Literacy and numeracy are fundamental to a young person's school achievement, life long learning and productivity as a global citizen.
Literacy is essential to every young person’s ability to develop as an individual, to live a satisfying and rewarding life and to actively participate in society. Literacy encompasses the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret, use and reflect on ways of written, verbal and visual ways of communicating. Young people need literacy skills to access knowledge, develop understandings, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express their thoughts and emotions, present their own ideas and opinions and interact with others. Additionally, literacy is a fundamental skills for engaging in activities in and out of schools, and for learning across the curriculum.
In 2015, NAPLAN results revealed that 13.17 per cent of year three students, 20.2 per cent of year 5 students, 20.92 per cent of year seven students and 30.97 per cent of year nine students in South Australia performed at or below the national minimum standard for literacy across the four key skills of reading, spelling, persuasive writing, and grammar and punctuation. Overall, South Australian students in year three ranked 7th, students in year five ranked 6th and students in year seven and nine ranked 5th compared to all eight Australian states and territories.
Young people who struggle with literacy skills are unable to communicate effectively and often leave school early, and are more likely to be unemployed or in low-skill jobs. Young people who fail to cope with the demands of reading and writing will also have more problems with self-esteem, confidence, attitude and motivation.
Numeracy is fundamental to young people’s ability to use mathematics confidently in and out of school, across the curriculum and in their futures to lead a functional and productive life. Numeracy encompasses the knowledge, skills and dispositions required of young people to recognise and understand the role of mathematics in their lives as global citizens and to use mathematical knowledge and skills purposefully and broadly.
In 2015, NAPLAN results revealed that 19.4 per cent of year three students, 20.8 per cent of year five students, 17.9 per cent of year seven students and 20.9 per cent of year nine students in South Australia performed at or below the national minimum standard for numeracy. Overall, year three and year five students ranked 7th and year seven and nine students ranked 6th compared to all eight Australian states and territories.