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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 160 ..

MS BERRY: Gungahlin is very well known as an area of high population growth, and changes in human behaviour that affect where people are choosing to live is behaviour that I would describe as something that is sometimes hard to predict. The government does what it can to make sure that we meet the needs of the community, including in those growth areas like north Canberra, Gungahlin and Belconnen.

Education—reading proficiency

MR WALL: My question is to the minister for education. The progress in international reading literacy report released in December last year showed that the ACT was the only Australian jurisdiction to lose ground. The ACT recorded a greater number of students below the proficiency standard than in the same test five years ago. In contrast, the rest of Australia improved in its performance. The ACT lost the top position in Australia to Victoria. Minister, why is the ACT losing ground when the rest of Australia is gaining ground in reading and literacy?

MS BERRY: ACT schools have always held a very good position as far as our numeracy and literacy are concerned. We have always led the country. We still lead the country. The rest of the country is now keeping up. What we want to do now is have a conversation with the community about how we can broaden the horizons of every student and continue to improve on the excellent outcomes of our schools in the ACT.

MR WALL: Minister, why are 18 per cent of students rated as low or below standard in reading? What types of students are most likely to be in this category?

MS BERRY: I have said on a number of occasions that this data is point-in-time data. It measures a period in time of a child’s learning and a specific part of a child’s learning. Whilst it is important to have a look at this data, it is more important to have a look even deeper into what children are experiencing in our schools and how we can provide the best possible education, a fuller education that includes English, literacy and numeracy but also—

Mr Wall: If she had the literacy to actually interpret the data, she would realise she is doing a rubbish job.

MS BERRY: I am very happy to hear Mr Wall again trying to claw back the education portfolio from Ms Lee and continue on this path of making it miserable for kids in schools by testing them every five minutes of the day and then judging them and talking our schools down.

Mr Wall interjecting—

MS BERRY: We will not do that in the ACT government. We will always talk up our schools in the ACT—

Mr Gentleman: Point of order, Madam Speaker.

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