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Literacy and numeracy tests

One of the NSW Great Teaching, Inspired Learning (GTIL) reforms announced in 2013 was that from 2016 teacher education students would need to pass a literacy and numeracy test prior to their final professional experience placement. The test would ensure that graduate teachers have personal literacy and numeracy levels at least equivalent to those of the top 30 per cent of the population.

In December 2015, Education Ministers across Australia agreed to follow the NSW approach and, from 1 July 2016, teacher education students across Australia will need to pass a national literacy and numeracy test prior to completing their course.

The Federal Government has confirmed that the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER), who developed and trialled the test in 2014 and 2015, will implement the national test from 2016. This follows the trialling of the national test in August/September 2015 and the provision of a NSW-specific administration of the national test called the Literacy and Numeracy for Classroom Readiness (LANCR) test in February 2016 for a targeted group of NSW final year students.

From 1 July 2016, students completing a NSW teacher education course will need to have passed an approved literacy and numeracy test to be eligible for Provisional Accreditation. Any graduates who have not met this requirement before completing their course will need to make arrangements to sit the national literacy and numeracy test as soon as possible. These graduates will need to provide evidence of successfully passing the test to be eligible for Provisional Accreditation.

Currently approved tests are the:

  • the August/September 2015 trial of the National Literacy and Numeracy Test;
  • the National Literacy and Numeracy Test for initial teacher education students;
  • the NSW LANCR test; and
  • the ACT Canberra Teacher Recruitment Assessment (CANTRA).

Any final year students who have not met this requirement before completing their course will need to make arrangements to sit the National Literacy and Numeracy Test as soon as possible. These graduates will need to provide evidence of successfully passing the test to be eligible for Provisional Accreditation.

Test administrations have concluded in November 2016 and registrations for future administrations will be available in 2017.

Upcoming administrations of the National Literacy and Numeracy Test are scheduled for February/March and May/June 2017. Registrations will open on on 20 January 2017 for the February/March test window and on 18 April 2017 for the May/June test window. Further information on the February/March and May/June 2017 test windows is available on the ACER website, alongside more general information on the National Literacy and Numeracy Test.

Why have there been different literacy and numeracy tests?

In August/September 2015, there was a trial of the National Literacy and Numeracy test which was voluntary for students. This test was sometimes called the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE). Students who passed that test will have their results recognised across Australia.

In February 2016, NESA (previously BOSTES) arranged additional administrations of the same national test calling it Literacy and Numeracy for Classroom Readiness (LANCR). This was arranged for 2016 final year students who were scheduled to undertake their final professional experience and complete their course by mid-2016. Again students who passed that test will have their results recognised across Australia.

The ACT Education and Training Directorate had arranged a similar administration of the national test, calling it the Canberra Teacher Recruitment Assessment (CANTRA) in November 2015, for students seeking to apply for teaching in ACT public schools.

Will NSW students have to do a NSW and a national test?

Any student completing a NSW teacher education course from 2016 who hasn’t already passed either the LANTITE or LANCR test, will need to pass the National Literacy and Numeracy test.

I had to complete extra units in numeracy and literacy to enter my degree. Do I still have to pass a literacy and numeracy test?

Yes. The extra units in numeracy and literacy were part of your university’s admission requirements and should have been completed well before your final year. From 2016, an approved literacy and numeracy test will confirm that you have personal literacy and numeracy levels at least equivalent to those of the top 30 per cent of the population.

I live in NSW but am completing my teaching degree online through an interstate university. Do I need to do the national literacy and numeracy test in 2016?

Each state and territory is responsible for determining how the National Literacy and Numeracy Test will be implemented. You should check with your university or the Teacher Regulatory Authority responsible for that provider regarding their expectations.

I am studying through a NSW university but live interstate/overseas. Do I have to travel to NSW to undertake the test?

All students will now have the option to sit the test under live supervision using a personal computer in a suitable location with internet connectivity. This is known as remote proctoring and is offered to students residing in Australia or overseas.

What is the pass mark for the national test?

The pass mark or benchmark in the national test has been set to measure literacy and numeracy skills that are at least equivalent to those of the top 30% of the population and relevant to teaching.

What happens if I haven't passed the national test and I’m about to complete my course?

Your university will advise you on whether you are eligible to graduate.

If you have not passed the National Literacy and Numeracy Test before completing your course, you will not be eligible for Provisional Accreditation in NSW. You will need to make arrangements to sit for the National Literacy and Numeracy Test as soon as possible in 2017 and provide evidence of successfully passing the test to be eligible for Provisional Accreditation.

If I fail the national test will I still be able to be accredited as a teacher in NSW?

Passing an approved literacy and numeracy test is now a requirement for Provisional Accreditation for graduates of NSW initial teacher education programs from 1 July 2016.

If you have completed a substantial part of an accredited teaching degree you may be given Conditional Accreditation. You will need to provide evidence of successfully passing an approved test to be eligible for Provisional Accreditation.

See information on applying for accreditation.

What if I pass the literacy but not the numeracy component? Can I still graduate and be accredited as a teacher in NSW?

You will need to pass both the literacy and numeracy components and are able to register to re-sit a test component that you did not initially pass.

We will need to have passed both the literacy and numeracy component in order to be Provisionally Accredited.

Do I need to pass the national test before my last professional experience placement?

In NSW, it has been a requirement that 2016 final year students will have passed the national test prior to their final professional experience placement. Due to the release of the national test part way through 2016 and the timing of test windows, provision of results and the prior scheduling of placements, this may not always be possible for all students.

From 2017, it is expected that all teacher education students will sit for and pass the national test well before their final professional experience placement.

What if I am completing my course in 2017? When do I need to do the national test?

Your provider will advise you on the preferred time to sit for the national test. This should be well before your last professional experience placement.

I have a disability. What special provisions will be available for sitting the national test?

You may apply for special testing conditions. See information on special conditions.

How do I register for the national test?

You need to register on the ACER test website.

Will I have to pay to sit the national test?

There is a fee for both components of the national test. Read more information about the payment.

Why has a literacy and numeracy test been introduced for teacher education students?

Quality teachers are crucial for an overall improvement in student learning outcomes. As a graduate teacher, you will need to apply and adapt your literacy and numeracy skills to meet individual student needs, and particular teaching methods and environments.

The test will be a single, independent and consistent demonstration that graduates have the personal literacy and numeracy levels at least equivalent to those of the top 30 per cent of the population.

Testing the core skills of literacy and numeracy is one of 47 Great Teaching, Inspired Learning Reforms that the NSW Government is implementing to improve the already high standards of teaching in NSW.

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