This paper will present findings from a research project specifically focussed on the NAPLAN performance of students who have a Language Background Other than English (LBOTE), and who are also in the process of developing their academic English language skills. Data related to educational and language background, and English language level as measured by ESL bandscales, were collected from a number of students across metropolitan schools in Queensland Australia, to analyse whether English language level, and educational and language history were factors which impacted on NAPLaN test performance. This research was in response to LBOTE performance results in all NAPLaN tests to date, suggesting that, at a national level, LBOTE are performing as well as non LBOTE students on some categories of the test. Such results imply that the category is homogenous and that the performance of LBOTE students generally is inconsequential to the reform movement targeting inequity in schooling. The variance in the LBOTE category, greater than that of non-LBOTE, is well hidden in these results, and it is hoped that this paper will provide some insight into the interplay of language and education factors which are currently not explored at state or national level, in any systemic way, to ensure that language, as an essential precursor to literacy, for language learners, is not lost in the education reform agenda in Australia.