Menu

Concern as student writing skills decline

Writing skills among students are declining, according to a study.

Writing skills among students are declining, according to a study.

The federal education minister has vowed to take action as new figures show writing skills among school students are going backwards.

Simon Birmingham says he will hold talks with his state and territory counterparts to discuss how to turn the worrying trend around following concerning results from NAPLAN literacy and numeracy tests.

The results from May’s tests, released on Wednesday, point to gains across the board in reading and numeracy since 2008, but results for writing have dropped since 2011.

Senator Birmingham said Australia had a high performing education system by world standards but reforms were needed to ensure it kept up.

“It is a worry that writing skills in our children appear to be going backwards,” he told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

“That’s why we have to not just focus on needs-based funding, but also making sure we get maximum bang for our buck in terms of investment.

“
The results show gradual growth over the past decade in the number of students performing at the top end, particularly among reading results for Year 3 students.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority says the same trend is evident in other areas although it is not always enough to lift national averages.

“What the 10-year data indicates is that change is happening … and this is to be welcomed,” chief executive Robert Randall said.

“If this improvement can be replicated across more domains, years and states, then a lift in average results nationally will be seen.”

Senator Birmingham said Australia needed to look at what could be learned from high-achieving schools and how that could be applied in other schools.

The government has commissioned businessman David Gonski to lead a review looking at just that, to report early next year.

Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek laid blame with Senator Birmingham’s predecessor Christopher Pyne, for scrapping Labor’s conditions to make schools use extra funding to drive improved achievement.
Labor’s targets included getting Australia into the top five countries in the world for reading, maths and science, lifting teaching quality, and giving principals more power.

Mr Randall said the discussion needed to focus on how to replicate what was happening in top-performing schools.

“We can find cases where schools are doing tremendous things because that’s where the difference is made, at the school level,” he told ABC TV.

“We do need to pick up on those and say if it’s working well in these schools, why can’t it work well across a whole range of schools? That’s the nature of the discussion we need to focus on.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Vast Ballina and Falls Festival