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Australian Students Poor on World Scale?

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#1 CherryAmes

Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:51 AM

Just had a look at this article:


Australian year four students’ reading skills rank 27th internationally and nearly one in four students have substantial literacy problems, according to a surprising new study that illustrates how difficult it will be for the federal government to lift the school system into the top five globally.

A separate study rating the maths and science performance of primary school students also shows Australia performing badly. Year four students ranked 18th and 25th in the world, respectively.

“To say the results are disappointing is an understatement,” said Geoff Masters, chief executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research, which performed the testing in Australia.

It is the first time Australian primary school students’ reading skills have been benchmarked internationally. The ranking is significantly worse than Australian high school students’ reading levels.

It's interesting that the high school students' results weren't nearly so poor - what has changed, I wonder?

#2 BadCat

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:01 PM

In my recent experience the difference in high school is that kids who are willing to put in the effort are less hampered by kids who prefer to play with their phones in class.  Streaming of classes in high school allows the more dedicated students to move on to the more advanced things because they aren't held back while the kids who are utterly disinterested are forced into some semblance of understanding.

We need to stream in primary school to allow kids to move on instead of twiddle their thumbs while others catch up.

#3 katpaws

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:11 PM

It is an issue in the USA - many students leave high school without the skills needed for university and I would say that this is also occuring in Australia as well.

Why? Maybe with expecting students to be self-regulated learners we do not give children and young people the skills to become self-regulated and independent learners. ANd i don't mean showing them how to use a computer. We have to teach children in a way that promotes cognitive development.

I am so worried about my daughter's lack of knowledge on science, history etc that i will be home tutoring her using the primary school standards basics.

Yesterday I had to show DD (nine) how to address a letter and envelope - something i learned at a much younger age as part of my education at school.

I have great concern over the direction for higher education in Australia.

Edited by katpaws, 12 December 2012 - 12:12 PM.

#4 Frazzled Cat

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:23 PM

I would say a fair amount of the problem occurs because parents do not band together WITH teachers to educate their children.

Their are so many basics teachers end up having to teach most children that should have been covered by parents just as basic growing-up learning.

#5 Crafty Lemur

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

QUOTE (katpaws @ 12/12/2012, 01:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yesterday I had to show DD (nine) how to address a letter and envelope - something i learned at a much younger age as part of my education at school.

Wouldn't this be a basic life skill taught at home?  Although I imagine a skill rarely used for most people these days.

in terms of the Australian results there did seem to be real differences between states so although it is not great overall it might not reflect on the school your child attends or the child themselves.

ETA I imagine the Asian countries at the top of the list would expect far more from younger children and would value education above most other things? This surely would reflect in the results?

Edited by amoral lemur, 12 December 2012 - 12:31 PM.

#6 katpaws

Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

Wouldn't this be a basic life skill taught at home?

I learned it at school, and more information in letter writing etc was given to me at TAFE (communication studies) - secondary school no education on writing letters (ie for jobs etc). It was part of learning how to write communications to others, something that i do expect my DD's school to do. I had a crap education and it saddens me to see that DD does not appear to be given that level of education.

I am pretty up to date with what is being learned in secondary schools at the moment and how that relates to higher education - and I don't think we are doing well as a nation in that area.

#7 *LucyE*

Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:25 PM

I take these rankings with a grain of salt. I didn't read the link but assume its the same as what was on the radio this morning.

The rankings are usually done based on test results. For all the uproar about NAPLAN testing, it is surprising that people don't accept that test results are a snap shot of performance on a particular day and doesn't always accurately reflect actual knowledge or understanding.

Some countries have education systems that favours good test performances. In Australia, we are leaning towards using a mixture of work to assess a child's ability. Traditional tests are not weighted as strongly. This allows those who don't perform well in tests to have a decent opportunity to demonstrate their ability. It also means that (hopefully) less teaching time is spent teaching to the test.

As for letter addressing skills, I do that at home with my children for birthday cards, invitations and Christmas cards. I guess I start around age 4. In high school I would expect some more in detailed 'teaching' but not in primary school.

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