4.5 Literacy & numeracy

It is well known that education is important for the overall wellbeing of children. However, numerous studies have found that children in care have poorer education outcomes than other children.

This indicator uses results from the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy to assess if children in care are achieving at or above the national minimum standards for reading and numeracy.

Children ‘in care’ are those whose care arrangements have been ordered through the Children’s Court, where parental responsibility for the child or young person has been transferred to the Minister/Chief Executive.

For all indicator displays, where all years of data are comparable over time an ‘All’ category will be provided as an option in the ‘Year’ drop down display. If only a selection of specific years are comparable, these years (e.g. 2017 to 2019) will be provided as an option under ‘Year’ and ‘All’ will not be an option. See the footnotes for this indicator in the supplementary tables hyperlink below for further information.

See the supplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.

Indicator technical specifications

The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.

National Framework Indicator 4.5 Literacy and numeracy: Proportion of children on guardianship and custody orders achieving at or above the national minimum standards for reading and numeracy
For Year 3, 5, 7, 9
  1. Reading
  2. Numeracy
Definition Data source
Numerator
  1. Number of children in care who achieved the Year 3, 5, 7, 9 national minimum standards for reading
  2. Number of children in care who achieved the Year 3, 5, 7, 9 national minimum standards for numeracy
a, b. AIHW Linked child protection and NAPLAN dataset
Denominator
  1. Number of children in care who achieved the  Year 3, 5, 7, 9 national minimum standards for reading
  2. Number of children in care who achieved the Year 3, 5, 7, 9 national minimum standards for numeracy
a, b. AIHW Linked child protection and NAPLAN dataset

Explanatory notes

Australian national minimum standards for literacy and numeracy have been developed as part of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

The AIHW dataset was created through the linkage of data from the Child Protection National Minimum Data Set (CP NMDS) and the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), for available states/territories. Further information is provided in the AIHW 2015 report Educational outcomes for children in care: linking 2013 child protection and NAPLAN data.

NAPLAN data are only available for selected school year levels. The NAPLAN tests are conducted in May each year for all students across Australia in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, on the assessment domains of reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy.

Children ‘in care’ are defined as children whose care arrangements have been ordered through the Children’s Court, where parental responsibility for the child or young person has been transferred to the Minister/Chief Executive. Only children who were ‘in care’ at the time of NAPLAN testing (for example, 14-16 May 2013) are included in the data source.

For both sub-measures, the numerator includes the assessed students who achieved the national minimum standard (i.e. ‘present’ students whose test score was at or above the national minimum standard). The denominator includes all assessed students (i.e. all ‘present’ and ‘exempt’ students); exempt students are deemed to be below the national minimum standard. Absent and withdrawn students are excluded from the calculations.

See the supplementary table for this indicator for further information and footnotes about these data.