Shocking results expose staggering decline in Qld schools
NEARLY half of Queensland students are below the national standard for maths, 40 per cent are behind in reading and 41 per cent in science, an international report card reveals.
Only 54 per cent of the state's students met the national proficiency standard for maths in the latest OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for 2018.
The test, which measures 15-year-old's capability to use their reading, maths and science skills and knowledge to meet real-life challenges, showed a staggering long-term national decline in all three subjects.
PISA National project manager and ACER deputy CEO Dr Sue Thomson said the results overall, and for Queensland were "disappointing".
"This is about much more than just 'test-taking', it's about how well we are preparing Australia's students for adult life," she said.
Since the three-yearly test began in 2000, the percentage of Queensland students achieving the Australian proficiency standard has declined overall in all three subjects, the biggest drop was in maths (66 per cent to 54 per cent).
For reading the national standard was met by 66 per cent of students in 2000 but declined to 60 per cent in 2018.
And for scientific literacy, 2018 results had dropped by 7 percentage points to 59 per cent since 2000.
Dr Thomson said that the proportion of students who failed to meet the national proficiency standard was "worrying".
"What's going to happen to that 40 per cent that aren't at that proficient standard?" she said.
"What sort of jobs will those people have to go into, will there be jobs for people without those skills?
"We'd like to see everybody improving … there's certainly a lot less high performers and a lot more low performers than there were previously."
Dr Thomson said the students that failed to meet the national proficiency standards don't have the skills "that the OECD think are necessary for students who are working in the next ten years".
The fall of mathematical proficiency to just the OECD average made for an opportunity to review the failure to lift performance, she said.
"It's a good opportunity to stop, have a good look at things, have a review if necessary, look at curriculum, teaching, who's teaching, what they're teaching what the training looks like," Dr Thomson said.
Minister for Education Grace Grace said Queensland faced unique challenges when it came to delivering the best learning outcomes for students.
"We have a high number of small schools in rural and remote areas when compared with other states and have more one-teacher schools than any other jurisdiction.
"But every day our teachers work hard to develop consistent approaches to teaching literacy across all year levels.
"We continue to be above the national average when it comes to science," she said.
Queensland test-takers outperformed the Australian and international OECD averages for reading and science but were 20 and 31 percentage points behind China in those respective subjects.
And while the state's students matched the Australian and OECD average, the country was 45 percentage points behind China.