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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3993..

MR BARR (continuing):

results were released yesterday. I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that the ACT, once again, performed well above the Australian average and comparable, in fact, with most of the leading countries in the OECD. We are the best educated and on par, as I say, with the high performing countries.

PISA carries out this testing every three years, and this is the third assessment. The major focus of the 2006 assessment was scientific literacy. PISA assessed just over 14,000 students in 356 schools across Australia and, around the world in over 57 countries, assessed more than 400,000 15 year-old students. In the ACT, 26 schools and around 1,000 students participated in the assessment.

I can advise the Assembly that in science the ACT score in 2006 was significantly higher than in all states other than Western Australia, which achieved the same results as the ACT, and that over 20 per cent of ACT students achieved in the top two bands, band 6 and band 5, which is the highest in the country and equal to the top performing country in the world, Finland.

I can advise that Australian students achieved a mean score of 527 in scientific literacy, which is significantly higher than the OECD mean of 500. Australia was outperformed in scientific literacy by only three countries in 2006, the same result as in 2003. I am pleased to advise that there was no gender gap in the ACT's performance and nor in Australia for the overall results in science.

In reading literacy, the ACT, again alongside Western Australia, achieved the highest mean score. Forty-six per cent of students in the ACT were in the top two levels of reading literacy. In mathematics the score for the ACT was similar to that of Chinese Taipei, the highest performing country. Once again the score for the ACT was significantly higher than the Australian average.

The PISA results show that ACT students are keeping their position as the best educated in the country across a range of areas. However, there is no doubt that there is room for Australia to improve its performance and I am very confident that with the election of a federal government—the Rudd Labor government—that is interested in education and working with states and territories we will see a further improvement in Australia's results.

The rest of the world is investing heavily in education. The ACT government is investing heavily in education, and we welcome the election of a federal government that is going to invest heavily in education—a government that will stand in marked contrast to the 11 years of desperation and derogation of duty in the area of education of the previous Howard government. Let it be clear that the education revolution is a clear positive policy that Rudd Labor took forward to the people of Australia. On 24 November they won a ringing endorsement of their policy to invest and to take education seriously, to invest in early childhood education, to invest in information technology in our schools and to provide more support for the states and territories to deliver even better education outcomes. We know what the position of the opposition is on investment in public education.

Mr Seselja: Yes, that you should not lie to the people when you go to an election about closing schools.

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