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Thursday, February 12, 2015

How would you go answering the numeracy and literacy tests new teachers are expected to undertake?

I read the article at the link below and whilst I think I'm a bit of a rebel at times, I do think teachers should reach a basic acceptable level in numeracy and literacy, if it is considered an important aspect of their profession.

It does concern me however that such tests are only going to be performed at the end of a course, which in my opinion is far too late. A lack of skills should have in most cases been evident before people were admitted into a course and certainly assessed during the course. If there is a problem in certain areas this should have been picked up and the person not allowed to proceed. This simply feels like a pointless exercise after the event. Another level of bureaucracy that could be avoided.

How do you think you would go based on the example questions in the following article?

Now here is another interesting thought. With most tests you're allowed a certain level of errors. Based on my observation of year 12 results and other test results I've observed, the average result appears to be around sixty four per cent. Would future teachers simply have to attain a pass of around fifty per cent and thus be below average?

It is important to keep in mind that none of us are perfect and we'll all make spelling, grammar and typing errors. Teachers are just people. I know from my interest in words that finer aspects of my skills have evolved considerably over the last 12 years. Would I have passed the numeracy and literacy test had I become a maths/science teacher? I have no doubt I would have, but I also know there would have been much room for improvement.

As long as teachers reach an acceptable level of numeracy and literacy skills and endeavour to continue to grow those skills over time, I think we have a good system.

The work I do with the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary is really about lifting our written work to the next level. To be better than we would be with the writing tools such as Microsoft Office, or the browsers we currently use. It never hurts to become better at what we do, but often that simply takes time and practise.

Kelvin Eldridge
Creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

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