Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In Skip to Content


NAPLAN Writing Test


NAPLAN Writing test information

The genre for the Writing test is either narrative or persuasive. The genre will not be disclosed prior to the test day and students will not be able to choose the genre in which they write their response. The genre is the same for all year levels and is not made known to students, teachers or markers prior to the test. The writing topic for Years 3 and 5 is different from that for Years 7 and 9. This is to ensure maximum engagement and fairness for all students for the test.


Back to Top


NAPLAN student Writing test responses

Victorian schools can access scanned images of their students’ NAPLAN Writing test responses, which coincide with the release of NAPLAN reports in Term 3.

Please refer to the following documents regarding the use of NAPLAN writing test responses.

Back to Top


Preparing students for the NAPLAN Writing test

Students who have read, written and created a range of texts in a range of classroom activities, are well prepared for the NAPLAN Writing test.

Test practice that aims to familiarise students with NAPLAN test conditions is recommended as a useful support strategy. However, over-preparation and focus on any particular genre is inconsistent with the approach to teaching and learning described in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 and the National Curriculum.  Over-preparation may also increase anxiety levels in students and lower performance levels under test conditions.


Back to Top


Responding to the NAPLAN Writing test

Persuasive Writing

Students write to convince a reader of their opinion and structure their writing with an introduction, body and conclusion.

Students approach the NAPLAN Persuasive Writing test in different ways. Some students develop and justify their ideas, drawing on personal knowledge and experience or on more detailed general knowledge about a particular subject or issue. Some choose to present one side of the argument and may also include opposing arguments in order to rebut. Others seek to persuade by exploring both sides of the topic, before arriving at a clear and conclusive position.

Students also write in different forms. Most students present their argument in the form of an essay. Others choose to present their argument as a letter to the editor or as the text of a speech. Students may also use anecdotes or references to narratives such as films or novels to help convince their reader. Students cannot, however, present their entire response as a narrative (a story), or as a dramatised dialogue in which two characters argue.

Narrative Writing

Students write a narrative or story that develops events, settings and characters to entertain, move, inform or enlighten readers. The structural components of the narrative are the orientation, the complication and the resolution.

Students develop events, settings and characters in different ways, using first or third person narrators and past or present tense action. They may draw directly on personal experience and observation, for example, family or school events; or they may construct scenarios from multiple secondary sources such as shared stories, urban myths, books, films and computer games.

Students develop their stories imaginatively in a variety of narrative types or sub-genres, including fantasy, horror, quest and ‘teen literature’. They use language appropriate to their chosen narrative type, and arrange dialogue, description and action to support or progress their story.

Students support their reader by providing a sense of time and/or place (an orientation); they engage their reader by injecting tension or drama into their story through, for example, a problem or unexpected occurrence (a complication); and they provide their reader with a sense of completion (a resolution) by ending their story in an appropriate way.


Back to Top

Marking Guides

When reviewing writing results, please refer to the appropriate marking guide:

Further information regarding the assessment of writing can be found on the NAP website.

Please note that NAPLAN markers undergo intensive training and supervised marking before gaining competence in the interpretation of marking guide descriptors.  The marking guides are provided online for information but it is recommended that marker training be undertaken or that assistance from trained markers be sought before the guides are used to assess student practice tests in schools.


Back to Top

Victorian NAPLAN Writing marker information

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is responsible for the administration and marking of the Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests.

Each year, the VCAA appoints suitable individuals to mark student responses for the NAPLAN writing tests, drawing from the pool of re-applicant markers and recruiting new markers.

The primary objective of the marking operation is to reliably mark student responses according to the national rubric. Markers gain valuable professional experience and are paid for their marking. Marker training will also contribute to the continuing professional development requirements for teacher registration.

General information

In October 2020, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will seek applications from qualified people who wish to be considered for appointment as markers for the NAPLAN Writing task for 2021.  Approximately 300,000 test books will be marked on screen. Markers will work in small groups under the guidance of a group leader. National reliability measures will be adopted and monitored by a group leader. A remote marking centre will be in operation in Melbourne. Markers are encouraged to mark from home for the duration of the project. Markers opt to mark during the day session (8.30am–4.00pm) or the evening session (4.00pm–10.00pm). Once marking has commenced, markers cannot move between sessions. Markers are required to mark every session from the start of training until the end of marking with only two rest days. Marking may be completed before the end of the scheduled timeline.

