Publication Date



Basic skills, Government schools, Learning, Literacy,,Minimum competency testing, Numeracy, Primary school students, Student assessment, Test construction, Year 3, Year 6, Profiles, Program descriptions, Basic Skills Testing Program, New South Wales


The 1989 Basic Skills Testing Program in New South Wales provides the most comprehensive picture yet compiled of literacy and numeracy learning in Australian primary schools. In 1989, some 53,800 Year 6 students in NSW government schools were tested in five aspects of literacy and numeracy. Another 2,300 Year 3 students took part in a pilot study. This book discusses the writing of the tests, the analysis of results, and the reporting of results to parents, teachers and schools. The aim of the basic skills tests is to describe, in positive terms, the skills that students have mastered, to identify areas in which students have special strengths and weaknesses, and to provide guides to further learning. The picture that emerges from this study is of widespread success in learning. The results point to much good teaching and a fine start in learning for most primary students. But this generally optimistic picture is over shadowed by the performances of some students who have not yet mastered essential Year 6 skills. Part I of the book describes the skills typical of students performing at each of five skill levels in each of five areas of learning (Reading, Language, Number, Measurement, and Space) on the tests. Part II shows how different subgroups of students performed on the tests. Results on each aspect of literacy and numeracy are reported separately for girls and boys, students with non-English-speaking backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and several age groupings. Part III explains and gives examples of reports mailed to parents, more detailed reports given to teachers, and summary tables generated for each school. Part IV describes procedures used to develop BSTP tests and to analyze students' results in preparation for reporting. Numerous test items are presented.

Place of Publication

Hawthorn, Vic.


Australian Council for Educational Research


0 86431 067 6

Geographic Subject

New South Wales