Boys better at reading, but writing needs work;Digest
This year's national test scores have taken pupils and teachers closer to the Government's literacy and numeracy targets for 2002. Across England, maths scores have gone up by 10 per cent in a year, which leaves another six points to go before the 75 per cent target is met.
Boys are catching up with girls in reading across the country, but they still lag far behind in their writing abilities, according to the test results which were published this month.
Fewer than half of England's 11-year-old boys can write at the expected level 4 standard, while nearly two-thirds of girls have reached that goal. Boys' writing scores have gone up four percentage points since last year, to 49 per cent, while girls' have increased by three per cent. Boys' reading scores have risen dramatically, by 14 per cent, leaving girls only six percentage points ahead in reading.
Nationally, 70 per cent of Year 6 pupils reached level 4 in English, up from 1998's 64 per cent; 68 per cent in maths and 78 per cent in science (69 per cent in 1998). Ministers credit the goverment's focus on literacy and numeracy for the increases, but also have praised teachers for their hard work.
Schools Minister Estelle Morris said increases in the number of pupils achieving level 5 or above in key stage 2 tests across the curriculum showed the literacy and numeracy strategies were "working for all pupils, including the most able." In English, the proportion reaching level 5 or above rose by five percentage points, from 17 to 22 per cent, while in maths that increase was from 17 per cent to 24 per cent.
However, she recognised the problems with writing; education authorities are being given funds to train all teachers of 10 and 11-year-olds in the teaching of writing.
At age seven, the results of key stage 1 tests in England are: reading, 82 per cent at the expected standard (level 2b); writing, 83 per cent; spelling, 71 per cent and maths, 87 per cent.