National Report on Schooling in Australia 2012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education

7.4 Literacy and numeracy

NAPLAN

National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests in reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy are conducted in May each year for students across Australia in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

The 2012 NAPLAN National Report shows results at national and state/territory levels by achievement levels and/or mean scores. Data are also presented by sex, Indigenous status, language background other than English, geolocation, parental education and parental occupation at each year level and for each domain of the test. NAPLAN results are reported at the school level on the My School website.

Further information on NAPLAN is available on the National Assessment Program website and in Part 5: Student achievement. This section of the report summarises information, at the national level, about the participation and results of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in NAPLAN 2012.

Key performance measures

The mean scale scores and proportion of students achieving at or above the national minimum standard in each domain and year level are specified as key performance measures (KPMs) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012.

NAPLAN participation

Key Performance Measure 1(c) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012 relates to NAPLAN participation rates. Table 7.7 reports this KPM by Indigenous status.

Key Performance Measure 1(c)

Table 7.7 Number and proportion of students participating in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 NAPLAN Reading, Persuasive Writing and Numeracy, by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012

Table 7.7 Number and proportion of students partic

Notes:

Participation rates are calculated as all assessed and exempt students as a percentage of the total number of students in the year level, as reported by schools, which includes those absent and withdrawn.

Students for whom ‘Indigenous status’ was not stated are not included in the data which are provided by Indigenous status.

Source: ACARA, National Assessment Program: Literacy and Numeracy – Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy, 2012


 
As with previous years, participation rates in NAPLAN in 2012 were lower for Indigenous students than for non-Indigenous students across all cohorts and key domains.

Further information on the participation rates of Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students in Reading, Writing and Numeracy, by Indigenous status, is available in the 2012 NAPLAN National Report.

Table 7.8 shows the national percentages by Indigenous status of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students whose results place them at or above the minimum standard for Reading and the mean scale scores for Reading, by Indigenous status.

Key Performance Measure 2(a)

Table 7.8 Achievement in Reading for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 at or above minimum standard and mean scale scores by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012

Table 7.8 Achievement in Reading for Years 3, 5, 7

Notes:

Exempt students were not assessed and are deemed not to have met the minimum standard.

CI = Confidence Interval
The percentages reported in this table include 95 per cent confidence intervals.

Confidence intervals should be used to compare data within 2012 only.

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2012; ACARA (unpublished)


 
In 2012, Reading achievement was the highest for Year 7 Indigenous students, with 75.4 per cent achieving at or above the national minimum standard, compared to the lowest achievement of 64.7 per cent for Year 5 Indigenous students.

Further information about student achievement in Reading, by Indigenous status, is available from the 2012 NAPLAN National Report.

Table 7.9 shows the national percentages by Indigenous status of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students whose results place them at or above the minimum standard for Writing and the mean scale scores for Writing, by Indigenous status.

Key Performance Measure 2(c)

Table 7.9 Achievement in Persuasive Writing for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 at or above minimum standard and mean scale scores by Indigenous status, Australia 2012

Table 7.9 Achievement in Persuasive Writing for Ye

Notes:

Exempt students were not assessed and are deemed not to have met the minimum standard.

CI = Confidence Interval
The percentages reported in this table include 95 per cent confidence intervals.

Confidence intervals should be used to compare data within 2012 only.

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2012; ACARA (unpublished)


 
The 2012 Writing outcome for Indigenous students was highest for Year 3 students (78.3 per cent achieving at or above the national minimum standard). The proportion of Year 9 students at or above the national minimum standard in Writing (48.8 per cent) was the lowest for all year levels in Writing. This was also the lowest percentage of Indigenous students at or above the national minimum standard across the three key domains in 2012.

Further information about student achievement in Writing, by Indigenous status, is available from the 2012 NAPLAN National Report.

Table 7.10 shows the national percentages by Indigenous status of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students whose results place them at or above the minimum standard for Numeracy and the mean scale scores for Numeracy, by Indigenous status.

