NAPLAN Online will deliver more detailed information about each student’s performance. Due to the adaptive nature of tailored tests, students can better demonstrate what they know, rather than what they don’t know.

Schools will access a new student and school summary report. This provides detailed feedback on how students within a school perform in NAPLAN Online and will be available within weeks of the close of the test window.

With NAPLAN Online, parents and carers will continue to receive individual student reports.

Faster turnaround of reporting

NAPLAN Online will deliver faster results to schools, students and their parents and carers.

Once all Australian schools have moved to NAPLAN Online:

  • schools will access the student and school summary reports within weeks of the end of the test window; and
  • individual student reports will be sent to parents and carers within weeks of the NAPLAN Online test window.

NAPLAN Online test window

The test window for NAPLAN Online is nine days compared to three days for paper-based NAPLAN. This gives schools flexibility in scheduling tests and managing computer devices and test spaces.

All students from all year levels within a school must complete a domain before moving on to the next, and schools must schedule the tests to be taken in the following order:

  1. writing
  2. reading
  3. conventions of language
  4. numeracy.

For further information about how to manage the test sessions, read ACARA’s advice NAPLAN online assessment window

NAPLAN Online test window

In 2020, schools across Australia will continue the move from paper NAPLAN tests to NAPLAN Online.

All CSNSW systemic schools will deliver 2020 NAPLAN online. Over half Catholic independent schools will also deliver the assessments in an online mode.

Catholic schools are supported by school authorities to access training for staff and to participate in important preparation activities such as participation in practice tests in March, 2020.

Participation in preparation activities also provides the opportunity for students to engage with the assessment platform and become familiar with navigation of on-screen tools such as calculators and to test the suitability of any adjustments students may require, such as larger font size.

The NAPLAN Online Public Demonstration Site is also available for parents and students to become familiar with the new types of test items that are included in the online test.

NESA provides more information about preparation activities to all schools and supports the delivery of NAPLAN assessments in NSW.

For advice about the CSNSW transition approach or your school’s transition to NAPLAN Online, please contact [email protected]

Best Start Kindergarten Assessment

Every child enters school with their own set of experiences, skills and abilities. These skills form a foundation for future learning and students need to develop these skills to be able to communicate complex ideas, think critically and engage with the world.

The Best Start Kindergarten Assessment provides teachers with the opportunity to sit with a child one on one, focusing on what that child can do. This provides the teacher with another rich source of information on how to best support that child’s next steps

Best Start Kindergarten Assessment (BSKA) allows schools to enter student information via an online NSW Department of Education tool, referred to as PLAN2. The BSKA items are mapped to the Literacy and Numeracy Progressions.

Data that is generated by the assessment may be used to inform families about their child’s early literacy and numeracy development.

Arrangements for non-government schools selected to use BSKA and PLAN2 under the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy will be maintained for the duration of the strategy until 2021.

For more information regarding accessing BSKA and/or PLAN2 please contact [email protected]

Best Start Year 7

Students start secondary school with different skills and abilities in literacy and numeracy. It is important that Year 7 teachers have access to information about their new students, to plan their teaching accordingly.

What is Best Start Year 7?

Best Start Year 7 is a literacy and numeracy assessment package for schools to use in the first five weeks of Year 7. It is designed to:

  • provide teachers with consistent and up-to-date information about new students’ skills and abilities in literacy and numeracy
  • identify students at risk of falling behind
  • help inform targeted teaching and intervention strategies.

The assessment package includes links to syllabus and support material.

Best Start Year 7 test items are automatically mapped to the Learning Progressions via an online NSW Department of Education tool, referred to as PLAN2.

The best Start Year 7 is available to all NSW Catholic secondary schools on an opt-in basis.

Further information can be found here – Best Start Year 7 assessment

For any enquiries regarding NSW Catholic school participation in 2021 Best Start Year 7 please email [email protected]

Validation of Assessment for Learning and Individual Development (VALID)

Online diagnostic science assessments for students in Years 6, 8 and 10. The program provides online end-of-stage assessments for the science key learning area.

Three assessments packages are available and are offered to all NSW Catholic schools on an opt-in fee for service basis.:

  • VALID Science & Technology for Year 6
  • VALID Science for Year 8
  • VALID Science for Year 10

Schools with students in Years 6/8/10 can participate by registering their full cohort. Teachers of the registered schools will participate in 5 hours of NESA registered professional learning and then mark the extended response tasks for their school.

Register your school for VALID

Registration in the VALID program provides:

  • high quality syllabus-based assessment frameworks that describe levels of achievement against standards to inform school-based assessment practices
  • online multimedia assessment tools that provide diagnostic data and time efficient reports to inform planning, programming and assessment across learning stages
  • cohort level affective domain data from interest and engagement survey questions within each assessment
  • five hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) registered training that reinforces staff capability in making consistent judgements against syllabus standards
  • systems and processes to monitor student achievement of syllabus outcomes and content across stages
  • external student assessment data that can be used in combination with school-based assessments to inform whole school planning processes.

