Writ­ing skills fall be­hind

The Weekend Post - - Nation -

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.”

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