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School test shows some students being left behind

Sunday, 6th January, 2013

By Emily Roberts

The recent NAPLAN National Report provided more evidence of the need for a new, fairer school funding system, according to the federal government.

School Education Minister, Peter Garrett, said the results showed that students were making progress in a number of areas, and more than 92 per cent were meeting national minimum standards, but too many disadvantaged students were still being left behind.

“The report gives more detail on initial results released in September, and tells us that more needs to be done to help Indigenous kids do better at school, and that we need to focus more on maths in Years 3 and 7,” Mr Garrett said.

“Coming a week after the disappointing results in the latest international tests in reading, science and maths, taken in late 2010, the report shows we have made improvements in some areas but there is still a lot of work ahead.”

The President of the Barrier Teachers Association, Maureen Clark, said she agreed with Mr Garrett.

“It is good to see that the Federal government is finally doing something about this after the Howard government delivered 11 very lean years for public school funding nationally,” Mrs Clark said.

“A lack of investment in education is always going to result in falling standards over time and that is why teachers are so concerned about the O’Farrell government’s slashing of the NSW state education budget by $1.7 billion.”

Mrs Clark said the fact that the NAPLAN results for 2012 showed an improvement from 2008 was heartening but closing of the gap between results for indigenous and non-indigenous students was not something that will happen quickly, especially the bush. 

“In fact, the findings in the NAPLAN report reinforce this,” she said. “That is, the lowest performing group of students were from very remote areas and that student results are linked to the parents’ education level. 

“In families and communities where education is valued, results will generally be higher.”

The results can always be improved, Mrs Clark said.

“Providing more time and resources for early childhood teaching would help by ensuring that the primary school curriculum is not overcrowded and that all children have access to pre-school education.

“Investing more in school support staff at all levels is a no-brainer but this will require Barry O’Farrell to rethink his budget cuts.”

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