Canberra students have again performed well in NAPLAN but did not dominate the ranks of the nation's top performers, as the ACT led the transition to online testing.
Unadjusted for socioeconomic advantage, the ACT's latest results sit above the national average in almost every year group and discipline tested.
Only spelling for both year 3 and 5 students fell below, while across the board, Canberra students topped the country in reading.
Released on Monday, the 2018 national report card revealed ACT students achieved top marks in 11 of the 20 test domains, and fewer students on average were below the minimum standard.
But, despite the capital's relative advantage, students were not well represented in the highest performance rankings.
In 14 of the 20 domains, the ACT fell below the national average for students reaching NAPLAN's top performance bands.
Canberra year 9 students topped the nation for reading, writing, spelling and numeracy yet fell below average for the number of high performers in all areas tested, save writing.
Scores adjusted according to socioeconomic advantage have not yet been released. But among students whose parents hold bachelor degrees, the number of ACT students scoring in the top bands slid even further down the scale compared to other jurisdictions.
The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority said results were comparable across jurisdictions, including for band performance, despite different uptakes in the roll-out of online testing last year.
The new online assessment is adaptive, throwing questions at students based on their responses and therefore offering more precise results. For students doing well, it can be harder to reach the very top bands as the assessment doles out more difficult questions than those on the paper test.
Ninety-three per cent of ACT students sat the test online in 2018, compared to just 15 per cent nation-wide. Western Australia saw the second highest uptake at 32 per cent of students.
"While in general there is caution about making comparisons while transitioning to online testing occurs at different rates, comparability at the jurisdictional level is sound," an ACT education directorate spokeswoman said.
Work is also underway between ACARA and the territory to refine the way socioeconomic advantage is calculated, amid concerns Canberra's unique social spread could be skewing the data.
Nationally, the report found indigenous students had improved at twice the rate of their peers' over the past decade of NAPLAN testing, though this growth was still not fast enough to close the education gap before the next century.
This month, an ACT parliamentary committee called for a public inquiry into the underperformance of Canberra schools in NAPLAN testing, after a string of independent reports found students were lagging behind those from similar socioeconomic backgrounds interstate.
The Grattan Institute and researchers at the Australian National University have also warned of relative underperformance amongst Canberra's high achievers.
But Education Minister Yvette Berry has dismissed the idea of an inquiry, saying there's more to measuring education than a point in time assessment.
"The government has acknowledged for a long time the need to support academic achievement in schools," she said.
"[It] has been interrogating the issues and seeking out and acting on good advice and evidence as it becomes available."
In 2017, the directorate began rolling out new training and educational programs targeting literacy and numeracy. Professional learning communities are also being set up in schools where teachers can come together to test and measure the effectiveness of classroom interventions.
Last year, the ACT pushed through a national review into the publication of NAPLAN results on the My School website, amid concerns that the "league-tabling" of schools was creating undue pressure on teachers and students. The review is due to report back in June to the education council, which has already approved this year's presentation of data.
More 2018 results relating to learning gain will be released on Wednesday.