‘Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes’ (QSQO) is an evidence based package of school reforms to enhance learning outcomes for students across Australia. QSQO was released by the Australian government in May, 2016. At the core of this package is a proposal to introduce a national Year 1 check of all students in reading, phonics and numeracy. This ‘Year 1 Check’ will make certain that any students that are behind in their schooling are identified and given the support they need.
Currently, Australia has no nationwide assessment for younger students. This means younger students may be falling through the cracks. This proposal will ensure all students are set on the right track, as early intervention is key to long term educational success.
The Year 1 check will be a stress-free and interactive ‘interview’ style oral test. It will be conducted one-on-one by the students’ regular teacher and aims to take between 5 and 10 minutes. The focus will be on reading, phonics, and numeracy skills.
Literacy checks will likely involve identifying letters and sounds that make up words, which will show if a child understands how language works. In the Numeracy checks children undertake simple tasks, such as counting and recognising shapes and numbers, to demonstrate basic measurement knowledge. These are things that students should already be doing in the classroom on a weekly basis. The Year 1 check will help to identify those students that might need extra support.
Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words.
The Year 1 Check will take place in Term 3 of Year 1, and is likely to be in place by 2019.
Solid literacy and numeracy skills are the foundations on which a student’s education is built. Evidence shows that effective literacy and numeracy instruction in the early years of schooling is critical to students’ academic performance in later years.
Looking at Australia’s recent results in national and international assessments such as NAPLAN and PISA, we are confronted with a decline in education performance. The Year 1 Check will identify, in early stages, those students struggling with literacy and numeracy so that they can receive the help they need to form a solid educational foundation.
The Australian Government has appointed a panel of academic, health and education experts, as well as classroom practitioners, that advise on how to best to develop and implement a national Year 1 Check.
The Panel that designed the Year 1 Check included:
At GEA Junior we implement a phonics program that provides an explicit and systematic approach to learning reading and spelling. This structured approach is beneficial for both initial reading instruction and for students with reading difficulties.
Research has shown that young children, as early as age 3, have an informal knowledge of Mathematics that is more complex and sophisticated than originally thought. It has been proven that young children can learn more interesting and more substantial Mathematics than is introduced in most preschool and kindergarten programs. GEA Junior capitalises on children’s informal knowledge and fosters exploration of mathematical concepts.
To learn more, visit our Junior page: