Abstract: For five years now, a national testing program has been conducted in Australia. While there has been much agitation and concern about the merit of this program, particularly for students in very remote Australia, it remains a cornerstone of the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia. The National Assessment Program provides a basis for measuring improvement against the goals of the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians and subsequently the National Education Agreement, which embodies a range of Council of Australian Governments (COAG) goals and targets, including Closing the Gap targets. After five years it might be expected that the data would show some change. The Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation's Remote Education Systems project is midway through a five year research program, which is particularly interested in outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who live in remote communities. To this end, the project has used existing publicly available data drawn from the MySchool website to determine what has happened for schools in very remote Australia. The analysis shows that for very remote schools enrolments are trending down for both schools with greater than 80 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student population and also those with less. Similarly, average school size is tending to fall for both groups. School attendance rates have not changed significantly over the five years. Reading scores at any year have not changed significantly over the five years for either group of schools or for any jurisdiction. Numeracy scores have declined significantly for year 3 in schools with greater than 80 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The decline was significant at a jurisdictional level for Queensland and the Northern Territory. Year 7 numeracy scores have declined significantly for schools with up to 80 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. While a large part of this paper is devoted to presenting the findings of the analysis, the broader aim of the paper is to question what the findings might mean for the provision of an advantageous education for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. It raises questions about issues of accountability, equity and how success might be better defined.
John Guenther, 2013, Towards educational advantage in very remote Australia: An analysis of 2012 NAPLAN data: what does it tell us about remote education in the last five years?, Conference Paper, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=2944.