Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Accessibility to NAPLAN Assessments for Students With Disabilities: A ‘Fair Go’

  • Michael Davies (a1)

A National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) that requires assessment of all students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 is now firmly established on the Australian educational landscape. Australian legislation and policies promote inclusive assessments for all; however, in relation to NAPLAN, almost 5% of students, many of whom have disabilities, are either exempt or withdrawn. Those students with disabilities that are assessed are provided only basic testing accommodations under special considerations, and the achievement levels of these students are not accurately benchmarked. Lessons from experiences in the United States can assist in the development of a more effective and inclusive assessment regime. A range of strategies, including testing accommodations and modifications, needs to be applied to ensure access to NAPLAN assessment for all students.

Corresponding author
Correspondence: Dr Michael Davies, Educational and Professional Studies, Arts, Education, and Law Group, Mt Gravatt Campus, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S.F. Albrecht , & C. Joles (2003). Accountability and access to opportunity: Mutually exclusive tenets under a high-stakes testing mandate. Preventing School Failure, 47, 8691. doi:10.1080/10459880309604435

J.J. Cumming (2009b). Assessment challenges, the law and the future. In C. Wyatt-Smith & J.J. Cumming (Eds.), Educational assessment in the 21st century: Connecting theory and practice (pp. 157179). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer International. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-9964-9_9

M. Davies , & I. Dempsey (2011). Australian policies to support inclusive assessments. In S.N. Elliott , R.J. Kettler , P.A. Beddow , & A. Kurz (Eds.), Handbook of accessible achievement tests for all students: Bridging the gaps between research, practice, and policy (pp. 8398). New York, NY: Springer.

S.H. Defur (2002). Education reform, high-stakes assessment, and students with disabilities: One state's approach. Remedial and Special Education, 23, 203211. doi:10.1177/07419325020230040301

I. Dempsey (2004). Recent changes in the proportion of students identified with a disability in Australian schools. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 29, 172175. doi:10.1080/13668250410001709511

I. Dempsey (2007). Trends in the placement of students in segregated settings in NSW government schools. Australasian Journal of Special Education, 31, 7378. doi:10.1080/10300110701338710

I. Dempsey , & R. Conway (2004). Test accommodations and alternative assessment for students with a disability in Australia. Australasian Journal of Special Education, 28, 516. doi:10.1080/1030011040280202

I. Dempsey , & R. Conway (2005). Educational accountability and students with a disability in Australia. Australian Journal of Education, 49, 152168.

S.N. Elliott , M. Davies , & R.J. Kettler (2012). Australian students with disabilities accessing NAPLAN: Lessons from a decade of inclusive assessment in the United States. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 59, 719. doi:10.1080/1034912X.2012.654934

A. Katsiyannis , D. Zhang , J.B. Ryan , & J. Jones (2007). High-stakes testing and students with disabilities: Challenges and promises. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 18, 160167.

R.J. Kettler , S.N. Elliott , M. Davies , & P. Griffin (2012). Testing a multi-stage screening system: Predicting performance on Australia's national achievement test using teachers’ ratings of academic and social behaviors. School Psychology International, 33, 93111. doi:10.1177/0143034311403036

M.L. Thurlow , S.S. Lazarus , S.J. Thompson , & A.B. Morse (2005). State policies on assessment participation and accommodations for students with disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 38, 232240. doi:10.1177/00224669050380040401

S.C. Weigert (2011). U.S. policies supporting inclusive assessments for students with disabilities. In S.N. Elliott , R.J. Kettler , P.A. Beddow , & A. Kurz (Eds.), Handbook of accessible achievement tests for all students: Bridging the gaps between research, practice, and policy (pp. 1932). New York, NY: Springer.

J. Ysseldyke , J.R. Nelson , S. Christenson , D.R. Johnson , A. Dennison , H. Triezenberg , . . . M. Hawes (2004). What we know and need to know about the consequences of high stakes testing for students with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 71, 7594.

N. Zigmond , A. Kloo , & C.J. Lemons (2011). IEP decision-making for more inclusive assessments: Policies, percentages and personal decisions. In S.N. Elliott , R.J. Kettler , P.A. Beddow , & A. Kurz (Eds.), Accessible tests of students’ achievement: Issues, innovations, and applications (pp. 6981). New York, NY: Springer.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Australasian Journal of Special Education
  • ISSN: 1030-0112
  • EISSN: 1833-6914
  • URL: /core/journals/australasian-journal-of-special-education
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 20
Total number of PDF views: 121 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 328 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.