Sunday, December 19, 2021

Learning gaps in Australia remain shockingly large - Jordana hunter


Here is a tweet I read this morning by Jordana Hunter who does not know what she is writing about. And she is the education program director at the Grattan Institute.

Jordana Hunter @hunter_jordana

Learning gaps in Australia remain shockingly large. NAPLAN shows a 5-year gap in reading and a 4-year gap in numeracy by Year 9, depending on whether students' parents have university degrees or didn't finish high school.

@GrattanInst @EmslieOwain


Here are extracts from a link attached and my comments.

The 2021 NAPLAN report published on Wednesday paints a worrying picture of school education in Australia. It is a stark reminder of how much work we need to do to close the shocking achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students.


My comment:

I have written several emails to Australian ministers as well as educational establishments in Australia since 2010. They appear to have a lackadaisical attitude and think they know everything there is to know.


Read the responses from Australian Council for Educational Research here.

Here is an email to the Australian College of Educators and to the panelists of the Phonic Debate and there was no response except from Dr. Robyn Ewing who did not respond to follow up questions from me.


This year’s results show the long-standing achievement gap between students from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds has widened in some areas compared to 2019 – the last time the national assessments were held.

What’s more, the overall achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students in Australia remains shockingly wide, despite decades of attempts to close it.


My comment:

How do you expect to reduce the overall achievement gap by repeating what has been done for decades? I have repeatedly said that the main problem is teaching the wrong sounds represented by consonants. Unless this is addressed many kids will continue leaving school as functional illiterates.


Students whose parents haven’t completed high school are falling significantly behind their peers whose parents have a university degree.


My comment:

Another load of nonsense from this woman. Is the problem caused by parents who have not completed high school or because kids are taught wrongly in schools?


How does she explain the hundreds of students here who learn to read despite their parents being unable to speak English?


Is it possible that parents who have a university degree have a high paying job and thus able to send their kids to tuition and thus improve their reading standards?


First, governments and schools need to treat teachers’ instructional and preparation time as a precious resource. Effective teaching takes time, particularly when there is a lot of ground to cover.


My response:

There are many steps on a flight of stairs. If kids are finding difficulty on their first step we should find out what is the cause and get rid of that difficulty. This will result in eradicating problems in subsequent steps.


Schools are also feeling pressure to address a broad range of social and emotional issues facing children, as well as academic learning. In our well-intentioned efforts to address all the problems young people face, we risk limiting the time teachers have to focus on academic performance, the core goal of school.


My comment:


If the first problem, getting kids to learn to read, is solved there will be no need for kids to misbehave to avoid shame. The broad range of social and emotional issues will disappear leaving behind a few small problems to be resolved.


Compelling international evidence suggests small-group tutoring could make a sizeable dent in this problem. Working with groups of up to five students, well-trained tutors implementing effective teaching programs can boost learning by around four months over two school terms.


My comment:

We can reduce tuition if at the onset we teach kids correctly and reduce the number of kids shutting down from learning to read.


Dr Jordana Hunter and Owain Emslie at the Grattan Institute are more than welcome to discuss this matter with me.

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