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National writing test scores plunge to new low


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Students have recorded the lowest ever scores since NAPLAN testing began – and the alarming slide has experts calling for urgent classroom reforms.  

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) are a series of basic skills tests given each year to Australian children.

A third of Year Seven students are still learning to read and almost half of 15-year-olds need help constructing sentences, according to this year’s test scores.

A staggering 20 per cent of Year Nine students in New South Wales failed the writing test, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Students have recorded the lowest ever scores since NAPLAN testing began – and the alarming slide has experts calling for urgent classroom reforms (stock image)

About 40 per cent of Year Nine students across the state need help from a teacher in putting a sentence together as they only just met the minimum standards for writing.

The performance of NSW students has been getting worse since 2011.

Writing results in Year Five and Year Seven were also below those when testing began.

Students who are unable to reach minimum standards – 22 per cent in NSW – may require ‘additional assistance’ from teachers, according to the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority.

Pete Goss of the think tank Grattan Institute said the results were disappointing, and added schools should be focusing strongly on teaching students how to write well.

‘National benchmarks are not set very high and that’s just not good enough,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

‘In a typical to slightly disadvantaged secondary school, one-third of Year Seven students are still learning to read, they’re reading at a Year Three or Four level,’ he said.

University of Technology Sydney education professor Rosemary Johnston said the poor results were due to a lack of practice.

About 40 per cent of Year Nine students across the state need help from a teacher in putting a sentence together as they only just met the minimum standards for writing (stock image)

About 40 per cent of Year Nine students across the state need help from a teacher in putting a sentence together as they only just met the minimum standards for writing (stock image)

‘I don’t think it matters if it is handwriting or written on a computer, we need children to read more and to write more, otherwise it is a skill that is going to be lost,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.

Students are given a picture or phrase in NAPLAN tests and are asked to write a ‘persuasive or narrative’ text in 40 minutes, which is then marked against ten criteria including vocabulary, spelling and sentence structure.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes defended the state’s results, saying it performed above the national average when numeracy and reading were included.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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