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ERIC Number: ED499156
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Nov
Pages: 80
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: ISBN-0-864-31794-8
Supporting English Literacy and Numeracy Learning for Indigenous Students in the Early Years. ACER Research Monograph 57
Frigo, Tracey; Corrigan, Matthew; Adams, Isabelle; Hughes, Paul; Stephens, Maria; Woods, Davina
ACER Press (Australian Council for Educational Research)
Despite some improvements over time, national statistics point to a continuing gap in the average English literacy and numeracy achievement of Australian indigenous students when compared with non-indigenous students. A longitudinal study by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) has been monitoring growth in the English literacy and numeracy achievement of a group of indigenous students through the early years of primary school prior to Year 3. Qualitative data collected during these years provided an opportunity to explore the learning contexts experienced by the students and other factors associated with growth and achievement. Thirteen schools with significant indigenous student populations participated in the project; many were nominated on the basis that they were recognised for initiatives and programs that they had in place to support these students. Study participants commenced school in 2000 and completed English literacy and numeracy assessments in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Indigenous researchers visited the schools and conducted interviews with members of the school communities including principals, indigenous and non-indigenous educators and parents. This report contains an analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data collected. The students who participated in the study came to school with a range of skills and experiences. As a group, they demonstrated a consistent pattern of growth in English literacy skills across time, although not at the same rate compared to a larger group of mainly non-indigenous students who had completed the same assessments in another longitudinal study. The students responded particularly well to the first four sets of numeracy assessments, in Years K and 1, achieving at a higher average level on one of the assessments than the larger group of mainly non-indigenous students; however, growth in achievement slowed considerably by Year 2. Students from the more remote schools performed well on the numeracy assessments, as did students whose home language or dialect was not standard Australian English. Factors that were statistically associated with achievement included: (1) School; (2) Region; (3) Initial achievement; (4) Language background; (5) Attendance; and (6) Attentiveness. The quantitative data analysis focused mainly on student level factors associated with growth and achievement; the visits schools provided an opportunity not only to explore these factors in greater depth, but to identify other factors related to learning that are not as readily quantifiable and to describe the social and cultural contexts of learning for these students in their initial years of schooling. Case study reports were analysed and the following aspects of school and classroom learning contexts emerged as key themes: (1) Cultural diversity and inclusivity; (2) Literacy and numeracy program; and (3) School-community partnerships. Throughout the project, members of the research team met in person and via teleconference to identify areas for further investigation and as a means of cross-referencing case study findings across schools, across time, and with the findings from the quantitative data analysis. Key factors identified as important underlying dimensions in the enabling success outcomes at the schools included: (1) Leadership; (2) Attendance and engagement; (3) Good teaching; and (4) Indigenous presence in the school. (Contains 16 footnotes, 16 figures, and 12 tables.)
Australian Council for Educational Research. Available from: ACER Press. 347 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia. Tel: +61-3-9835-7447; Fax: +61-3-9835-7499; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Council for Educational Research, Victoria.
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A