Sunday, 16 August 2015

Bureau of Statistics take on NAPLAN data

With NAPLAN data finally being released to schools this week the ABS has some interesting observations to make.

Students with Australian-born parents have lower NAPLAN scores than those of migrants, and children perform better in the tests if they come from a small family and were born when their mother was in her 30s.

For the first time, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has linked national literacy and numeracy results, public school enrolments and Census data to investigate how socioeconomic factors relate to educational disadvantage.

"Students who score below this standard are at risk of being unable to progress satisfactorily at school without targeted intervention," the experimental analysis said.
Girls in Queensland were substantially less likely than boys to score below the minimum standard in reading and writing, but boys and girls had similar results in numeracy.
The report found that as the number of children in a family increased, NAPLAN scores were more likely to be below the national minimum standard in reading, writing and numeracy, but students from a one-child family performed slightly worse than two-children families.

The chief executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Geoff Masters, said the socioeconomic background of students in Australia still mattered too much.

"We know schools in Australia are becoming more different not more similar," Professor Masters said.

"There are some countries that have gone in the opposite direction, they have managed not only to lift their level of performance nationally but they have managed to reduce the impact of socioeconomic background on their national results.

"What we should be doing is to minimise the impact of children's background on the quality of schooling that they receive and then on the outcomes."

Professor Masters said Australia should be worried about its stagnating NAPLAN results, which have showed little improvement in the seven years since the tests were introduced.

"It has been a pretty steady consistent decline in the performance of 15-year-olds in literacy and numeracy and that should be a concern because in a number of other countries standards are improving and I think we are the only relatively high performing country that is going backwards," Professor Masters said.

"I don't think we can keep doing what we have been doing and expect to see a big improvement in literacy and numeracy."

The report also found that children in major cities in Queensland scored more highly for reading than those who lived in regional areas and students with an internet connection at home had considerably better NAPLAN scores than those without internet, regardless of their remoteness. 

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Victorian pre-schoolers will be banned from attending child care or kindergarten unless they are vaccinated, under new 'no jab, no play' laws to be introduced by the State Government.

The new laws will be introduced within weeks and will come into effect on January 1.

"Vaccinations save lives," Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.

"We are getting tough on this issue because it's important that we start addressing things like a significant increase in whooping cough.

"We know the spread of things like measles is becoming more virulent."

Meanwhile school funding in Tasmania shows clearly the disparity in resources and student teacher ratios particularly in secondary schools. LNP funding cuts to state education are a disgrace.Gonski is needed.

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