NAPLAN results reveal 'worrying' reading and writing scores

Published: 13 December 2017 Image credit: ACARA

Detailed NAPLAN results released today

Reports released today showing in-depth results from the 2017 NAPLAN tests should be a “warning signal” to schools and the government, according to Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

Mr Birmingham said the results were a ‘mixed-bag,’ with reading and writing scores flatlining and declining respectively, while scores have improved overall for students from Indigenous and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The Education Minister said the results should be a “wake-up call that some changes are required.”

“While there have been pockets of improvement, we’re not seeing the sort of consistency we should expect in these results.”

He said the proportion of students who achieve the National Minimum Standard has fallen from 93 percent to 92.6 percent in the last year.

Writing scores were among the worst across the spectrum – Year 9 boys were revealed to be particularly struggling, with nearly 25 percent not meeting the national minimum standard for writing.

Mr Birmingham said another serious concern came from a second report released today from the 2016 National Assessment Program (NAP)- Civics and Citizenship, which measures student understanding of Australian government, institutions, historical and current governance and Australian identity and culture.

From those results, the most concerning were among Year 10 students, with scores declining to 38 percent.

Mr Birmingham called the results ‘woeful.’

“They are a stark reminder of the need to ensure our schools are giving students the opportunity and support to learn and expand their knowledge base across the entire spectrum of the curriculum,” he said.

However, some positive results have come out of the report.

Indigenous students showed the highest levels of improvements with statistically significant gains since 2008 in reading, spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy among different year groups.

Students with language backgrounds other than English (LBOTE) also had statistical gains across the different tests.

LBOTE students also performed better in spelling than non-LBOTE students.

“Across the country we have passionate educators that I know work hard to give Australian students the best start,” Mr Birmingham said.

“The gains for some of Australia’s most vulnerable students like those from Indigenous backgrounds and those with non-English speaking backgrounds are a testament to the work of those teachers.”

Minister Birmingham said he would be calling on states and territories to address the issues in a “joint strategy to lift student performance.”

“With the Turnbull Government locking in needs-based schools funding and injecting an extra $25.3 billion, the focus needs to shift to how this record funding is translated into better results in the classroom,” he said.

He also encouraged families and schools to work together and said it was important that parents read with their children from a young age, to develop basic literacy skills.

One million students from across Australia in grades 3,5,7 and 9, sat the NAPLAN tests in May.