You have to work hard to find a positive for the Northern Territory out of the preliminary results for NAPLAN – National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy – released on Friday. New Education Minister Robyn Lambley did, pointing to the percentage rate of improvement in the proportion of students at or above the National Minimum Standard in the Territory being stronger than in other jurisdictions. However, Mrs Lambley described the gains since 2011 as "marginal" and acknowledged that the Territory still has "the nation's poorest education outcomes", while longtime educator Ralph Folds says the results should be considered in the context of the extensive additonal investment made in education, particularly in Indigenous schooling. In that light they are "disappointing". KIERAN FINNANE reports.