A fee of $10 per student is applicable for non-government schools.

All students who participate in a VALID assessment will receive an individualised student report outlining the level of understanding they demonstrated during the assessment.

Contact [email protected] for information regarding 2021 participation in VALID testing.

Learning Progressions

The NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy commits to deliver new literacy and numeracy learning progressions to schools as a tool to assist with monitoring the progress of students in their Literacy and Numeracy development.

What are the learning progressions?

The learning progressions are a teaching and learning resource. They describe common pathways of literacy and numeracy development from Kindergarten to Year 10. The learning progressions map to the NSW syllabuses and the Australian curriculum in English and maths, demonstrating the development needed to meet stage outcomes. They can be used to assist teachers to determine what students know already, and what they need to learn next. Unlike the NSW syllabuses, the learning progressions are not mandatory.

Why were the learning progressions developed?

The learning progressions have been developed to help identify student needs, and to support classroom planning and reporting. The learning progressions can assist teachers with:

  • accessing comprehensive information about literacy and numeracy development from K-10
  • identifying knowledge, understanding and skills that can be demonstrated across all learning areas, not just English and maths
  • locating a student’s current knowledge and ability more accurately to determine the learning that should follow.

All Australian education ministers agreed in December 2015 to develop national literacy and numeracy learning progressions. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and the NSW Department of Education have led development over 2016-17. Development has been informed by available evidence and consultation with researchers and experts in literacy and numeracy education. Trials have taken place across Australia, including in NSW, to ensure the learning progressions are usable and reliable across a range of different schools.

For any enquiries regarding the Literacy and Numeracy Progressions in NSW Catholic schools please email [email protected].

Teaching Strategies


Resources to use in conjunction with the results of NAPLAN to identify areas of development in reading, writing and language conventions.

The aim of English in Years K–10 is to enable students to understand and use language effectively, appreciate, reflect on and enjoy the English language and to make meaning in ways that are imaginative, creative, interpretive, critical and powerful.

NAPLAN tests help identify students’ literacy skills and trends within schools, grades and cohorts. Students are assessed using common national tests in Reading, Writing and Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation). Teachers use NAPLAN results as part of a suite of assessment opportunities to build up a summary of student achievement aiding in identification of students who may require greater challenges or additional support.

The resources contained in the web-links/ hyperlinks and apps are to be used after evaluation by the teacher. The resources in Scout (NAPLAN analytics package produced by DoE and available to all NSW schools) are research based and reflect current directions such as:

  • the quality teaching model
  • the modelled, guided and independent teaching cycle
  • the NSW English syllabus for the Australian curriculum K–10: outcomes and objectives


Resources to assist development in the areas of number and algebra, measurement and geometry, and statistics and probability.

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) teaching strategies make reference to:

The numeracy teaching strategies in Scout (NAPLAN analytics package produced by DoE and available to all NSW schools) provide teachers with strategies and
activities to assist students:

  • access the knowledge they need using strategies that are explicit and relevant
  • develop their understanding of concepts
  • transfer the skills they have developed using the strategies in new, contextual and varied situations.


The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a national population-based measure of how children in Australia have developed by the time they start their first year of full-time school. All schools with kindergarten students participate in the census. NSW Catholic schools with kindergarten students participate in Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) every 3 years.

Teachers complete an on-line questionnaire based on observations of the children in their class. The AEDC involves the collection of data across five developmental domains:

  • Physical Health and Wellbeing
  • Social Competence
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Language and Cognitive Skills (school-based)
  • Communication Skills and General Knowledge

Each of the five domains has a corresponding set of questions. Data is collected for individual children, de-identified and then reported for a group of children at a community, state/territory and national level. The information is used by schools, early childhood educators, health services, local council community groups and governments to help plan and allocate the right type of services and support for their community.

Further information is available on the National AEDC website.

Latest News

Feb 11, 2021

COVID-19 Information & Updates

For resources & updates on COVID-19 please head to the Catholic Schools NSW COVID-19 Resources page.
Read More
Jan 10, 2021

Catholic school students top the state in 16 HSC subjects in 2020

Catholic school students top the state in 16 HSC subjects in 2020 Catholic school students achieved outstanding results in this year’s Higher School Certificate exams, with 15 students receiving First in Course awards for 16 subjects. Catholic Schools NSW Chief...
Read More
Oct 10, 2020

School Safety Information & Updates

Get up-to-date information on schools that have temporarily ceased operations due to adverse weather, bushfire, emergencies or other incidents. For information about flooding in your area please check the NSW State Emergency Service website and ABC Listen app. Catholic schools temporarily non-operational...
Read More