The Productivity Commission’s research paper released in June 2016 analyses ACARA datasets for Year 3 and Year 5 primary students that link student demographics and school characteristics to NAPLAN results. The results of their analysis show that for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, more than two thirds of the variation in achievement is related to student characteristics. For Indigenous students, while the impact of socioeconomic background on student achievement is visible, it is comparatively small. Even when student demographics and school characteristics are taken into account, Indigenous students still achieve lower on average than their non-Indigenous peers.
The Productivity Commission warns that a ‘one-size fits all approach to Indigenous education’ is unlikely to be effective, and recommend quality instruction that is tailored to individual students. They suggest that this quality instruction needs to be complemented by strategies that the Stronger Smarter Institute recognises as key components of the Stronger Smarter Approach:
- a culture of high expectations in schools (for teachers and students)
- strong teacher-student and community relationships
- support for Indigenous culture
- building a strong Indigenous education workforce.
These findings are supported by Lewthwaite et al (2016) – see our Reading Review of this paper – who call for a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy’ to support Indigenous students.
Read our review of the Productivity Commission’s report
Read a two-page summary of the review
The Productivity Commission report is available at