The final year of national literacy and numeracy testing should move from Year 9 to Year 10, a major report has recommended.
The report received by education ministers on Friday also said the NAPLAN test should be brought forward from May to as early as possible in the year so results can be used more productively by schools and teachers.
And the test should move beyond literacy and numeracy to include a new assessment of critical and creative thinking in science and mathematics.
The review, conducted by Emeritus Professor Barry McGaw, Emeritus Professor Bill Louden, and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, called for a new test to be known as Australian National Standardised Assessments (ANSA).
NAPLAN testing did not proceed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The cancellation also meant testing of the expanded online NAPLAN platform didn't happen.
In 2019, the first widespread trial of NAPLAN online was plagued by technical issues, with many students unable to complete their tests first go.
Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the ACT commissioned the independent review in a bid to ensure it better met the needs of students, teachers and parents.
Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said the recommendations should be supported.
"The time is right for a new test," he said.
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said while the review acknowledged that standardised testing should remain, it needed to be improved.
"It is clear that the current NAPLAN testing is not world's best practice," Ms Grace said.
"Our classrooms have changed drastically in the past twelve years, but our standardised testing has not."
From 2008 to 2019, national NAPLAN results have revealed improvement in reading and numeracy in primary schools but not in secondary schools, static performance in writing in Years 3 and 5, and a decline in Years 7 and 9.
They have also revealed different patterns among the states and territories.
Queensland and Western Australia have improved more than the others, but they started behind the ACT, NSW and Victoria and have not surpassed them.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said NAPLAN was needed more than ever.
"The test itself is improving. The move to online testing will mean results are returned faster and can be interrogated at a more granular level to further improve our understanding of student and system performance," he said in a statement, after being briefed on the report.
"Getting all states and territories to transition to NAPLAN online remains our government's priority. Changing the name is not."
He said NAPLAN was not created to teach literacy and numeracy.
"If NAPLAN results have not improved that's a failure of our education system, not the NAPLAN test. You don't blame the thermometer if you have a high temperature."
Australian Associated Press