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ERIC Number: EJ871093
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-0155-2147
Challenging the Achievement Gap: Teaching English in Indigenous Schools
Shopen, Glenda
English in Australia, v44 n3 p9-17 Dec 2009
The most reported outcome of programs for teaching English in Indigenous schools in Australia is that there continues to be a significant gap in the level of attainment of English language and literacy between Indigenous students as a group and other Australian students (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), 2008a, 2008b, 2008c). The notion of the gap is currently maintained using the National Surveys of English Literacy Achievement in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 which are benchmarked against National Standards (Masters & Foster, 1997). Drawing on extensive ethnographic work undertaken in a variety of educational settings in Indigenous contexts, this article challenges the notion that there is a single image of failure that has resulted from English language and literacy programs for Indigenous students in Australia. It argues instead that the potential for success that exists in these programs is sometimes realised in practice but is never assessed as part of policy. Furthermore, it is clear that there are institutional structures, organising principles and cultural values which are so pervasive that they systematically put at risk their potential for success.
Australian Association for the Teaching of English. English House, 416 Magill Road, Kensington Gardens, SA 5068 Australia. Tel: +61-8-8332-2845; Fax: +61-8-8333-0394; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia