Nine out of ten teaching students have passed an Australian-first pilot test to evaluate their literacy and numeracy skills.

Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said the test was implemented to ensure that future teaching graduates are in the top 30 per cent of the population in personal literacy and numeracy skills.

Minister Birmingham said of the 5,000 teaching students who participated in the pilot, 92 per cent passed the literacy test, while 90 per cent passed the numeracy test in a trial pilot ahead of the national roll out of testing next year.

“We know an essential part of achieving good education outcomes is having skilled teachers working with children in school classrooms,” Minister Birmingham said.

“We need to ensure those students graduating from teaching courses can cope with the demands of teaching and have strong literacy and numeracy skills.”

Minister Birmingham said from 1 July 2016, all students undertaking initial teacher education training would need to pass the literacy and numeracy test before they graduate so that they can then register as teachers.

“It is great to see the overwhelming majority of students passed the literacy and numeracy test,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Quality education relies on quality teachers, which is why the Government is investing in measures like this to put students first and raise teaching standards and the status of the teaching profession in Australia.

“However, while the majority of initial teacher education students who sat the test passed, it is concerning that up to one in ten did not.

“If the outcomes of this pilot reflected all teaching graduates, last year potentially some 1,800 teaching education students – about 10 per cent – could have graduated without having met the new benchmark.

“This test will become mandatory from next year, providing universities with a strong incentive to ensure they only accept students capable of being in the top 30 per cent of the population.”

Minister Birmingham said the literacy and numeracy test is just one part of a larger suite of recommendations from the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group.

About 5,000 teacher education students throughout Australia sat the pilot test, with testing occurring in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra, as well as in Albury (NSW) and Ballarat (VIC).

Senator Birmingham’s media contact: James Murphy, 0478 333 974
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