The second stage of the 2011 NAPLAN testing results have been released, following the September release of the initial NAPLAN Summary Report and the distribution of individual student reports.
The National Report provides a detailed analysis of how students in various year levels, states and groups in society performed on a national scale in each of the four testing domains of Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (including spelling, grammar and punctuation) and Numeracy.
While the test provides a helpful snapshot of how students are performing and improving across the nation, parents have been warned not to place too much emphasis on the tests.
Victorian Principals Association president Gabrielle Leigh said "People place too much emphasis on the tests and we had situations last year where Year 3 students were under immense stress."
"The results are just a snapshot and not a reflection on students' work over a year."
Key patterns of difference displayed in all year levels:
Gender: In all year levels, girls have typically performed better in areas that test verbal skills such as reading and writing, while boys have performed better on tests of numerical skills, including mathematics and some aspects of science.
Geographic location: Average scores are highest in metropolitan areas, followed by provincial areas, remote areas and very remote areas. Similar patterns are evident in all states, excepting Victoria, where students from remote locations performed exceptionally well and typically outscored provincial students
Parental education and occupation: Mean scores are highest for students whose parents have higher levels of education and work in more senior occupations. The National Report states that ‘students whose parents have not completed school and/or are not in paid employment face the greatest challenges, both in achieving the national minimum standards and in achieving higher levels.’
Indigenous students: In all year levels, the report states that the percentage of students estimated to be working at or above the national minimum standard is significantly lower for Indigenous students than non-Indigenous students. The differences in performance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students are substantial across Australia, but are greatest in the Northern Territory and, in some year levels, are less in numeracy and greater in persuasive writing than they are in other areas.
non-English language background students: The general level of achievement among non-English language background students typically matches that of English background students, but there is greater variation in the performance of non-English language background students, which means that there are typically more at the lower and higher ends of score distributions and slightly more in the lowest achievement bands.