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Literacy standards can be raised for all students

28 March 2006

Project shows literacy standards can be raised for all students

Results from a literacy project released today show it is possible to lift literacy standards for all New Zealand students, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

Steve Maharey says the Literacy Professional Development Project recorded significant improvements in reading comprehension and writing across 85 schools over a two year period. The project involved 1183 teachers and more than 4,800 year 1 to 8 students.

"This is evidence that the government's approach to literacy teaching is making a difference," Steve Maharey said. "The results show that with good support from literacy facilitators, teachers can make significant improvements to writing and reading comprehension for all students.

"The results from this project are hugely encouraging. As well as seeing improvements in literacy across all of the schools involved, we have seen the highest improvement among students that were previously the lowest achievers."

Steve Maharey said the project involved placing professional facilitators in schools to help teachers develop literacy programmes tailored to the needs of their students.

"Our approach is about supporting teachers to enhance their skills and develop programmes that meet the diverse needs of their students.

"The government currently invests around $32 million a year in programmes to lift literacy standards in schools, including $3.8 million a year for the Literacy Professional Development Programme."

Of the schools involved in the project, 45 focussed on writing and 40 on reading comprehension. The project will be extended to a further 172 schools over the next two years. A full summary report of the student achievement findings from this project is available at www.minedu.govt.nz

ENDS

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