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Literacy test feud at an end;Briefing

AUSTRALIA. For the first time, primary pupils in every state and territory will have to sit national literacy tests once a year.

Federal and state education ministers have agreed to end a feud and adopt a national standard. Children aged eight and 10 will sit the national tests and those who underperform will be given extra help.

The agreement follows months of negotiations between the states and federal education minister Dr David Kemp over the tests' content and timing. The federal government had planned to introduce national literacy benchmark standards last December, but held off at the request of the states.

Dr Kemp said literacy was"the foundation of opportunity in the information age. We now have a commitment that every Australian child will reach astandard of literacy that will allow them to continue successfully with their schooling."

The agreement on literacy is linked to a new set of national goals that spell out eight key learning areas.

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