NAPLAN final results confirm our fears

The 2017 NAPLAN final results for South Australia confirm the fears raised by the Opposition when the preliminary results were released earlier this year: Labor has failed our school children, leaving them at the back of the class compared to other states.

These results follow last week’s news that showed poor results for Year 4 students in the Progress in International in Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).

“The Weatherill Labor Government has led an education system which has returned NAPLAN scores below the national average in every category, and we are last or second last in more categories than every other state. It’s not good enough,” said Shadow Minister for Education John Gardner.

“These results ring particularly strong alarm bells for the status of boys’ education – with male achievement among SA students being outstripped by female achievement in every category.

“Of most urgent concern, 29.8 per cent of Year 9 boys did not reach the national minimum standard in writing (compared to 15 per cent of girls), with results not much better in Grammar (18.3 per cent), Spelling (15 per cent) and Reading (13.9 per cent). Writing was also a serious concern at Year 7 level where 17.2 per cent of boys – nearly one in five – failed to reach the national minimum standard, compared with 7.8 per cent of girls.

“This is an issue across Australia, but we’re struggling more than most. We need to urgently look at those schools where boys are doing better, so that their best practices can be shared across SA.

“There have also been no improvements in the secondary years from previous NAPLAN results. All of this points to the need for the Liberal Party’s Literacy Guarantee – a package of policy measures announced earlier this year that will modernise and improve our education system,” said Mr Gardner.

Some of the key measures in Steven Marshall’s Literacy Guarantee include:
- New literacy coaches with expertise in phonics and teaching students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties, to provide direct coaching to teachers seeking to improve their skills;
- The roll-out of the Year 1 phonics check (currently being trialled) to all schools in SA;
- Free dyslexia workshops for parents, including regional centres not currently serviced;
- Literacy and numeracy tests of any new teaching graduates employed in SA public schools;
- Measuring our achievement on the NAPLAN by proficiency standards, rather than the current national minimum standards which set expectations too low; and
- Breakfast programs available for all schools that need them.

In addition, the Liberal Party has also committed to move Year 7 into High School as designed in the national curriculum, where students can benefit from specialist subject teachers.

“The latest NAPLAN results show that there needs to be a change of government and a change of direction in the education portfolio.”