HORSHAM students are benefitting from targeted learning programs, bucking a nationwide decline in reading, maths and science results.
The latest results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) - a triennial survey of 15-year-old students' key knowledge and skills - painted a picture of a long-term decline in Australian students' reading, mathematics and science skills.
Performance in reading and science was still above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average, but fell below in maths for the first time in the test's history.
State Education Minister James Merlino said state and federal governments must agree to an urgent review of the national maths curriculum at this month's Education Council.
Horsham's Ss Michael and John's Primary School principal Andrea Cox said the school's innovative approach to teaching maths was improving student learning.
"We identified that teachers these days are struggling with the breadth of the maths curriculum," she said.
Mrs Cox said the school engaged RMIT Professor of Mathematics Education Dianne Siemon for a year to unpack the curriculum and work with teachers on improving the course structure and the way content was taught - such as correct language.
"PISA is telling us that our kids don't know how to apply the mathematical processes that we're teaching them," she said. "So we had to take a practical approach."
"We found the students have reengaged with maths and I would even say were excited to learn," she said.
Horsham Primary School principal Chris Walter said the school was "kicking goals" when it came to the reading performance of students.
"Our NAPLAN results have been excellent and show great growth," he said.
Mr Walter said targeted work put a specific strategic focus on reading initiatives which involved teacher instruction and support.
"Two coaches have been working with teachers to devise lessons," he said. "It has been really worthwhile because reading is the backbone of all other learning."
Horsham's Holy Trinity Lutheran College principal Daniel Weller said the results of students at the school were "certainly not declining" when it came to skills in reading, maths and science.
"We are ramping up our opportunities and programs in science," he said.
He said the school encouraged students to study science through electives in year nine and that the introduction of science clubs had been well received.
"Students are actively learning about what it might mean to become a scientist," he said.
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