Tasmania's dismal high school NAPLAN results will be under scrutiny this year as the University of Tasmania and state government partner in a literacy and numeracy study announced yesterday.
The results from the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy testing in May last year revealed that although the state's grade 3 and 5 pupils were performing on par with the rest of the country, the results dropped off in year 7 and 9.
Year 7 and 9 students consistently ranked seventh in seven of 10 subject areas and a fifth of all year 9s did not meet the national minimum standard in persuasive writing in 2012.
Thirteen high and primary schools have been selected to take part in the new year-long study and, depending on the results, the program could be rolled out to all schools.
The university's dean of education, Professor Ian Hay, said the study followed one from two years ago that focused on early learning and primary years and appeared to have paid off with improvement in those NAPLAN results.
However, Professor Hay said boys in rural and regional areas in particular, showed a drop off in literacy and numeracy skills so this study would look at how to engage them and make improvements.
``What we probably have to do more of is we've got to think about how we can educate meaningfully but also keep them on track and engaged,'' Professor Hay said.
The study would involve working with principals and professional learning for teachers, with a focus on areas identified as being a struggle for students such as interpreting graphs and statistical data.
Education Minister Nick McKim said yesterday that improvements had to be made when students transitioned from primary school to high.
``Ultimately, I want to see Tasmanian students performing better than their counterparts in any state or territory,'' Mr McKim said.
He said the schools taking part were based in different regions and were selected because of their innovative approach to improving results.
The cost of the study will be covered by both the university and the government.
SCHOOLS IN THE STUDY
Tasman District High, Scottsdale high and primary schools, Bridport Primary, Ringarooma Primary, Ogilvie High, New Town high and primary schools, Bowen Road Primary, Lenah Valley Primary, Penguin high and primary schools, Riana Primary.