No matter how data from NAPLAN is represented, or what very minimal progress has been made over the years, we cannot ignore or sugarcoat the fact that Indigenous children in remote and very remote locations are being significantly out performed by non-Indigenous students and students living in metro locations. One clear statistic shows that between 40% and 60% of Indigenous children in very remote locations across WA, SA and NT are achieving below minimum standard in Reading in Year 3. This is certainly something as a nation we cannot ignore.
Our Foundation’s vision and approach to raising literacy levels is focused at a community level. Our focus is on early exposure to appropriate and quality books in the home and community through the supply of books.
We strongly support first language and culture, and work with community to translate books which represent both English and first language. We are also committed to encouraging and supporting story writing and the development of community stories through publications.
There are sets of challenges, strengths and levels of involvement in each of the communities we work in but we continue to build on our relationships with these communities and develop to find ways of supporting them.
The Closing the Gap Report 2015 shows:
• School attendance rates are as low as 14% in very remote areas of Australia.
• Unless addressed, there may be no overall improvement in halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy capabilities of Indigenous children by 2018.
• Between 2008 and 2014 the proportion of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students at or above the National Minimum Standards in reading and numeracy has shown no statistically significant improvement nationally in any of the eight measures (i.e. Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in reading and numeracy).
• In 2014 only 34.9% of Indigenous students in very remote areas met or exceeded the National Minimum Standards for Year 7 reading. Results for non-Indigenous students show less variation by area remoteness, but for Indigenous students the gap is much wider in very remote areas than it is in metropolitan areas.
• About 70% of Indigenous students achieved Year 5 national minimum standards in reading and numeracy. There were significant declines in some states across some year levels. The NT has the lowest proportion of children achieving minimum standards.
The 2014 Naplan Test results show:
• Only 2 out of 10 children in very remote parts of the NT are achieving at or above the minimum standard for reading in Year 3. This drops to only 1 out of 10 by the time a child reaches Year 9.
• 57% of Indigenous students in Year 3 in the NT achieved below the national minimum standard in numeracy
• More than 65% of Indigenous students in Year 3 in the NT achieved below the national minimum standard in reading, persuasive writing, spelling, and grammar and
• More than 75% of Indigenous students in Year 5 in the NT achieved below the national minimum standard in persuasive writing
• More than 60% of Indigenous students in Year 5 in the NT achieved below the national minimum standard in reading, numeracy, spelling, and grammar and punctuation.
The OECD’s latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results show:
• There is about 2.5 years gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous literacy rates in Australia.
Other research shows:
• Only 24% of people in remote communities have a school that goes up to Year 12, while only 29% have a school that goes up to Year 10.
• 36% or less people in remote communities have access to a library