We welcome the initial results of a trial literacy and numeracy test for teacher education students. While still only in a trial phase, it found that more than nine in ten teaching students are in the top 30 per cent of the Australian population for both literacy and numeracy. More can be done to improve on this result.
The trial, held in August and September this year, tested 5000 students at varying stages of their teaching degrees.
The trial is crucial to ensure the test does what it sets out to do: to assess whether a teaching student is in the top 30 per cent of Australians for literacy and numeracy.
Universities look forward to seeing the technical report on the trial to ensure both the test and its pass benchmark are valid, reliable and appropriate measures of literacy and numeracy.
“Both the Australian public and student teachers need confidence that the Government has got this test right”, said Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson.
Universities Australia is working with the Australian Government to ensure arrangements are in place to enable the test administrator to carry out its role.
These include policies and procedures to prevent cheating, to protect students’ personal information, and to inform students properly about the test – including cost and process.
“Universities understand the complexity involved in implementing an initiative such as this in such a short timeframe,” Ms Robinson said. “We want Government to have access to the expertise of universities – and universities stand ready to do what is needed to support the Government’s goal of ensuring high standards for future teachers.”
The Government intends for the test to apply to all existing students who complete their degree from 1 July 2016.
“It will be important that the arrangements treat these students fairly and reasonably”, Ms Robinson said.