Compulsory testing considered by Education Minister

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Compulsory testing considered by Education Minister

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Mandatory phonics, maths, and literacy testing for Year One students is being considered by the federal government.

It comes after reports last year which showed a drop in Australia’s international rankings for education performance, ABC News reported.

One of the reports – the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), illustrated a fall in international ranks for maths and science subjects for Australian Year 4 and 8 students.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC News the compulsory tests would not be “confronting”, but an assessment that allows parents, teachers and students to ascertain if early intervention is required.

“This is about identifying where there are younger students developing their literacy and numeracy skills effectively and appropriately, and if they’re not, ensuring that early interventions can take place so that they don’t fall further and further behind,” he said.

But the Labor Party and Australian Education Union told ABC News Gonski funding commitments is the best way to improve educational outcomes.

“Schools don’t need another national test to work out which children need help … they need the resources to cater for those children,” said Coreena Haythorpe, Australian Education Union president.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told ABC News Australia is slightly below average in the area of funding for schools, and less than 10 per cent of extra needs-based funding has been delivered.

“You can’t fix what’s going wrong in Australian schools when you cut $30 billion from our schools,” she said.

“It’s the equivalent of cutting one in seven teachers — it means less one-on-one attention for our kids, less focus on the basics.”

A terms of reference document about the Year One testing said the expert panel will work on its development and implementation, and report to the Education Minister by the end of April.

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