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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 4118..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

students in the top two profile levels for all testing strands. Ninety-six per cent of all year 3 students performed above the national reading benchmarks and 94 per cent performed above the national numeracy benchmarks. Ninety-four per cent of all year 3 students also performed above the national writing benchmarks.

Year 5 students followed this trend and achieved high standards in all testing strands. Ninety-seven per cent of all year 5 students performed above the national reading benchmarks and 90 per cent above the national numeracy benchmarks. Encouragingly, 93 per cent of all students performed above the national writing benchmarks, a significant increase from 2002 at 86 per cent.

In 2003, year 7 students maintained a high level of achievement in reading and numeracy, with a consistently high proportion of students in the top three profile levels. The results for writing also show that the percentage of students in the top three profile levels has steadily increased.

Year 9 results for 2003 again showed that student levels were steadily increasing, with a noticeable decrease in the proportion of students in the bottom profile level in reading and writing. These results highlight the achievement of our students and reflect positively on our schools, teachers, parents, carers and community members. Pleasing trends were the closing of the gap between the results of boys and girls and the significant improvement in the reading and writing results of indigenous students.

The outcomes of the 2003 ACTAP show an encouraging improvement in the overall literacy results of indigenous students. While these results need to be treated with some caution because of the small number of indigenous students in each year level, they are pleasing. The national benchmark results for indigenous students in ACT government schools show a marked improvement in all literacy strands for years 3 and 5 and numeracy for year 3.

While the year 5 numeracy results were not as good as previous years, the results for year 5 writing showed a large improvement. Year 7 indigenous students' results show that writing has been consistent over the past three years and, although the reading and numeracy results in 2003 were lower than in 2002, the difference is not statistically significant. However, the comparison of ACT data with data from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey 2002 shows the ACT is above the national average in all aspects of education attainment. These steadily increasing results are encouraging and reflect positively on the government's focus on indigenous education.

In 2002, the Within Reach of Us All, Services to Indigenous People Action Plan 2002-2004 was released and it addressed commitments such as overcoming racism and valuing diversity through the equity and diversity plan 2003-05; forming genuine and ongoing partnerships with indigenous communities through enhanced support to the Indigenous Education Consultative Body; the involvement of the indigenous community in the redevelopment of the Birrigai educational facility; and funding to the Billabong Aboriginal Corporation's Jumby Mulla program.

It also included creating safe, supportive, welcoming and culturally inclusive educational and service environments through the dare to leap program; the ACT NAIDOC student

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