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Government Lifts Literacy Standards

A report out today shows New Zealand children aged up to 12 are more literate than they were in 1996 but the Government says it will continue to strive for improvement.

The four-yearly publication Reading and Speaking, Assessment Results, 2000 is from the National Education Monitoring Project.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said he was delighted with the results.

"They're really positive results which are a tribute to some of the excellent work that is going on in New Zealand schools. But there is always room for improvement and that's why I have asked that the expected standards for the next monitoring cycle be lifted even further," Trevor Mallard said.

"For example, at the moment we expect an eight-year-old to read at 'band 2' and nearly ninety per cent of them reach that goal. I want our expectation to be that eight-year-old children read at 'band 3'. I also want the project to work on finding out what the most able students can achieve to put in place higher standards.

"The report released today records substantial gains by eight-year-olds both in their ability to decode and comprehend written language, and to read aloud.

“Those 8-year-olds have made dramatic improvements in oral reading as well as very substantial gains in reading comprehension. It also records some improvements in the results achieved by 12-year-olds.”

Trevor Mallard said the upward trend in the results of assessments undertaken by the National Education Monitoring Project confirmed other data coming from schools.

"That's very encouraging. We’ve been putting real emphasis on literacy, especially in the early years of a child’s education, and the results are now coming through.

“Teachers are focussing on literacy right from day one, with rich language environments in our early childhood education institutions. Changes this Government has made to the education guidelines ensure that both literacy and numeracy receive high priority.

“As a nation, we are now working harder at literacy both in our classrooms and in our homes, and it is clear that this is paying off. Parents and the community at large are more confident now about helping young children learn than they were a few years ago.

“It remains a concern to me that there is still a gap between the literacy results of Maori and non-Maori students, although I note that both groups have shown general improvement.”

Trevor Mallard said there would be no falling away in the Government’s drive to improve literacy.

“Every school and early childhood centre will remain committed to the literacy success of every new entrant. We now have to get the same push for improvement in the intermediate and high school years and beyond.”

Also released this month are reports on Music, and Aspects of Technology. All three reports will be used by schools and the Ministry to focus on lifting student achievement in these areas.


This document can be accessed at the following internet website address: http://nemp.otago.ac.nz

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