Key Performance Measure 3(a)

Table 7.10 Achievement in Numeracy for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 at or above minimum standard and mean scale scores by Indigenous status, Australia 2012

Table 7.10 Achievement in Numeracy for Years 3, 5,

Notes:

Exempt students were not assessed and are deemed not to have met the minimum standard.

CI = Confidence Interval
The percentages reported in this table include 95 per cent confidence intervals.

Confidence intervals should be used to compare data within 2012 only.

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2012; ACARA (unpublished)


In 2012, Numeracy achievement was the highest for Year 7 Indigenous students, with 74.4 per cent achieving at or above the national minimum standard. Year 9 Indigenous students had a similar level of achievement with 74.2 per cent achieving at or above the national minimum standard. Year 5 Indigenous students obtained the lowest level of achievement in Numeracy, with 69.2 per cent achieving at or above the national minimum standard.

Further information about student achievement in Numeracy, by Indigenous status, is available from the 2012 NAPLAN National Report.

Closing the Gap

The targets for the Closing the Gap strategy are to halve the gap in Reading, Writing and Numeracy achievement between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students by 2018 and to increase Indigenous student participation rates in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

Figures 7.1 to 7.4 depict the gaps between the proportions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students achieving the minimum standards in each of the NAPLAN key domains in 2012. The number shown between the plot points for each domain is the percentage point difference or ‘gap’ between non-Indigenous and Indigenous achievement.

Figure 7.1 Achievement of Year 3 students at or above minimum standard, by NAPLAN key domains, by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012

Figure 7.1 Achievement of Year 3 students at or ab

Note: The number shown between the plot points for each domain is the percentage point difference or ‘gap’ between non-Indigenous and Indigenous achievement.

Source: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2012

Figure 7.2 Achievement of Year 5 students at or above minimum standard, by NAPLAN key domains, by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012

Figure 7.2 Achievement of Year 5 students at or ab

Note: The number shown between the plot points for each domain is the percentage point difference or ‘gap’ between non-Indigenous and Indigenous achievement.

Source: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2012

Figure 7.3 Achievement of Year 7 students at or above minimum standard, by NAPLAN key domains, by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012

Figure 7.3 Achievement of Year 7 students at or ab

Note: The number shown between the plot points for each domain is the percentage point difference or ‘gap’ between non-Indigenous and Indigenous achievement.

Source: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2012

Figure 7.4 Achievement of Year 9 students at or above minimum standard, by NAPLAN key domains, by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012

Figure 7.4 Achievement of Year 9 students at or ab

Note: The number shown between the plot points for each domain is the percentage point difference or ‘gap’ between non-Indigenous and Indigenous achievement.

Source: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy 2012

The gaps between the proportions of Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students achieving at or above the national minimum standard in Reading ranged from 19.7 percentage points for the Year 7 cohorts to 28.4 percentage points for the Year 5 cohort. In Reading, relative to the equivalent gaps in 2011, the gaps for all year levels have increased in 2012, except for Year 7 where the gap has decreased by seven percentage points.

The gap between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous students achieving at or above the national minimum standard in Writing ranged from 18.1 percentage points for the Year 3 cohort to 34.6 percentage points for Year 9 cohort. The gap increased for all year levels between 2011 and 2012, with Year 7 showing the smallest increase.

The gaps between the proportions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students achieving the national minimum standard in Numeracy ranged from 20.5 percentage points for the Years 7 and 9 cohorts to 25.4 percentage points for the Year 5 cohort. In Numeracy, relative to the equivalent gaps in 2011, the gaps for Years 3 and 5 have increased in 2012 and the gaps for Years 7 and 9 have decreased in 2012.

Overall, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students was larger in Year 9 Writing (34.6 per cent) than the gap in any other year level in any of the key domains, with the smallest gap being in Year 3 Writing (18.1 per cent).

Progress towards halving the gap in literacy and numeracy achievement is monitored against indicative trajectories for each state and territory and is reported for the period 2008–12 in Chapter 4 of the report: Indigenous Reform 2011–12: Comparing performance across Australia.¹

National Assessment Program (NAP) – Science Literacy

The NAP Sample Assessment – Science Literacy (NAP – Science Literacy) tests scientific literacy in the context of a student’s ability to apply broad conceptual understandings of science in order to make sense of the world, to understand natural phenomena and interpret media reports about scientific issues.

