Preliminary NAPLAN results reported in August have been confirmed, with the National Assessment Program releasing its 2015 National Report yesterday.
Stability is the key message we can draw from the results. Relative to 2008 and 2014, student achievement has remained steady with some areas of improvement. There are also some areas that have seen student achievement decrease.
The biggest increases in student achievement were seen in the primary year groups with Year 3 reading, persuasive writing, and grammar and punctuation producing increases. Year 5 spelling and numeracy results are also on the rise.
The only downfall in student achievement was seen in the secondary years, with statistically significant decreases in Years 7 and 9 persuasive writing relative to 2011.
No doubt the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) would have been looking for greater increases in results from the report than these given the importance that has been placed on education in numeracy and literacy in recent years.
What is clear is that there is a definite need to focus on the reading skills of teenagers. Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership chair John Hattie has said that most teachers cease teaching reading when students reach 8 years of age. Students that are behind at this point will continue to fall behind and will suffer in their teenage years. Obviously, this is something that will need to be addressed.
What we can take away from the results – in a more positive sense – is how we can build upon the gains across the learning areas. We are seeing fantastic improvement in many areas of learning across the primary years and that is definitely something that we can be proud of as a nation.