Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor

The Conversation has asked 20 academics to examine the big ideas facing Australia for the 2016 federal election and beyond. The 20-piece series will examine, among others, the state of democracy, health, education, environment, equality, freedom of speech, federation and economic reform.

There is no doubt that Australian education standards are slipping. International tests show that Australia has either stagnated or declined in maths, science and reading literacy.

At the recent Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, Andreas Schleicher, the OECD director for education and skills, referred to Australia’s poor performance in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and warned that the country’s previous ranking as a high-equity and high-quality education system was in jeopardy.

Australia is falling behind

The overwhelming story presented by international assessment data is one of an education system in decline.

Scores in all international studies are either stagnating or decreasing, while many other countries have proved to be doing significantly better than Australia.

Of concern is that much of the change in the scores for Australia is associated with a decrease in the proportion of top achievers – those students in the highest proficiency bands in PISA, for example.

However, of equal concern is the students that the system is failing – those students in the lowest achievement bands.

Our international scorecard

image CC BY-ND image CC BY-ND image CC BY-ND The low achievers Australia needs to do better in capitalising on the talents of students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. At present it does not. By far the largest proportion of low achievers come from disadvantaged backgrounds. These students predominantly attend government schools. These students are not illiterate or innumerate. Rather, they do not have the level of knowledge that will allow them to participate as productive citizens in a modern society. These results are reflected in TIMSS and PIRLS results as well. image Figure 1 Proportion of students failing to achieve baseline level by socioeconomic background, PISA 2012 Sue Thomson/ACER Non-cognitive outcomes Other outcomes of education contribute to Australia’s under-capitalisation on all students’ talents. Students from a disadvantaged background are much less likely to report that they enjoy mathematics, are less likely to recognise its importance for their future, and are more likely to suffer from maths anxiety than their advantaged peers. Disadvantaged schools report more problems with resourcing and student discipline; have fewer confident teachers; and have less of an emphasis on academic success. All of these factors are associated with poorer performance in reading, mathematics and science. What needs to be done? If Australia is to reverse the decline in maths, science and reading literacy achievement, funding needs to be targeted to programs in schools that have high numbers of students from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds. OECD research has shown that the systems that have been most successful in reducing the gaps between low and high achievers are those that direct more resources to schools in this way. Schleicher made explicit that: “Australia’s needs-based Gonski reforms, with increased investment in teacher training, were a positive step but that more commitment was needed.” Targeting programs that focus on intervention in early childhood areas is particularly essential in closing achievement gaps as early as possible. You can read other articles in the series here.

Authors: The Conversation Contributor

Read more http://theconversation.com/ideas-for-australia-why-is-australia-falling-behind-in-maths-science-and-literacy-and-what-can-be-done-about-it-56267

'No one would even know if I had died in my room': coronavirus leaves international students in dire straits


Timing the share market is hard – just ask your super fund


The Conversation


Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

What to Expect from Your NDIS Verification & Certification Audit

The National Disability Insurance Agency administers NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) in Australia. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission governs it. As a welfare support scheme of...

Sarah Williams - avatar Sarah Williams

Why You May Need A Tower Scaffold Hire

When constructing a building, or even a multilevel structure, you must use a tower scaffold to get you into position. What is unique about this type of scaffolding is that you can build it highe...

News Company - avatar News Company

20 year old Aussie marketing genius helping billion dollar household brands

Australian digital marketing agency, Co Media, founded by 20 year old marketing genius Lucas Cook, is making its mark on the world stage by gaining a number of high profile clients and quickly b...

News Company - avatar News Company

News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion