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Australian assessment scores

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual literacy and numeracy assessment for Australian students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It is a point in time assessment to see how each child is progressing against national standards in literacy and numeracy and over time.

NAPLAN assessment scores

Compare NAPLAN numeracy scores across Australia for girls and boys in different schooling year levels, and see trends in mean scores over time.

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2020

Note: NAPLAN testing did not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data insights


In 2021, girls’ and boys’ mean numeracy scores decreased for all year levels compared to 2019.

Girls’ scores saw a greater decrease than boys’ scores in every year level except year 9. There was only a one point difference between the decrease in girls’ and boys’ scores in year 9. All other years had between 2 and 3 points difference.

Between 2016 and 2021, mean numeracy scores for Australian girls declined slightly for all schooling year levels except year 3, which showed no change.  For boys, mean numeracy scores grew slightly for all schooling year levels except year 9, which declined slightly.

In 2021, between 94% and 96% of girls achieved scores at or above the minimum standard in numeracy. This was 1 percentage point higher than boys in each schooling year level except year 5, where it was equivalent.

Across all schooling year groups (years 3 to 9), a smaller percentage of girls than boys achieved at or above the highest band usually achieved in their year group.

These outcomes are consistent with the 2019 NAPLAN numeracy results.


The 2021 NAPLAN results for literacy provide contrast to the numeracy results. Girls’ mean literacy scores were an average of 18 points higher than boys’ mean scores.

Across all year levels, girls outperformed boys in every literacy assessment area. These areas are:

  • grammar and punctuation
  • reading
  • writing
  • spelling.

In each of the literacy assessment areas:

  • A greater proportion of girls than boys scored at or above the minimum standard.
  • A greater proportion of girls than boys scored at or above the highest band usually achieved in their year group.

See full NAPLAN literacy results on the National Assessment Program website.

About the data

Each of the NAPLAN assessment scales describes student achievement from year 3 to year 9 on a 10-band scale.

Using a common scale through years 3, 5, 7 and 9 lets us monitor the results of all students. The scale is divided into 10 bands to cover the full range of student achievement in the tests. These bands map the increasing complexity of the skills NAPLAN assesses.

NAPLAN reporting uses 6 bands at each year level. Student achievement usually falls between these ranges:

  • Year 3: bands 1 to 6
  • Year 5: bands 3 to 8
  • Year 7: bands 4 to 9
  • Year 9: bands 5 to 10.

Read about our methodology.