Page 1764 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 April 2009

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valuable information for the ACT government to move forward in the area of special education.

I believe the ACT public school system provides quality education for students with a disability, but I restate that we cannot just sit back and say this is as good as it gets. We must always strive to do better. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Bresnan) adjourned to the next sitting.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Planning and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (11.03): I move:

That this Assembly refers the performance of ACT school students in national and international assessments and whether any ‘gaps’ exist in the achievement of ACT students, to the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs for inquiry and report to the Assembly by 19 November 2009, under the following terms of reference:

(1) the Committee will investigate the performance of ACT school students in national and international assessments, identify whether any “gaps” exist in the performance of ACT students compared with the highest performing jurisdiction or country, and make recommendations as to how to close those gaps and ensure that the ACT is the top performing jurisdiction in these assessments.

(2) the Committee will investigate this issue and make recommendations with particular reference to:

(a) a longitudinal analysis of the ACT’s results in national and international assessments such as ACT Assessment Plan (ACTAP) (and 2008 National Assessment Program (NAPLAN)), other national assessments, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Maths and Science Studies (TIMSS), with a particular focus on the performance of Indigenous students, students in the top achievement band, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with English as a second language (ESL), in comparison to similar students in other jurisdictions and countries, where possible;

(b) best practice from national and international studies on ways to raise the performance of all students, with particular reference to literacy and numeracy, curriculum, assessment and teacher quality;

(c) the effectiveness and efficiency of current government programs and strategies to support literacy and numeracy achievement; and

(d) strategies for informing and engaging parents in support of their children’s literacy and numeracy development.

This referral fulfils a commitment made in our parliamentary agreement with the Greens to hold an inquiry into programs designed to close the achievement gap and it demonstrates the government’s renewed commitment to hear the views of the

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