Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2004) . . Page.. 4117 ..
Literacy and numeracy
MS MacDONALD (11.12): I move:
That this Assembly:
• the achievements of ACT students in literacy and numeracy; and
• the significant improvement in indigenous students’ writing skills;
• recognises the need to continue to raise awareness about the importance of all ACT students developing effective literacy and numeracy skills; and
• acknowledges that the ACT Government, schools, teachers, parents, families and community members have played an integral role in raising literacy and numeracy levels in the ACT.
Mr Speaker, reading, writing and numeracy skills are the basic building blocks of a successful education and are vital to students’ future life opportunities. I would add that these skills are also the essential building blocks for society. These skills allow us to communicate with and understand each other, and to function effectively in our community, country and world environment. Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen to language in a way that allows us to communicate with others and make sense of the world.
Numeracy helps us use mathematics effectively to meet the demands of day-to-day life at home, at work and in society. These skills are critical in our society, so it is imperative that our youth are educated about the importance of developing sound literacy and numeracy skills and are taught these essential skills.
Testing student skills is an important way of monitoring student performance in these vital areas. The ACT assessment program, or ACTAP, is an effective way to collect and share crucial information about literacy and numeracy skills. The assessment program provides the government with an overview of student performance and is an important piece of information for parents and carers. The program also provides a map of students’ progress over the years and identifies areas where improvements can be achieved.
Students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in all ACT government, Catholic and some independent schools take part in the test. The data collected is used to measure the performance of ACT students against the national benchmarks. The benchmarks describe the minimum levels of achievement a student needs to successfully progress at school. They serve as important indicators of strength and weaknesses, and if students are not achieving at or above the benchmark level in any area, they are likely to find it difficult to progress.
The results from the 2003 ACTAP identified that ACT students continue to demonstrate very high levels of literacy and numeracy, well above the national benchmarks. In 2003, year 3 students maintained a consistently high standard, with more than two-thirds of