McKim defends NAPLAN score

TASMANIA'S grade 3 pupils may be leading the education revolution the state needs, as detailed results from national literacy and numeracy testing were released yesterday.

The annual National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing found the pupils were leading years 5, 7 and 9 in all tested areas - reading, persuasive writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy - when compared with other states.

However, across all year levels the state still fell below the national minimum standard in every tested area.

The results for students in year 9 were the worst, with the state coming second last in each area. Only the Northern Territory was below Tasmania.

And in both year 5 and year 7 the state ranked second last in each area apart from year 5 numeracy and year 7 reading where it came sixth in both.

Education Minister Nick McKim said the state was improving faster than others in the testing, particularly in grade 3.

``Tasmania has improved faster than the rest of the country on average in every single NAPLAN measure, which is thanks to the great work our teachers and school leaders and support staff are doing in our schools,'' Mr McKim said.

He said the grade 3 results were improving rapidly due to the government's investment in the Launching into Learning program.

He said the nation-leading program was making a real difference and, over time, that would flow through to other year levels.

Australian Education Union state president Terry Polglase said the Launching into Learning program appeared to be paying off in regards to developing that relationship with parents and growing the understanding of the importance of getting a good start.

However, he said the state's numeracy results were another matter and it reflected where resources had not been spent.

``This is only more evidence that we need the Gonski money,'' Mr Polglase said.

Opposition education spokesman Michael Ferguson said the results confirmed that Tasmanian students were below the national average in every one of the 20 literacy and numeracy measures.

He said a Liberal government would set a target to see the state achieve at or above the national average in literacy and numeracy within six years of taking government. 

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