NAPLAN results: Major education system overhaul after grammar, punctuation, sentence quality drops

Major overhaul coming to Australia’s education system to ensure kids can read and write properly – here’s what you need to know about the changes

  • Declining literacy skills in NSW schools has triggered major education overhaul
  • English curriculum will focus on grammar, punctuation and sentence structure
  • Students encouraged to form a deeper understanding of mathematic concepts
  • This year’s NAPLAN results saw literacy of teenage boy plummet to record lows

Ailing literacy skills across Australia has triggered a major overhaul of one state’s education system with grammar and punctuation the areas most in need of improvement. 

The English syllabus has been redesigned in a bid to improve the literacy skills of NSW students in Years 3 to 10 following a 10 year decline. 

Grammar, punctuation and sentence structure will be at the heart of the new curriculum to help students better express complex ideas and clear sentences. 

A new mathematics curriculum is also due to be released this week and will focus on improving students’ sequencing and reasoning skills. 

The NSW syllabus refresh follows dismal NAPLAN results this year, which saw the literacy skills of teenage boys plummet to record lows. 

One in six boys failed to meet the minimum standard in grammar and punctuation while 12 per cent could barely read at a basic level. 

The English syllabus has been overhauled in a bid to improve the literacy skills of NSW students in years 3 to 10 following a 10 year decline (stock image)

The English syllabus has been overhauled in a bid to improve the literacy skills of NSW students in years 3 to 10 following a 10 year decline (stock image)

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) said the new English and mathematics syllabuses were significant milestones in the curriculum overhaul

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured) said the new English and mathematics syllabuses were significant milestones in the curriculum overhaul

This year’s NAPLAN results revealed girls performed better than their male counterparts, especially when it came to writing. 

According to the results, 81.6 per cent of boys reach the minimum standard for writing, compared with 90.8 per cent of girls. 

Parents who want to improve their child’s writing have been urged by their teachers to encourage them to read more, and widely. 

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the new English and mathematics syllabuses were significant milestones in the curriculum overhaul. 

‘If our NAPLAN results have shown us anything, it’s that we need to focus on the explicit teaching of grammar, sentence structure and punctuation in high school. Focusing on those foundational skills is key to success,’ he said. 

‘It is vital that NSW students are developing strong skills in both literacy and numeracy so they can succeed in school and beyond.’

The new curriculum will be available to teachers during 2023 so they can prepare classes for students and will be implemented in all NSW schools in 2024 (pictured, high school students)

The new curriculum will be available to teachers during 2023 so they can prepare classes for students and will be implemented in all NSW schools in 2024 (pictured, high school students)

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the new mathematics syllabus would encourage students to form a deeper understanding of the concepts. 

‘In other words, students will need to not only know Pythagoras’ theorem; they will need to be able to explain how it works in practice and why,’ she said. 

A new core-paths structure will replace the current three-tiered approach to better prepare students for HSC maths – which will be mandatory from 2025. 

The new curriculum will be available to teachers during 2023 so they can prepare classes for students and will in implemented in all NSW schools in 2024. 

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