Australia has improved its ranking in PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) 2016 report that was released on December 5, 2017. The study assessed the reading literacy of 10-year-old (Year Four) students from 50 countries. A total of 1580,000 students were assessed in the study.
In 2016 report, Australia improved its position by six places to earn 21st rank. In 2011, the country was at 27th position among the 45 countries studied. Australia scored 544 points in 2016, compared to 527 points in 2011.
Russia, Singapore, and Hong Kong got top three ranks in the latest report. All Australian states and territories showed improvement in their rankings except the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), whose performance was down by four percent, according to the Guardian. The best-performing state was Victoria, where 86 percent of the students were able to meet the international reading benchmark. Victoria was followed by the ACT and New South Wales.
Students from the Northern Territory and South Australia failed to perform up to the mark, with only 75 percent students meeting the international standard.
The study also revealed that about one-fifth of the Australian Year Four students are lagging in their studies and failing to achieve the international benchmark. The performance of indigenous students was found to be far poorer than non-indigenous students. Only 57 percent of the indigenous students could meet the intermediate literacy benchmark, compared to 83 percent of non-indigenous students.Simon Birmingham, Australia's Education Minister, has expressed his satisfaction over the results. However, he emphasized the need for more work to further improve the standard of education among children in Australia.
"This is an encouraging report card but it's also clear there's no room for complacency. Australian educators and policymakers must keep focused on what needs to be done to further boost student outcomes," Birmingham said in a media release.Australia's performance was better than New Zealand, Spain, and France, and on par with Canada and the United States.
PIRLS assessment is carried out by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). The primary aim of this study is to assess reading literacy skills of Year Four students in different countries. The survey helps participating countries identify the gaps in opportunities and learning resources for students and make better decisions for the improvement of educational policy in those countries. PIRLS study also lets researchers gather detailed information about the experiences that students get in their schools and homes while learning to read.