A previous article covered the lead up and what to do on the day to improve the performance of your students. Today I will help you discover how to make the most of the NAPLAN data from the day after the test, not September when results come out. (Seriously, if the government really wanted us to improve our teaching, results should be available very quickly).

There is a timeline for NAPLAN going digital, however for most schools in Australia, this has not occurred yet. It is an opt in system from 2017 with a two or three year transition period.

Collecting the data

Be prepared to work through your recess and lunch on NAPLAN testing days, in order to collect the data. It’s worth it though. Swap any yard duty or meetings so you have your breaks free.

The tests arrive in your classroom early morning on the day of the test. Read it and answer all the questions yourself on a separate piece of paper.

Open an Excel spreadsheet. In the first column enter all your student’s names. Across the top enter all the correct answers. Colour code the template so if a wrong answer is entered it comes up red, green if an answer is correct.

In your break time enter all the answers each student completed. Very quickly you will see visually where you need to focus your lessons either individually or as a whole class.


For the writing assessment, photocopy their response and file it.

You could share some of these tasks with your team, working to support each other.

Using the data

Language and numeracy can be used immediately to plan forthcoming lessons for the whole class or for individuals. Sometimes areas can be used as goals in Learning Plans as you have a clear baseline. The data may back up your own testing so you have further evidence for writing reports (right around the corner!)

You can use the writing piece as a reporting sample if needed or to refer back to when official results come out and parents may be concerned.

It will be frustrating if you see a student answered a question incorrectly, even though you know they know the right answer. There’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t be tempted to change it.

Remember to eat well on these days and keep up your fluids.

Good luck!