Marker training

All NAPLAN Marker training is currently under review in accordance with Covid -19 restrictions. Information will be provided when it becomes available.

Marker commitment

To ensure test validity and reliability in the marking of student responses for the 2021 NAPLAN Writing tests, markers will need to:

  • complete your scheduled mandatory marker training sessions
  • mark for the duration of the marking operation inclusively: approx. 27 days from mid May until mid June
  • commit to a minimum of 4 hours per day (day shift) and 3 hours per night (night shift). Every day. This includes weekends. Please note there are only 2 rest days over the marking period.
  • nominate to be one of the following marker types:

Day marker (Day)

Two days off during the project to be negotiated with Group Leader

Markers mark every day, Monday to Friday (8.30am to 4.00pm) plus Saturdays and Sundays (8.30am to 5.00pm)
(i.e. 5 weekdays + weekends)

Day markers agree to mark a minimum of 4 hours per shift.

Evening marker (Eve)

Two days off during the project to be negotiated with Group Leader

Markers mark every day, Monday to Friday (4.00pm to 10.00pm) plus Saturdays and Sundays (8.30am to 5.00pm)
(i.e. 5 weekday evenings + weekends)

Evening markers agree to mark a minimum of 3 hours per shift.

New applicants

New markers will be trained in the use of the most current ACARA Writing Marking Guide.

Marker selection

The selection of markers each year is influenced by a combination of issues and commitments that include:

  • maintaining a pool of experienced markers
  • the number of markers required to complete marking within the given timeframe
  • opportunity for employment of new markers who have been successful in the marker recruitment
  • opportunity for employment of a number of markers from outside the Victorian metropolitan area
  • employment of a number of current practising Victorian teachers (marking provides a significant individual professional development opportunity)
  • employment of teachers from as many Victorian schools as possible (schools benefit from their teacher's experience as a marker)
  • individuals who have a relevant and appropriate educational background
  • the applicant's performance in previous marking operations (quality and consistency of marking, pace of marking, receptiveness to receiving feedback, and ability to apply any feedback provided)

Selection criteria:

  • Relevant qualifications and experience: it is preferred that the applicant has a relevant teaching degree and experience teaching primary literacy or secondary English.
  • NAPLAN 2008 – 2019 marking: accuracy and speed.
  • Other relevant marking experience.

Markers are chosen by a panel, based on the need to reflect these considerations and commitments. No guarantee can be provided as to whether an applicant will be employed as a marker in any given year.

Offers of appointment are emailed in March. Unsuccessful applicants are also emailed to confirm the status of their applications.

Group Leaders

Each year, there is a need for new Group Leaders. Group Leaders are paid at an hourly rate.

The role of group leader is a highly important one in the NAPLAN marking operation.The role of the group leader is to ensure the accuracy of their team's marking. To this end the group leader is required to:

  • facilitate the training of their group on training days
  • provide on the spot assistance to their group throughout the marking operation
  • check‐mark approximately 10‐20% of their group members' marking
  • retrain group members when required.

Payment and training

VCAA does pay markers for time spent in training sessions based on CRT rates. The VCAA does not pay for any travel expenses you may incur to attend training sessions or the marking project.

Marking operation

Markers are paid at a script rate. Writing markers are expected to mark between 8 and 10 scripts per hour.

More detailed information on payment is sent with offers of appointment.

Professional development

The training and marking of student responses contributes to the continuing professional development requirements for teacher registration.

How to apply:

Action required depending on your situation
Access to SSMS Action
If you have an SMSS user account and you know your username and passwordYou can log in to your SSMS user account and complete your application.
If you have an SMSS user account but you have forgotten either or both of your username and/or passwordGo to the 'forgotten your…' links provided in the 'Log into your account' area. Once you have recovered your username and reset your password, you can log in to your SSMS user account and complete your application.
If you do not have an SMSS user account then you can apply as a new applicant Go to the 'Don't have an account' area and click on the 'new applicants' link. This will take you to the application process.

More information

VCAA NAPLAN helpdesk 1800 648 637


Back to Top