Education Minister calls for Year 1 literacy and numeracy tests
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Education Minister calls for Year 1 literacy and numeracy tests

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Testing Year 1 students for basic literacy and numeracy skills may help to discover children who need extra help and improve long-term educational results,

Federal Government Education Minister Simon Birmingham has said.

This means that all Year 1 students may soon be tested on their reading and maths two years before sitting the NAPLAN test.

On Monday, a report was released from the government’s commissioned expert panel, recommending a national test for Year 1 students.

In an interview with Channel Nine, Minister Birmingham said one in 20 children are not meeting the minimum literacy standards or skill sets when they get to Year 1.

“This is not a test, this is a in-school, in-classroom skills check that won’t be publicly reported or anything like that that relates to NAPLAN, but will give teachers, principals and parents a consistent platform to say: is my child, is my student actually meeting the type of standards we would expect after around 18 months or so at school?,” Minister Birmingham said.

Minister Birmingham said the tests could consist of a school teacher providing a one-on-one format with a list of words and sounds and numbers that a child would read back to the teacher.

“It’s actually really very simple, it’s the type of thing that many schools of course already do but we are wanting to make sure that in every school in every classroom every child gets the chance to be proven as meeting the type of standards of learning you’d expect. so they’ve got those foundational building blocks of literacy and numeracy upon which so much of the rest of their schooling success depends.”

He said schools could then make sure they’re using government funding and support to tailor their teaching.

But Queensland Government Education Minister Kate Jones slammed the proposal, arguing the Minister had failed to garner support from the states and territories at a meeting in Adelaide last week, which discussed the Federal Government’s proposed test.

“No parent wants more exams for their children,” she said.

“Queensland schools already assess students’ readiness for school and their progress through Prep and Year One.

“We know from Queensland NAPLAN results that children in the early years are better prepared for school than ever.”

Ms Jones said the Gonski panel had given state, independent and Catholic education sectors only one month to give feedback on their terms of reference.

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