Release type: Joint Media Release


Encouraging results from NAPLAN 2021 national report


The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Acting Minister for Education and Youth
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education

The release of the 2021 NAPLAN results has confirmed there was no drop in student performance between 2019 and 2021 at a national and state/territory level.

More than one million students across more than 9,000 schools participated in NAPLAN in May this year, following last year’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert, said it was encouraging that results had generally remained consistent with results from the last cycle in 2019.

‘It is heartening to see that overall NAPLAN results have remained stable with no changes in subject area, year level or jurisdiction,’ Minister Robert said.

‘We can see that female students have outperformed male students in reading and writing, while male students continue to outperform female students in numeracy. Over the past six years, the gap in numeracy has generally been widening, except in Year 9 where the gap is stable.

‘Overall, the national report reaffirmed the preliminary findings that the COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions to schooling had no statistically significant impact on students’ literacy and numeracy achievement in NAPLAN at the national or state/territory level.’

Minister for Regional Education, Bridget McKenzie, said that sadly there continues to be a gap in performance between city and regional students, addressing this is a key priority for the Liberal and Nationals Government.

‘We know that as geographical remoteness increases, student performance decreases in key areas like numeracy and reading.This is why we have appointed The Hon Fiona Nash as the inaugural Regional Education Commissioner, who will be a powerful advocate for regional schools and their students.

‘The role of the Commissioner will bring a national focus to this issue and Fiona will work across education sectors, jurisdictions and communities to champion regional, rural and remote education to support the success of our students,’ Minister McKenzie said.

Early indications from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) suggest that the gap between high and low socio-educational groups widened between 2019 and 2021.

Further analysis is being conducted to determine whether this can be attributed to the impact of the pandemic or if it is part of a longer-term national trend unrelated to COVID. ACARA’s analysis is expected in early 2022.

The full report can be found on the National Assessment Program website: