Alarming student learning gaps: report

17_Alarming student learning gaps report

By Rashida Yosufzai
(Australian Associated Press)

Bright kids attending disadvantaged schools will be years behind low-achieving peers in better-off schools.

That’s one of the findings of a new report into student learning gaps published by the Grattan Institute on Monday.

It found “alarming” and increasing gaps in learning as students move through school grades.

The report, analysing NAPLAN data, found high-achieving students at low socio-economic schools will make two and a half years less progress than low achievers in high socio-economic schools.

Many of those falling behind have parents with poor levels of education.

Those kids who are already behind by 10 months in Year 3 will find themselves more than two years behind by the time they reach Year 9.

Students in disadvantaged schools make around two years less progress between Year 3 and Year 9 than similarly capable students in better-off schools.

“Disadvantaged students are falling further behind each year they are at school, on our watch,” the report said.

The institute says policy makers should focus on learning gaps and give better support to target teaching at each child’s need.

It also calls for more help for disadvantaged students.

The report comes amid a renewed unions push for the government to commit to needs-based schools funding.

The Australian Education Union has launched an advertising blitz to convince voters of the need for Gonski funding ahead of the federal election.

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