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SA behind on literacy and numeracy tests for teachers

The State Liberals have this morning called on the Weatherill Government to require teaching graduates to undertake literacy and numeracy tests prior to graduating from university.

The call follows the release of data showing that South Australia has the lowest rate of participation in the tests across Australia.

State and territory governments have agreed with the Federal Government at Education Council meetings that from 1 July all teaching graduates would be expected to meet the standard set by the literacy and numeracy test prior to graduation.

States like NSW and Victoria are now requiring just that, and this morning it was revealed that more than 95% of teaching students seeking to enter the workforce next year have either sat the test or registered to do it in August.

However, in South Australia students are not required to meet the standard as a condition of registration as a teacher or of employment. In fact, only 8% of South Australian teaching students have sat the literacy and numeracy tests - easily the lowest in Australia.

"We have many excellent teachers in our system who we should be proud of and we are grateful for their work. But that doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels," said Shadow Minister for Education John Gardner.

"Yesterday we learnt that our NAPLAN results remain the worst in the nation.

“We need to do everything we can to lift our performance in this area, and ensuring that our teachers meet our expectations for literacy and numeracy is a necessary step.”

After a voluntary pilot undertaken last year saw 92.3% of candidates meet the standard for literacy and 90.5% of candidates meet the standard for numeracy, new data released today shows that of the latest set of students to sit the test, 94.5% succeeded in the literacy area and 93.1% in numeracy.

"It is very encouraging to see these results improve around Australia but it is a shame that such a small cohort of that result is from South Australia,” said Mr Gardner.

"The State Liberals won't be satisfied until we have the best schools in Australia - our community demands it and our children deserve no less.”