NAPLAN plan for new­bies

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - BRUCE MACDOUGALL

CHIL­DREN in early pri­mary school face manda­tory lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy tests and screen­ing to en­sure they are taught phon­ics un­der a na­tional plan to stop the de­cline in per­for­mance.

The lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy checks will be car­ried out on every Year One stu­dent in Aus­tralia fol­low­ing na­tional test re­sults that re­veal onein-20 stu­dents fails to reach min­i­mum stan­dards for read­ing and maths.

Re­searchers said the fail­ure to achieve in the early school years flowed through to adult­hood, with up to 20 per cent hav­ing prob­lems with nu­mer­acy later in life.

A panel of teach­ers and ed­u­ca­tion ex­perts found the most ef­fec­tive phon­ics in­struc­tion meth­ods were not be­ing used by teach­ers rou­tinely in Aus­tralian class­rooms.

The panel headed by Dr Jen­nifer Buck­ing­ham has rec­om­mended Aus­tralia adopt a phon­ics check used in the UK that has been found to boost stu­dents’ re­sults.

Fed­eral Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Si­mon Birm­ing­ham, who will present the panel’s land­mark re­port to a meet­ing of the Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil today, said an “over­whelm­ing case” had been made for lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy checks for all Aus­tralian school­child­ren.

“We have seen na­tional and in­ter­na­tional tests that highlight while Aus­tralia has an ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, our re­sults have stag­nated or even de­clined in some cases,” Sen­a­tor Birm­ing­ham said.

“This re­port plainly high­lights the need for ac­tion.

“The ev­i­dence is clear that phon­ics and nu­mer­acy checks will boost out­comes for Aus­tralian stu­dents.

“The idea be­hind these checks is to en­sure stu­dents don’t slip through the cracks.”

He said talks with state and ter­ri­tory min­is­ters and ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties would flesh out how the screen­ing pro­gram would be rolled out.

Queens­land Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Kate Jones has ar­gued that the state al­ready teaches and as­sesses phon­ics from Prep to Year 2.

The re­port called for a na­tional ap­proach and said the ex­ist­ing ap­proach in Queens­land had “lim­ited use­ful­ness”.

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