Graduate Aussie teachers must pass mandatory literacy and numeracy test

Newly graduated teachers must now pass a mandatory literacy and numeracy test before gaining a position in Victorian schools. Source: Getty

Recently graduated teachers hoping to secure themselves a position in a Victorian school must now undertake and pass a literacy and numeracy test before entering the classroom.

The Department of Education and Training Victoria announced the change on Tuesday, which will see any aspiring teacher complete and pass the test in order to gain employment.

Previously, around one in 20 teachers had been approved to work in state, independent and Catholic schools throughout Victoria despite failing or not even undertaking the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education (LATITE). These teachers were handed what is known as  provisional registration and were allowed to teach on the grounds they pass the test within the first two years of teaching.

However, that will soon become a thing of the past, with new rules indicating there will be no way to bypass the test or fail, and still secure a teaching position. From January 1, 2o19, only those who have completed the LANTITE can be registered as a teacher and work in schools in Victoria.

Speaking out about the changes, Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said the state is leading the way when it comes to raising the bar for those wanting to become a teacher.

“Great teaching changes lives,” he said in a statement. “In fact, aside from a child’s immediate family, teachers have the greatest impact in their development.

“That’s why we expect so much of them and also why we are making sure all new teachers meet literacy and numeracy standards before they teach our kids.”

In the test, teachers are faced with a range of questions to gauge their basic literacy and numeracy knowledge. For example, they may be presented with a passage of text and have to underline spelling errors or incorrect punctuation.

As for numeracy, teachers are given multiple choice questions and tested on their understanding of things such as percentages, distance and weight.

Although the questions may seem simple to some, others, like 3AW radio presenters John and Ross were left a little stumped. Following the announcement on Tuesday, the pair decided to test out their own skills and see if they could pass the test.

They were presented with four literacy questions, and one in particular had them scratching their heads. Both presenters incorrectly answered the question relating to punctuation in a sentence and the placement of commas, full stops and quotation marks.

The announcement by the Victorian Government follows shocking news in 2017 that Australia ranks 39 out of 41 high- and middle-income countries in quality education. The report compiled by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found 71.7 per cent of Australian 15-year-old achieve baseline results in reading, maths and science, The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time.

This was compared to Finland which recorded 81.4 per cent of children of the same age had the minimum standard of knowledge in these areas.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it’s a good idea to enforce the rules around the literacy and numeracy test?

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