Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students

Prior to graduation, all initial teacher education students are expected to sit the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students (the test) to demonstrate that they have been assessed as being in the top 30 per cent of the adult population for personal literacy and numeracy. The test is an online assessment that examines aspects of an individual’s personal literacy and numeracy skills. 

Between 2016 and 2018, over 59,000 individuals have attempted one or both components of the test.

The table below shows the number of new candidates attempting each component of the test one or more times and the percentage meeting the standard each year.




Total test candidates

% met the standard

Total test candidates

% met the standard

2016 first time candidates





2017 first time candidates





2018 first time candidates





The requirement that all initial teacher education students possess personal literacy and numeracy skills in the top 30 per cent of the adult population has been in place since 2011 when the Accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures were agreed. In 2015 all education ministers agreed that from 1 July 2016 the test would be used as the means to demonstrate students have achieved this standard.

The test standard of literacy and numeracy achievement equivalent to the top 30 per cent of the Australian adult population was empirically validated in 2017 with reference to the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. The test has been developed with reference to the Australian Core Skills Framework, the key measure for the Australian Government’s Skills for Education and Employment Programme. The test has been created in consultation with teacher educators from the higher education sector and represents literacy and numeracy tasks and contexts that can reasonably be expected to be within the professional experience of teachers. 

Any initial teacher education student undertaking a qualification that enables them to gain registration to teach in a school setting is expected to meet the standard of the test prior to graduation. Some states and territories have also made a successful result in the test a requirement for registration or employment as a teacher.

The test is comprised of two components, a literacy component and a numeracy component. Each component of the test consists of 65 questions, for a total of 130 test questions. The standard resit allowance affords students up to three opportunities to demonstrate that they meet the standard in each component (literacy and numeracy) of the test. Students should discuss options with their higher education provider if they do not meet the standard after three attempts.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is the test administrator and is responsible for delivering the test in selected testing centres and through an invigilated online environment (remote proctoring).

The test is available in set windows throughout the year. Key dates for the test windows, and the locations in which the test is offered in each window, are published on the ACER website. 

Students are required to register to sit the test on the ACER website and pay the test fee at the time of registration. The test fee is $98 per component, or $196 for both components.

More information about the test is available in the Questions and Answers and on the ACER website. Practice questions are available on the ACER website, as well as a Described Proficiency Scale which describes the skills assessed by the test and how candidates’ achievement of the standard required by the test is determined.

After reading the Questions and Answers, if you have further queries please email ACER can be contacted at for test administration issues including concerns about registration and sitting the test.