Writing skills fall behind
AUSTRALIA faces an emerging crisis in students’ writing skills with NAPLAN results showing scores have plummeted over the past six years.
Despite advances in reading, spelling, grammar and numeracy, children have gone backwards in writing since 2011, data from the latest testing shows.
This year, 16.5 per cent of Year 9 students nationwide performed below the benchmark in writing, compared with 2.8 per cent in 2011 when the same students were in Year 3.
“Somehow we dropped the ball for thousands of those kids as they progressed through school,” Associate Professor Misty Adoniou from the University of Canberra said.
“Not only are the numbers of low-performing students increasing, but the inverse is occurring for our high-achieving students – their numbers decrease as they move through school.”
Data shows that students’ results take a dramatic turn for the worse in Year 7 – the first year of high school – with a fivefold increase in children below the benchmark and a threefold decrease in those who are far above the benchmark. Prof Adoniou said many students were unable to write engaging stories or persuasive arguments.
“They write like they speak … they can’t use vocabulary and grammar in literate ways,” she said.
“They don’t read enough literate language – you can only write as well as you can read.”