On Tuesday the NAPLAN results for 2019 landed and there was a mixed bag of good and bad.
On average across the nation, girls are outperforming their male counterparts in four of the five testing areas: Reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy.
Although they might be performing worse at literacy, boys are doing better at maths.
The final results of the controversial testing system show writing improved across all years in all states and territories compared with the previous year.
But for years 5, 7 and 9, those results are still lower than the base year of 2011, when first-time comparable tests were done.
The biggest gains were those made by Indigenous students and those with a language background other than English.
In every state and territory, Indigenous students came well in behind their non-Indigenous counterparts, but it wasn’t all bad news.
Since 2008, Indigenous students have improved at twice the rate of the general population.
Migrants also did well. Children who came from non-English speaking homes performed, on average, better than non-migrant children in writing, spelling and grammar.
Within the national average, each state and territory performed differently.
Throughout the test results, there was only one clear consistency – parents’ education and their jobs directly correlate with how well students do.
Parental occupations are broken into four groups.
At the top sit senior managers and qualified professionals, then business managers and associate professionals, followed by tradespeople, clerks, and skilled office, sales and service staff and, finally, machine operators, hospitality staff, assistants and labourers.
Across all states and territories at all age levels and all tests, the higher the parents’ job group and education, the higher the child’s results.
Head of national testing authority ACARA, David de Carvalho, described the results as a national upward movement.
“I don’t think we can get too excited about this at this stage. One swallow does not make a summer,” Mr de Carvalho said.
“But if this was to be repeated, this kind of improvement in the coming NAPLAN results, it would be an encouraging trend.
“What happens in 2020 will be an important source of information about what might be behind the change.”
The results showed the beneficial way NAPLAN could call attention to problems.
“We’ve had a national debate about our declining writing results in NAPLAN over the last few years,” Mr de Carvalho said.
“One possible explanation for the uptick last year was that the renewed efforts and focus on writing that has been undertaken across jurisdictions is bearing fruit.”