Aussie Education Policy Not Adding Up: OECD Where once Australia kept up with South Korea, it is now streaking ahead on tests that compare the academic ability of 15-year-olds around the world.
In a typical Australian classroom, the gap between the achievement of students at the top of the class and those at the bottom is more than seven years.
Ccomputer skills are lagging behind decade-old benchmarks, and fewer Australian pupils are taking maths than ever before.
So steep has the nation’s education slide become that Australia was singled out for its declining performance on the world stage in Dubai last week.
“[The decline] is very significant this round and I think it’s really something you have think about,” Andreas Schleicher said.
He is the education chief of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD), widely regarded as the most influential education figure on the planet. Between debates with Tony Blair and messages from the Pope at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, Mr Schleicher slammed Australia over its declining results in international student assessments (PISA).
This is before the most recent set of PISA results are due to be released later this year. Where once Australia kept up with South Korea, It is now streaking ahead on tests that compare the academic ability of 15-year-olds around the world. Students from Poland and Vietnam are now outperforming Australia’s teenagers.
If Australia’s results were to match South Korea’s by the end of this century the Australian economy would be AU$4.7trillion (F$7.42tn) better off, says the OECD. A new report from the Grattan Institute gave Australia’s educators plenty more to think about. Amid declining standards in a global context, Australia’s own domestic assessment system was also found wanting. The report found many of the nation’s students were incapable of reaching benchmarks set by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. According to the Grattan Institute year nine students were meeting the national minimum standard even if they were actually achieving below the level of a typical Year Five student.
Australia must raise its sights,” says the report’s author Peter Goss. “The bar we are setting with the [NAPLAN] national minimum standard is just too low. If we set the bar too low, it is very hard to aim high.” The warning signs have been there for over a decade. Australia’s PISA results have been on the slide since 2003. NAPLAN tests have shown the writing ability of Australia’s students has not improved since 2008. All the while the computer literacy of the nation’s students has reached a crisis point. The 2015 results showed that in an area crucial to the nation’s future prosperity, only 55 per cent of 10,000 students tested by ACARA were considered IT proficient. The nation’s mathematical ability, drawing outcry from the academic and business communities.