Mark Scott's Update

02 August 2017

Preliminary NAPLAN results

ACARA today released the 2017 Preliminary NAPLAN results. I am pleased to report this has been a very strong year for NAPLAN performance in NSW schools. We have retained our customary title of ‘best spellers in the country' and ranked in the top three for all test domains in all year levels (with Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory).

Importantly, we can see positive outcomes from some of our specific efforts to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of our students.

I am particularly pleased we have achieved our highest ever mean scores for Year 3 in reading and in numeracy. Our commitment to early intervention in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 is now showing up in unprecedented improvement in results for our Year 3 students.

Numeracy results in both Years 7 and 9 are very strong. For Year 9 numeracy, NSW students are the strongest performers in Australia.

Of particular note is the improved performance of Aboriginal students. In Year 9, the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in the proportion of students at or above the minimum standard has substantially decreased.

There are strong signs of success for the specific initiatives we have implemented to improve literacy and numeracy learning. For example:

  • Early Action for Success schools have on average improved results for their Year 3 students on reading and numeracy, with fewer students in the bottom two bands and higher mean scores.
  • In our Connected Communities schools we have achieved marked improvement in reading and writing results.
  • The Bump it Up schools have been very successful, with those schools as a group achieving greater improvements in results for students in the top 2 bands for reading and numeracy than other schools.

It is also encouraging to see that nearly one-third of Year 9 students have already met the HSC minimum standard for literacy and numeracy early by gaining Band 8 or higher results in Reading, Writing and Numeracy. For all other students, the chance to meet the standard will be available in Years 10, 11 and 12, and support will be provided by schools to help get them there.

As a result of these efforts we have now reached the Premier's Priority target, to increase the proportion of NSW students in the top two NAPLAN bands by 8% by 2019, early. Our challenge now is to maintain and further improve this performance in coming years.

All of these fine results are a validation of our approach to literacy and numeracy: our high expectations; our focus on early intervention; and our careful attention to what the data shows at the student, school and system level. Our NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy builds off a strong evidence base about effective practices.

We know there is much more to quality education than a single, annual test. We all understand, however, that strong literacy and numeracy skills are a passport to life's opportunities for the young people in our care. These skills will allow them to master new skills, acquire deep knowledge and help them be active and informed citizens. Our focus on literacy and numeracy as a cornerstone of public education is the right one.

There is still work to do and further improvement needed. But these NAPLAN results give us reason to believe we are on the right track.

There is more detailed analysis of the NSW results on our website that you may wish to share with your school community as you receive your school results in coming weeks.

Thanks to everyone for your hard work and commitment to the improvement of every student in every school.

About the Secretary

Mark Scott, Secretary, Department of Education

Mark Scott is Secretary of the Department of Education. He has worked as a teacher, in public administration and as a journalist and media executive. He is committed to public education and learning environments where every child can flourish.

 

 

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