NEW proposal for all year one students to undergo national tests in reading and maths.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham wants to see students screened in a “light touch” test to better detect kids with learning difficulties, reported SMH.

While many schools assess students in the first year of school to pick up developmental issues, there is no nationally consistent process.

“The first time we have any national assessment is in year three [with the NAPLAN test],” Dr Buckingham said. “Year three is actually very late to intervene if there is a problem.”

The report calls for screening of basic literacy and numeracy skills “around the middle” of the second year of schooling.

The literacy component would focus on “phonics” or decoding words, which Dr Buckingham said was a strong predictor of later reading ability.

The numeracy component would focus on “number sense” and “position/location”. Dr Buckingham said students might be asked a question like, “here are five objects, can you add two more?” Or to show an understanding of how things fit on a grid.

The report says the testing should be done in a one-on-one setting, with a teacher the child knows. Students would give oral answers, which teachers would plug into an online app that could deliver results quickly to schools and parents.

All up, Dr Buckingham said the testing would take between 10 and 15 minutes.

Senator Birmingham said the tests would mean students “don’t slip through the cracks”.

“These skills checks are not expected to be a confronting test but rather a light touch assessment that ensures teachers, parents and schools know at the earliest possible stage if children aren’t picking up reading or counting skills as quickly as they should, enabling them to intervene rapidly.” Read more on it here.

The responses are mixed

– “That is so stupid , that’s what they go to school for is to learn all these things.
Their going to school younger and younger, now you’re trying to take away every bit of them just being babies and toddlers.
They need love and guidance not stupid tests. Give them a chance to learn. Some are able to do it quicker and some aren’t. There’s enough Bullying in schools now without it starting at that age ( I’m smarter than you ) and they will say it .”

– “Omg that’s ridiculous. Why do they need to do a test , they are 6!”

– “For god’s sake. They are kids no older than 6. They have to learn yet. Leave them alone to be kids.”

– “No way! As an early childhood teacher I completely disagree. Children are put under too much pressure too early on with all the tests they want to gather data. A good teacher would already know exactly where all their children are at without this added pressure at such a young age!”

– “No!!! Ridiculous. There is already too much pressure on our children. Plus testing research is finding it’s not actually improving student learning which is what we need.”

– “No take the pressure of the kids!”

– “Stop pressuring kids!”

Others believe it is a necessity.

– “This is a 5-10 minute screen administered by the classroom teacher, it is not a high stakes test. This screen is vital for early identification of children at risk of learning difficulties so we can provide them with the early intervention they need!”

– “Isn’t this a good thing though ? Early detection and then more support ?”

– “If they had done this when my son was in grade one, we would have picked up on his Dyslexia and early intervention could have been applied. So frustrating.”

Do you think it is the best age to pick up on any learning difficulties?

 Share your comments below

  • I teach Year 1 in the Catholic system and we already have an Early Years Assessment test that highlights any obvious areas of need in Literacy quite clearly. Some students will catch up but early intervention is surely better than waiting and seeing things decline more with students learning.


  • NAPLAN isn’t a test that you need to study for. There is no right or wrong answers. It just is. It’s a screening to see where the gaps are. This is the same. I don’t understand the outrage. I would personally want to know if my child needed further help with language, problem solving or maths. Easier to catch up on these while they are young. Harder to learn as an adult.


  • I don’t mind the idea. At first when I read the headline I though it might be like a Naplan based test, but having read that it’s a simple screening test then I think early intervention to pick up potential learning difficulties in order to facilitate support is probably a positive thing.


  • i think that it is a good idea to try to help identify the kids that may be struggling a bit. I also agree with letting them be kids but you have to foster a love for learning early on in a child’s development and if they are having any issues, they could get discouraged. Plus 10 or 15 mins is not a big deal for a test and rather an age appropriate amount of time.


  • I can’t see how a 10-15 minute test hurts anyone and it’s ultimately to the benefit of the kids. No other students need to know the results of their peers and it will help the teachers know which ones might need more help. I really struggled in maths in school and because of that I’m still not the best at it because I didn’t get enough attention in my early years.


  • The money could be better spent elsewhere. Teachers should be able to see which kids are behind without a test to tell them.


  • Here they talk about a 5-10 minutes screen. All over Internet they show it as a new Naplan in Year 1, but it looks quite different to me.


  • It does seem like a young age but if it can pick up learning problems that it is a good thing.


  • Testing for early intervention is a positive thing, but I don’t think it needs to be an official national test.


  • Any test that actually is designed for early intervention is surely a good thing.


  • I wouldn’t be so negative about it. It looks like a stress-free test, that could give some important information early in school life.


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