National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

Student achievement

5.2 NAP – Science Literacy

The National Sample Assessment in Science Literacy commenced in 2003, and is the only sample assessment that focuses entirely on Year 6 students. The Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) has agreed to use the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) as the measure of performance for science literacy among secondary students. PISA is conducted in the same year as NAP – Science Literacy and tests a sample of Year 10 students that largely corresponds to the Year 10 sample in other NAP assessments.
 
In 2009 approximately 13,000 Year 6 students participated in the NAP – Science Literacy assessment. This represented approximately five per cent of the total Australian Year 6 student population. The participating students were from both government and non-government schools.
The NAP – Science Literacy assessment measures scientific literacy. This is the application of broad conceptual understandings of science to make sense of the world, understanding natural phenomena and interpreting media reports about scientific issues. This assessment also includes asking investigable questions, conducting investigations, collecting and interpreting data and making decisions.
The National Sample Assessment in Science Literacy is conducted triennially. The next NAP – Science Literacy assessment will be undertaken in 2012.

Proficient Standard for Science Literacy

The Proficient Standard for Science Literacy was established after the 2003 sample testing. It provides a clear picture of the knowledge, skills and understanding that students are expected to demonstrate in science by the end of Year 6. This standard informed the development of the tests for the 2006 and 2009 sample assessments.
Five levels of proficiency (levels 2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4) have been defined for NAP – Science Literacy. Level descriptors are available on the National Assessment Program website.
The Proficient Standard in Science Literacy has been determined to be at Level 3.2. Students achieving the Proficient Standard at 3.2 have demonstrated more than minimal or elementary skills. They have demonstrated a challenging level of performance in reaching this level. Students who reach the Proficient Standard can interpret reports, use observed data, collate and compare data, and draw conclusions.

Key Performance Measure

The proportion of students achieving at or above the proficient standard (Level 3.2) is a basic measure of science literacy achievement in Australian schooling. This is a Key Performance Measure (KPM) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia.
The proportion of students achieving at various proficiency levels is reported in Table 5.4.
 
Key Performance Measure 3 (a)
   Table 5.4    Proportion of students achieving at each proficiency level and at or above the proficient standard (Level 3.2) in Science Literacy, 2009 (per cent)
 
Proficiency level
At or above the proficient standard
 
2 and below
3.1
3.2
3.3
4 and above
Australia(%)
CI±
9.1
1.2
39.0
1.7
44.5
1.8
7.2
1.1
0.1
0.1
51.9
2.2
 
Notes:
 
CI = Confidence Interval
The percentages reported in this table include 95 per cent confidence intervals.
Source: ACARA, National Assessment Program – Science Literacy Year 6 Report 2009
 
 

The National Assessment Program – Science Literacy Year 6 Report 2009 is available on the National Assessment Program website.