In 2012, 13,236 Year 6 students, of which five per cent identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, participated in the NAP – Science Literacy assessment.

Table 7.11 Percentage of students participating in the NAP - Science Literacy assessment by year level, by Indigenous status, Australia, 2011

Table 7.11 Percentage of students participating in

Notes:

Codes used in the NAP – Science Literacy Student Participation Form:

  • Non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: Neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander origin
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: Aboriginal but not Torres Strait Islander origin; Torres Strait Islander but not Aboriginal origin; Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin
  • Missing: Not stated/unknown

Sources: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Science Literacy Year Report, 2012, Table A2.6, p. 104; ACARA, National Assessment Program – Science Literacy Technical Report, 2012, Table 4.1, p. 30
 


 
The proportion of students achieving at or above the proficient standard, Level 3.2 for Year 6 students, in Science Literacy is a key performance measure (KPM) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012.

The proportion of students achieving at the proficiency standards by Indigenous status is reported in Table 7.12.

Key Performance Measure 4(a)

Table 7.12 Proportion of students achieving at or above the proficient standard in Science Literacy, by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012 (per cent)

Table 7.12 Proportion of students achieving at or

Notes:

CI± = Confidence Interval (1.96*SE)

Source: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Science Literacy Year 6 Report, 2012, Tables 3.2, 5.2, 6.6. 6.8, pp. 23, 57, 63, 65
 


 
Nationally, the performance of non-Indigenous students was higher than that of Indigenous students. Almost 53 per cent of non-Indigenous Year 6 students performed at or above the Proficient Standard compared to 20.1 per cent of Indigenous students.

The NAP – Science Literacy results in 2012 show a substantial gap in performance between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students. These findings are similar to those in previous assessments.

The National Assessment Program –Science Literacy Year 6 Report for 2012 is available on the National Assessment Program website.

Programme for International Student Assessment

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) compares the performance of 15-year-old students internationally using the same assessment tasks. Three domains are tested: reading literacy, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy.

As was the case with PISA in 2009, in 2012 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were oversampled so that reliable estimates could be inferred.

Further information about PISA is available in Part 5.3: Student achievement – Programme for International Student Assessment in this report and from the Australian Council for Educational Research which project manages PISA nationally.

Key performance measures

The proportion of students in the bottom and top levels of performance in international testing is a performance indicator for schooling in the National Education Agreement. The proportions achieving at or above the proficient standard on the PISA scales are key performance measures (KPMs) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012.

The proportions achieving at or above the proficient standard (Level 3) on the PISA combined reading, mathematical and scientific literacy scales are reported in Table 7.13.

Key Performance Measures 2(e), 3(c) and 4(b)
 
Table 7.13 Achievement on OECD PISA scales: Proportion of students achieving at each proficiency level by Indigenous status; proportion of students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Level 3) by Indigenous status; proportion of Australian students achieving at each proficiency level and at or above the proficient standard; proportion of students achieving at or above the proficient standard, OECD average, 2012 (per cent)

Table 7.13 Achievement on OECD PISA scales Propor

Source: Sue Thomson, Lisa De Bortoli, Sarah Buckley, PISA 2012: How Australia measures up, Australian Council for Educational Research, 2013


 
In general, the achievement of Indigenous students at or above the proficient standard in 2012 was below that of other students in all three key literacy areas.

The gap between the percentage of Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students attaining at or above the proficient standard in the three literacy areas is between 33 and 37 percentage points. The gap between the Indigenous students and the OECD average varies between 24 and 31 percentage points.
 

Figure 7.5 Proportion (per cent) of students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Level 3) in OECD PISA by Indigenous status, Australia, 2012; PISA OECD average, 2012

Figure 7.5 Proportion (per cent) of students achie 

 

 

 


¹ COAG Reform Council, Indigenous Reform 2011–12: Comparing performance across Australia, COAG Reform Council, Sydney, 2013

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