This week, all Australian school students will have their first truly national assessments of essential literacy and numeracy skills. These tests replace separate State and Territory tests. For 2008 and into the future, this ground breaking national collaboration will be a centrepiece of our education revolution.
This represents a new national approach to reporting student achievement in the new national literacy and numeracy tests commencing from May 2008.
There are important innovations in the new assessment program.
Year 9 students will be included for the first time. For each area of literacy and numeracy assessed, there will be a single continuous scale of achievement across ten bands for Year 3 to Year 9. Each year level will be reported in six bands. This means that as students advance through the years it will be possible to see how much progress in literacy and numeracy they have made.
Each band for each subject will have plain English descriptors for teachers and parents for what students can typically do at each.
Importantly, the new program also permits a strong diagnostic approach for teachers and parents to understand the level of achievement of students.
This includes information on students who have not achieved the minimum literacy and numeracy standard and need further support.
At the national level, the result for these assessments will be central to the Council of Australia Government's reform agenda.
Literacy and numeracy results from the new national tests will be one of the key progress measures for COAG to assess the impact of the significant shared public investment in schooling.