Covid-19 Australia: NAPLAN results show Victorian schoolchildren being left behind by lockdowns

Evidence that Aussie kids are left behind in an endless cycle of lockdowns, forcing millions out of school – and one state prime minister is the biggest culprit

  • Pandemic has taken its toll on classroom progress in Victoria, test scores showed
  • NAPLAN results found that Victorian students were least advanced in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9
  • Nationally, there was no major downward trend in math and literacy scores
  • But test scores in Victoria didn’t rise at the same rate as the rest of Australia
  • Students in Melbourne learned distance learning for five months during lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on classroom progress in the country’s most closed-off state, Victoria, new test scores have shown.

This year’s NAPLAN results showed that Victorian students made the least progress in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in Australia when comparing each cohort’s reading and math score with what they achieved two years ago.

Students in Melbourne have been learning from home for 150 days since March 2020 – while those in wider Victoria have been banned from the classroom for four months.

Pictured: High school students returning to Bentleigh Secondary College classroom in southeastern Melbourne on July 28.  Students in the city have learned from home for 150 days since March 2020 during the cycle of Covid-19 lockdowns in the city

Pictured: High school students returning to Bentleigh Secondary College classroom in southeastern Melbourne on July 28. Students in the city have learned from home for 150 days since March 2020 during the cycle of Covid-19 lockdowns in the city

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has not yet announced when children in his state will be able to attend school.

Victorian students generally ranked first in all subjects across all year levels.

But the state’s scores have not risen at the same rate as the rest of Australia when comparing third-year students in 2019 and fifth-year students in 2021.

The improvement in scores in the students from Years 5 to 7 and Years 7 to 9 also lagged behind the national average, the Australian reported.

Victorian officials have made efforts to minimize the disruption caused by Melbourne’s six Covid-19 lockdowns since the start of the pandemic.

Education Secretary James Merlino announced a $250 million bailout package in April to get students back up to speed.

Nationally, more than 1.2 million students participated in the NAPLAN tests, which provide an annual snapshot of the student’s current reading, writing, language and math skills.

There were significant improvements in third and fifth year reading, fifth year arithmetic, and third and fifth year spelling, along with a steady upward trend in third and fifth year reading and arithmetic. fifth, seventh and ninth years.

NSW had the best results nationally for Years 3 to 7 in spelling and writing, while the ACT had the highest score of Year 9 in grammar and punctuation.

A student is learning from home in Melbourne during the pandemic.  This year's NAPLAN results showed that in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 Victorian students made the least progress when comparing the reading and math scores of each cohort

A student is learning from home in Melbourne during the pandemic.  This year's NAPLAN results showed that in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 Victorian students made the least progress when comparing the reading and math scores of each cohort

A student is learning from home in Melbourne during the pandemic. This year’s NAPLAN results showed that in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 Victorian students made the least progress when comparing the reading and math scores of each cohort

A downward trend in writing skills for students in Years 5, 7 and 9 has also leveled off, and all year levels showed a steady improvement in spelling.

Education Minister Alan Tudge said he was satisfied with the overall figures, but fears it masks the effects of the pandemic on underprivileged children.

“We expected to have much more reduced results this year,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

What these results don’t show, however, is where the outliers might be.

“I’m particularly concerned about some underprivileged cohorts who have lost so much of their learning capacity that these average numbers hide behind them.”

The authority responsible for developing the national curriculum labeled the results as proof of the resilience of teachers, parents and students,

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews pictured on August 21.  He hasn't announced when kids will be able to go to school in his state

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews pictured on August 21.  He hasn't announced when kids will be able to go to school in his state

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews pictured on August 21. He hasn’t announced when kids will be able to go to school in his state

“It is reassuring to see that our students’ reading and math standards have generally not suffered significantly, despite the major disruptions from COVID-19 and distance learning,” said ACARA chief executive David de Carvalho.

“However, this does not mean that there has not been an impact on specific students or demographic groups.”

The Australian Education Union warned against drawing simplistic conclusions from the ‘deeply flawed’ assessment.

“The narrow focus of the test reduces students to a number on a spreadsheet,” union president Correna Haythorpe said.

“And (it) does not take into account the informed judgment of teachers, the daily learning that takes place in the classroom and issues related to the health and well-being of students that are of major concern during this pandemic.”

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