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A third of boys fail basic literacy testing

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

22 August 2006

A third of boys fail basic literacy testing

Almost a third of boys leaving the school system do not have the option of further skills training because their literacy skills are so poor, says National Party Education spokesman Bill English.

Mr English has today released an analysis of pass rates for NCEA level one literacy and numeracy standards, broken down by both sex and decile.

Across all schools, 31% of boys failed level 1 literacy credits.

"Too many teenagers - both boys and girls - are not even making it to the starting blocks in the race for tertiary education or skills training," says Mr English.

Increasingly, tertiary providers regard level 1 literacy credits as the minimum prerequisite for entry to pre-apprenticeship courses.

Mr English says the figures can't be used to judge whether a school is effective because no one knows what level the students were at when they arrived at secondary school.

"Individual schools' records show that significant numbers of students arrive at secondary school well below the expected level of competency in literacy, but there is no national picture.

"Until there is, the Government cannot take systematic action to solve the literacy problem.

"National would require schools to report progress of their students towards national literacy and numeracy standards."

Level 1 NCEA results in core literacy and numeracy requirements in 2005

National Averages
Across all NZ schools 72.8 79.1
Male 68.4 78.0
Female 77.2 80.2
(8.8) (2.2)
Across all decile 1-3 schools 63.8 74.8
Male 58.4 73.6
Female 69.4 76.0
(11.0) (2.4)
Across all decile 1 schools 61.1 73.1
Male 54.9 70.2
Female 67.0 75.9
(12.1) (5.7)
Across all decile 2 schools 63.1 75.3
Male 58.8 75.0
Female 67.3 75.8
(8.5) (0.8)
Across all decile 3 schools 66.3 75.2
Male 60.2 74.3
Female 73.4 76.2
(13.4) (2.1)
Across all decile 4-7 76.2 83.1
Male 71.6 82.8
Female 80.5 83.4
(9.1) (1.4)
Across all decile 4 schools 72.0 80.6
Male 67.5 80.1
Female 76.3 80.3
(8.8) (0.2)
Across all decile 5 schools 74.6 80.5
Male 71.1 80.5
Female 78.4 80.5
(7.3) (0.0)
Across all decile 6 schools 78.0 87.1
Male 74.1 87.1
Female 81.5 87.0
(7.4) (0.1)
Across all decile 7 schools 79.7 84.2
Male 73.5 83.0
Female 85.0 85.3
(11.5) (2.3)
Across all decile 8-10 83.1 87.3
Male 77.9 84.4
Female 89.3 90.6
(11.4) (6.2)
Across all decile 8 schools 83.7 89.6
Male 81.5 90.3
Female 86.6 88.7
(5.1) (1.6)
Across all decile 9 schools 85.4 89.6
Male 82.4 89.6
Female 88.7 89.5
(6.3) (0.1)
Across all decile 10 schools 81.4 84.2
Male* 72.2 76.5
Female 91.3 92.6
(19.1) (16.1)
* The low level of achievement of decile 10 boys seems is explained mainly by the large numbers doing Cambridge exams.


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