More than 7,500 initial teacher education students have already sat or registered to sit a new test that will ensure all new teachers’ literacy and numeracy skills are in the top 30 per cent of the adult population.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said of the teaching students who had sat the test in the most recent test window, 94.5 per cent of candidates had met the standard for the literacy component and 93.1 per cent had met the standard for the numeracy component.

Minister Birmingham said that last year the voluntary trial of the test saw 4138 candidates sit the new test and 92.3 per cent of candidates meet the standard for the literacy component and 90.5 per cent of candidates meet the standard for the numeracy component.

“These results are extremely encouraging. Skilled teachers are essential to lifting student outcomes and this test will ensure we have educators in our classrooms with strong personal literacy and numeracy skills,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Today’s results are an improvement on the voluntary trial that was run last year and shows through this ‘laser focus’ on literacy and numeracy that our new teachers are graduating with better skills that they’ll then be able to pass on to students to lift the education outcomes of future generations.”

Minister Birmingham said 3910 teaching students had sat the test in the first sitting window in 2016 and while the initial uptake of the test had been positive, there were still a number of states and territories who needed to do more to encourage their students to complete the test to ensure they could be registered on completing their studies.

“Today I have written to all state and territory Education Ministers as well all of the relevant university Vice Chancellors to encourage them to do more to promote the completion of the test for teaching students after it was revealed that some states still had hundreds of teaching students close to graduation but yet to complete the test,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This test is about ensuring that our teachers are in the top 30 per cent of the adult population for their personal literacy and numeracy skills and is part of the Turnbull Government’s ‘Back to Basics’ focus.”

The new data shows that Victoria and New South Wales are leading the way in the number of students who have already completed or registered to sit the test, while South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland still had hundreds of education students that need to complete the test.

Location of candidate's Higher Education
 Completed Literacy component* Completed Numeracy component*  Registration for the August 2016 sitting^  Total indicative completed/ registered  
 NSW / ACT  1957  1958  1673  3631
 QLD  357  356  249  606
 SA / NT  24  25  57  82
 VIC / TAS  1064  1073  1396  2469
 WA  92  94  97  191
 Other (HEP w/ campuses in multiple
 337  338  316  654
 Total  3831  3844  3788  7633

May-June 2016 sitting, all year levels

ITE students (all year levels) sitting one or more components of the test

Minister Birmingham said the test is one of the Coalition’s evidence-based initiatives focused on helping lift teacher quality and boost outcomes for students. It was a key recommendation by the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group in February 2014 and has been endorsed by all state and territory education ministers.

“Teaching quality is one of the key focuses of the Turnbull Government’s Student Achievement Plan, which targets the Commonwealth’s schools funding into the programs and measures that evidence shows will have a real impact on student results,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The introduction of the test has been welcomed by families, students and teachers across the country as it is an evidence-based tool that will help improve student outcomes.

“The need for this test was highlighted last year during its trials when nearly one in ten of the initial teacher education students who sat the test did not meet the expected minimum standard.
“Australians want to know that school students are learning from teachers with strong personal literacy and numeracy skills.”

Yesterday’s release of the 2016 preliminary NAPLAN results pointed to a mixture of results with an increase in reading scores across the country of 0.40 per cent since 2013, a decrease in writing scores of -0.20 per cent and an increase in numeracy of 1.26 per cent across all year levels. Over the same period there has been a 23.7 per cent increase in federal school funding. Minister Birmingham said this highlighted why it was now more important than ever to focus not just on funding but evidence-based, quality reform.

“Of course investment in our schools is important, which is why we will continue to grow funding from a record $16 billion this year to $20.1 billion in 2020, to be allocated based on need,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Our funding growth is sustainable but will be tied to a range of evidence-based initiatives to support students by focusing on outcomes in literacy, numeracy and STEM subjects, helping lift teacher quality and better preparing our children for life after school.

“Those initiatives will build on our work over the last three years including our reforms to teacher education, our review of the National Curriculum to declutter it and refocus on the basics of literacy and numeracy and funding through the National Innovation and Science Agenda for STEM school programs.”

The Australian Council for Educational Research administers the test in testing centres located throughout the country with flexible on-line delivery arrangements in place for students who are unable to attend a testing centre. 
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