NAPLAN fails children with communication impairment

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Research from Charles Sturt University (CSU) has shown how children with communication impairments fare far worse in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) than typical children and most have no access to speech pathology services.

The research was commissioned by Speech Pathology Australian (SPA) and completed by Professor Sharynne McLeod, Professor Linda Harrison and Dr Cen Wang from CSU’s Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE).

The research showed children with communication impairment achieved significantly lower scores on every NAPLAN subtest (reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy) in years three, five and seven, compared to children with typical speech and language skills.

“For the first time we have been able to demonstrate a correlation between students with communication impairments and poor NAPLAN test outcomes,” Professor McLeod said.

“The research shows students who begin school with a communication impairment are more likely to perform poorly in NAPLAN and this trend continues throughout their schooling.”

The research also confirmed that between 86.8% and 97.9% of children between years three and five with a communication impairment had no access to a speech pathologist in the previous 12 months with access reducing over time.

“Australia is behind when it comes to providing children with access to a speech pathologist through the education system and this needs to be addressed if we want to see all children achieving their best and overcoming communication impairments,” Professor McLeod said.

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“If we want to improve NAPLAN outcomes, then we need to provide targeted support in our schools for students with these disabilities. That means providing school-based speech pathology services,” Ms Gaenor Dixon, National President of Speech Pathology Australia said.

The research also showed that children with a communication impairment were more likely to be excluded from NAPLAN testing than children with typical speech and language skills.

(Source: Charles Sturt University)

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Date Created: October 15, 2015 Date Modified: October 19, 2015