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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 287..

MR BARR (continuing):

The ACT also has the lowest or equal lowest student-to-teacher ratios in the government sector, both in primary and secondary schools. In the primary sector there is a teacher for every 13.8 students compared with a national average of one teacher for every 15.8 students. In the secondary sector there is a teacher for every 11.9 students compared with a national average of 12.4.

On the international stage I am also happy to report that the ACT performs as well as, or better than, other OECD countries. The trends in mathematics and science study, otherwise known as TIMSS, which assesses achievement of the concepts and processes learnt in year 4 and year 8 mathematics and science shows that ACT year 4 students performed best in Australia, both in mathematics and science.

Year 4 science performance was statistically the same as that of Singapore and Chinese Taipei, the best performing countries. ACT year 4 mathematics performance was equal to the fifth highest achieving country, Belgium. ACT year 8 mathematics and science results were significantly above the international average and second only to New South Wales in a national comparison.

The program for international student assessment, or PISA, which focuses on measuring 15-year-old students' abilities in reading, mathematics and science shows that the performance of ACT students was on par with students in the highest performing OECD countries in the reading, mathematical and scientific literacy measures.

In mathematical literacy the ACT was above the national average and on par with Hong Kong, the highest performing country. In reading literacy the ACT was above the national average and on par with Finland, the highest performing country. In scientific literacy the ACT was above the national average and on par with Finland and Japan, the highest performing countries. These results bode well for students in the ACT.

The information age and globalisation mean that our students now, more than ever before, will need to compete in an increasingly global work force and be equipped to deal with the constant change that will be the defining feature of the 21st century. These results show that our schools are succeeding in equipping our students for life beyond school. Of course, more can always be done.

The Stanhope government is committed to building on the successes of our education system. Since being elected we have increased funding to education by 30 per cent. We have begun a four-year program, investing a record amount of money to upgrade teaching and learning environments in our schools.

Since 2003, classroom teachers have received pay rises of between 15.5 per cent and 18.7 per cent, while promotional positions received increases of up to 23.4 per cent. I note that the new EBA that is being voted on now will deliver a further 11.5 per cent pay rise to teachers. We are currently undergoing a curriculum renewal process with involvement from both government and non-government schools, and we are contributing to the national debate and work on a national curriculum.

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