Wow, Wow, Wow! This is big news for me…
A few weeks ago it was brought to my attention the HSC in its current form has been subject to a massive makeover that is creating waves among communities of parents, educators and health care professionals. The reform brings a change to the literacy and numeracy standards expected from students completing year 9 NAPLAN tests onwards to become eligible for the HSC.
NAPLAN is the acronym for National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy and happens in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 with the aim of testing children on the types of skills needed to succeed at school as well as in life. And, if like me you have a child who did it this year, you know how significant and important it can be to the child and their state of mind, possibly the parents as well.
What changes you ask? From 2017 onwards students completing year 9 NAPLAN tests will need to meet a minimum band 8 (band 1 being lowest – band 10 being highest) in reading, writing and numeracy to automatically be eligible for the HSC. Any student who performs below that band will be able to pass a BOSTES online literacy and numeracy test in years 10, 11, 12 to make up ground. In year 12, students who have failed to pass will still be awarded a ROSA (Record of Student Achievement) and have the opportunity to get their HSC over the next 5 years through tertiary education.
Students with disability who study Life Skills outcomes and content in English and mathematics will be exempt. BOSTES have yet to decide whether Beginning English language learners will be affected.
Now, Andrew Piccoli, NSW Minister of Education, was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald in July this year, stating the reform was the first in nearly 20 years and was by necessity “So when you walk into a training provider or a university or an employer and you give them your HSC, they know that you’ve met a minimum literacy and numeracy standard.”
I agree! If there is now a significant number of young people coming into adulthood without literacy and numeracy skills something needs to be done; learning to read implies reading to learn; if I can’t read (or understand what is being written) how can I learn about the world around me and what is expected of me and my place in this world – intervention needs to happen! From early childhood and beyond!
But what about the children who have learning struggles? Or those who are square pegs trying to fit in round holes? Where does this reform leave them? I have one of those…
Stay tuned for Part II…