Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said that more than 13,000 students studying to be teachers sat the Turnbull Government’s new Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students in 2016 to ensure they have personal literacy and numeracy skills in the top 30 per cent of the adult population.

Birmingham said the test was one of the Turnbull Government’s schools reforms that ensure graduate teachers coming into the system have strong literacy and numeracy skills before entering the nation's classrooms.

“Australians rightly expect that only the best teachers are teaching in our schools,” Birmingham said.

“I’m encouraged by the strong results in 2016 that saw an average 92.6 per cent pass rate for the literacy component of the test and 91 per cent pass rate for the numeracy component, compared to 92 per cent and 90 per cent in the trials of the test in 2015.

“Those numbers jump to a 95 per cent pass rate for literacy and 94.2 per cent pass rate for the numeracy component when the data is adjusted for those students who sat the test more than once.

“A pass rate of approximately 95 per cent for overall students shows this test is driving excellence. Those students, who have initially failed, have worked with their university to bring their skills up to scratch.

“That’s good news for Australian students and their families and is a credit to our new teachers.

“While there have been improvements in the numbers of people passing the test, the results also show why the test is necessary to stop under-skilled graduates being able to be registered to teach this and future generations of children.

“While it’s clear that many different skills and competencies make up a great teacher, a solid grounding in literacy and numeracy is essential for all prospective teachers to be able to foster the development of these critical skills in students.

“We know that skilled teachers are essential to lifting student outcomes and this test helps ensure we have educators in our classrooms with strong levels of literacy and numeracy skills.”

Birmingham said that while some states and universities with teaching students had embraced the value of the test, other jurisdictions and institutions were playing catch-up.

“It’s clear that when nearly one in 20 initial teacher education students are not meeting the expected minimum level of literacy and numeracy skills, that the Test provides a level of quality-assurance for schools, principals and families,” he said.

“Since we announced the Test in February 2015 I’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback and it’s been welcomed by families, students and teachers across the country as an evidence-based tool that will help drive improved student outcomes.

“These results will also help higher education providers to ensure their courses meet public expectations and provide the necessary support for initial teacher education students.

"It is the responsibility of providers to ensure they are giving their students the support and assistance to meet the requirement to have personal literacy and numeracy skills in the top 30 per cent of the adult population.”

Minister Birmingham said the Test was one of the Turnbull Government’s teacher education reforms designed to boost the quality of graduates.

“Our teacher education changes are designed to improve the quality of teaching courses and align them to the expectations of principals and school leaders, as well as to lift the standards of those courses with the students they accept and graduate,

“At a classroom level, we’re also working to implement more than a dozen reforms in schools that focus on outcomes in literacy, numeracy and STEM subjects, ensure the best teaching practices are being used and better preparing our children for life after school.”