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ONE in 10 aspiring Victorian teachers is failing literacy and numeracy

Posted on 30 April 2018
ONE in 10 aspiring Victorian teachers is failing literacy and numeracy

ONE in 10 aspiring Victorian teachers is failing literacy and numeracy - the worst result of any state in Australia.

A test of teaching students has revealed Victoria is bottom of the class, second only to the Northern Territory. Future teachers get three chances to pass the test, designed to ensure they have the skills needed for the classroom, and cannot graduate until they do.

Questions include: "The weather bureau forecasts a 20 per cent chance of rain ... what is the chance that it will not rain?" and "Correctly identify the word that most closely resembles 'explicit' - 'extensive', 'simple', 'handson', and 'clearly stated'." Not only did Victoria's teaching students receive the lowest mark of any state - 11.4 per cent failing literacy and 10.3 per cent failing numeracy - their scores were well below the national average.

Education Minister James Merlino said "for too long" Victorian universities accepted students with ATARs as low as the 30s or 40s "purely to boost their numbers and prop up their business model".

"This led to huge numbers of people applying to be teachers in Victoria compared to the rest of the country," he said. "It isn't good enough and it had to change." He said the government increased requirements, with the results of that reform still filtering through.

But Victorian Opposition education spokesman Tim Smith called on the government to "send a message" to the initial teacher education programs with the highest failure rate that they must improve.

"It is simply unacceptable in the so-called 'Education State' that Victoria has the highest failure rate of the Commonwealth government's literacy and numeracy test for potential new teachers," he said.

The Australian Education Union has long campaigned for higher entry standards for teaching courses, with Victorian branch president Meredith Peace saying "only the most suitable students should be accepted".

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said last year's results with more than 23,000 people sitting the test nationally - were lower than the year before but higher than 2015, when the Turnbull Government implemented the test.

He said higher education providers needed to take responsibility for students they accepted into their teacher education programs.

Admission to teaching degrees require a minimum ATAR of 65 this year and 70 by 2019. However, some universities have already promoted courses that enable students to sidestep the new vigorous requirements.

From: Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne  by Ashley Argoon

22 Apr 2018
Tags: TEMAG

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