Liberals’ literacy legacy reflected in NAPLAN improvements

Monday 31 October 2022
Liberals’ literacy legacy reflected in NAPLAN improvements

South Australia’s 2022 NAPLAN results show the former Liberal Government’s suite of reforms to improve literacy standards are having a positive impact.

After narrowly overtaking Queensland in last year’s NAPLAN, this year South Australia pulled well ahead placing 4th out of all the states.

Our Year 3 students had their best ever results in reading, writing and spelling, while our Year 5s also achieved their best ever results in reading and writing.

South Australia’s Year 3 boys also achieved their best ever result in reading.

It’s a dramatic improvement from when Labor was last in power and South Australia found itself at the back of the class, coming last or second last in almost all measures.

Shadow Minister for Education, Training and Skills John Gardner said there were some very positive aspects to the results, but that the former Liberal Government’s focus on standards needs to be maintained in the coming years if we are to see continued improvements - especially in higher year levels.

“There are some positive outcomes in this year’s NAPLAN results, especially in Year 3 and 5, giving the new Government a strong foundation for the years ahead,” Mr Gardner said.

“The former Liberal Government put a strong focus on foundational literacy skills in the early years of primary school through the introduction of the Phonics Check, literacy coaches and a range of training and support measures. We can now see the hard work from those reforms is paying off.

“South Australia’s Year 3 and Year 5 NAPLAN results for 2022 are some of the best we have ever seen, and those students and their teachers should be proud of their hard work.

“Our Year 3 students are the first cohort to have had the benefit of literacy reforms for all of their schooling, ever since Reception, and it’s now clearly paying dividends.

“This year’s Year 5 students were also the first cohort to do the Year 1 Phonics Check in 2018, and many were identified as needing interventions through those checks.

“It’s also noteworthy that this year our boys have achieved their best ever result for Year 3 reading.

“Many teachers say that phonics instruction is especially important for boys and the way that phonics has now been embedded in the South Australian schooling system for four full years means that these Year 3 boys are the best placed of any cohort of South Australian Year 3s to succeed in the rest of their schooling.

“These NAPLAN results vindicate the former Liberal Government’s efforts and we sincerely hope the new Government is able to keep the momentum going in the coming years.

“With the literacy reforms now embedded in our system, we now need to see improvement in our numeracy outcomes with a targeted strategy - potentially including consideration of measures like the English Year 4 times-tables check, which has a similar approach to the Phonics Check that has been so useful.

“It is to be hoped that with the Year 3 and 5 cohorts in this year’s check doing so well in their reading, they will lift future Year 7 and 9 results in the years ahead too.

“SA’s results have been improving each year since 2017. There is much more to do but the foundations are there for our State to continue that journey of improvement. Anything less is unacceptable.”