Wry & Dry

Zero Rs R Us: more education flailings

Ah, the heady days of learning the three Rs: reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic.

Hot on the heels of last week's damning report of the quality of Australia's Year-4 school children's maths and science comes another damning educational report.  

Readers will remember from last week that Australia came 27th globally in the Year-4 tests.  That result suggests that our primary school teachers, or more likely their bosses, are not up to scratch.  W&D's irreverent comment that at least we would be #1 in gender studies brought some delightful mail.  All of which suggested that readers would prefer primary school children to spend more time and understanding on maths and science than on matters that are perhaps best left to parents.

This week's report is that Australia's Year-9 students have fallen one full school year behind their global counterparts in just 12 years [1].  The subjects?  Maths, science and reading.  Sort of basic stuff, W&D would think.

Looks like Zero Rs R us [2].

And it's not just the expected Asian countries that rank ahead of Australia...


The big worry is that the various state education ministers and education department heads are strangely silent about the results.  Perhaps not so strangely; why draw more attention to your own failings?  And if they spoke, they'd probably talk about the lack of money and resources.  

OECD's research accompanying the PISA study states that, after adjusting for socio-economic and other factors, educational spending per child is not a significant driver of educational success. 


[1]  PISA - Program for International Student Assessment - is an international school snapshot for 15-year-olds conducted by the OECD.

[2]  A sort of a pun on the original Toys '"R" Us.  At its peak Toys "R" Us was considered a classic example of a retail category killer, a business that specialises so thoroughly and efficiently in one sector that it pushes out competition from both smaller specialty stores and larger general retailers.