Media Release

22 October 2018

Smith: Daniel Andrews has literacy and numeracy standards all back to front

Monday 22 October 2018

Daniel Andrews has literacy and numeracy standards all back to front

The Andrews Labor Government’s announcement of changes to the VCE is pathetic.

Trying to improve literacy and numeracy standards at VCE level is too little change and occurring too late in the education process.

All that today’s announcement will do is create terrible uncertainty for parents, students and teachers working towards the VCE.

Despite receiving billions of dollars extra for education, Daniel Andrews has lost control of school standards and outcomes. The depressing evidence from official testing programs over the past four years shows that literacy and numeracy levels for Victorian children are either flatlining or stagnating.

For example, Victoria’s Year 9 NAPLAN results are falling behind other states across the board: reading, spelling, grammar & punctuation and numeracy.

PIRLS data shows that 19% of Year 4 students are below the international benchmark for reading.

The same depressing trend appears in the OECD’s PISA tests. Victorian students scored 516 for reading in 2000 and 507 in 2015. We scored 513 for scientific literacy in 2006 – we achieved the same in 2015. For maths, we scored 511 in 2003 but dropped to 499 by 2015.​

A Liberal Nationals Government will teach and test kids to read and write from Foundation Year. Daniel Andrews wants to test them in Year 12 when it’s too late to take corrective action. By that point the horse has bolted and it is often too late for many students.

Countless studies show that the critical learning period for children is in their younger years.

This is Daniel Andrews running up the white flag when it comes to education standards and outcomes in our schools.

Under Daniel Andrews’ plan, they will be identifying students with learning problems at the end of their schooling, not at the beginning.

That’s why the Liberal Nationals plan for a Phonics Test in Year 1 is so important to check that our kids are building a foundation for lifelong learning.

James Merlino says he wants to improve literacy and numeracy skills. So here’s some maths for him.

Labor has been in government for 15 of the last 19 years but still blames everyone else for the state of our education system.

Only a Liberal Nationals Government will get back in control of school literacy and numeracy standards.