The latest figures on school education in maths, science and reading literacy confirms Australia’s school education performance is ‘flat lining’ according to Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett.


The candid admission by the Minister comes after the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2011 and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2011 reports show that while Australian schools are still performing well overall, the nation’s results have not improved since 1995.  


“These results are a wake-up call for the Australian education community, parents and governments,” Mr Garrett said.

“They provide yet more evidence that while we have a good school education system in this country, we need to work together to improve our performance. This was also one of the key findings of the independent Gonski review of school funding.”


The reports concluded that:

  • Year 8 science results have improved significantly since 2007
  • Year 4 maths and Year 8 maths results have remained steady since 2007
  • Year 4 science results have worsened since 2007
  • There has been little overall improvement in all science and maths subjects since the first tests in 1995, although there was a statistically significant improvement in Year 4 maths
  • Indigenous students have improved their performance in maths since 2007, but still perform below non-indigenous students in all three subjects
  • Australian students generally perform between the intermediate and high achievement standards in all three subjects, but around a quarter of Australian students did not meet the intermediate international benchmark across both tests.
  • Australia’s Year 4 students in both maths and science had the fifth widest gap between high and low achievers in OECD countries


Mr Garrett said that the two tests were held in late 2010, before the national curriculum in English, maths, science and history began rolling out and before the bulk of the Gillard Government’s $2.5 billion Smarter Schools investment began to flow into schools.


“Since then, we’ve seen good signs of improvement in schools taking part in the Smarter Schools National Partnerships. We’re also recording improved results in indigenous education since our Closing the Gap investments,” Mr Garrett said.