New 2023 NAPLAN results reinforce the need for Mastery Schools Australia

The 2023 NAPLAN results demonstrate the perilous state of education in Australia, while contrasting and affirming the successful education model of Mastery Schools Australia. 

The new classification system has highlighted for the first time the extent of student failure in Australian schools. Approximately 30% of students are behind the expected standard and 10% of students are significantly behind. What is worse, is that research has shown that as many as four to seven of these students never catch up. This is a monumental waste of human potential and the root cause of untold misery and suffering for students, families, and teachers alike. 

A significant reason for the overall poor results is a lack of understanding about and implementation of the Science of Learning principles. Contrasting the poor results have been outliers of individual schools and the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. The common element amongst the outliers has been implementation of the Science of Learning principles. These are centred around an awareness of how attention, memory, and motivation work. Teaching primarily through an explicit and direct instruction approach is central to operationalising this. 

The fact that 10% of students are significantly behind their peers demonstrates the need for a re-evaluation of how students with learning difficulties are catered for in Australian schools. The current model of withdrawing students from regular classes for remediation is well meaning but flawed because of the structural deficiencies with the schooling model. Three half hour sessions per week with a dedicated learning support teacher will make little to no difference no matter how talented the teacher. Similarly, the model of assigning teacher aides to struggling students to sit with them and give them extra assistance has already been shown by research to be ineffective, but our schools and systems persist, no matter the human and financial cost. 

At Mastery Schools Australia, the Science of Learning underpins all our educational approaches. Our classrooms are set up to maximise student attention and reduce cognitive load. Our lessons are taught deliberately and carefully in small steps with frequent checking for understanding and repetition to enhance memory and retention. Student success leads to improved motivation and self-esteem of our students. 

Our structural design of teaching students exactly where they are at with specific and targeted support ensures that all students have the support that they need to learn. The best proof of this was the average standardised test scores in 2022 which showed an improvement of 2 years and 1 month for reading and 1 year and 5 months for mathematics. 

Hopefully the success of Mastery Schools Australia and others will lead to a broader re-evaluation of how schools operate across Australia so that all students have access to a high-quality education. 

Written by MSA Director Michael Roberts 

Enrolment Expressions of Varsity Lakes

Enrolment Expressions of Interest Cairns

Enrolment Expressions of Interest Melbourne

Enrolment Expressions of Interest Springfield