Minister for Education Dan Tehan said more work was required to improve science education in schools following the release of the ACARA national school science literacy report today.
"It is pleasing to see the improved results of Indigenous students," Mr Tehan said.
The National Assessment Program – Science Literacy assessment tests the science proficiency of Year 6 students every three years. For the first time in 2018 it also tested Year 10 students. Key results from the 2018 test were:
- 58 per cent of Year 6 students attained a proficient standard in the science test, which was a similar result to the previous cycle.
- The number of Year 6 Indigenous students attaining a proficient standard in the test increased from 23 per cent to 35 per cent. However, Indigenous students from both Years 6 and 10 had statistically significant lower average scale scores than non-indigenous students.
- 50 per cent of Year 10 students attained the proficient standard.
"If this was a report card it would say, ‘must do better’," Mr Tehan said. "Strong science skills must be a key feature of our education system because STEM skills will drive the jobs of the future.
"Australia should be a world leader in science education and that should be reflected in our results. Our Government understands the importance of science education to our students and our nation.
"The Federal Government doesn’t run schools but we have agreement from the states and territories to back our plan to deliver results, by:
- Fast tracking a review of the entire Australian Curriculum with an initial focus on maths and science.
- Establishing the national evidence institute that will provide evidence and best-practice for teachers to improve student outcomes.
- Conducting a review to reduce red tape affecting teachers and school leaders.
- Focussing on literacy and numeracy learning progressions.
- Making the teaching of phonics and reading instruction mandatory for initial teacher education (ITE) courses and increasing the time allocated to literacy in ITE courses."