Students attending private schools are performing better than students attending government schools in both literacy and numeracy, according to the Benchmarking for Education Results (PaBER) report which was published last year.
The report says that there are a number of challenges and ways in which this may hinder literacy and numeracy outcomes.
According to PaBER, education continues to be a high priority of the Government of Samoa and has resulted in some remarkable achievements including a very high adult literacy rate, of close to 99%.
“Virtually all children have access to primary education and around 90% of Grade 8 completers have access to secondary education. Despite these achievements, the quality of education, as measured by functional literacy in national test results, has been unsatisfactory and consistently declining.”
Furthermore the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment 2012 results, says that “only 8% of Year 6 students are performing at the satisfactory and expected level with 50% not yet working towards the expected level for Literacy.
“For Year 6 numeracy, 34% of students performed at the satisfactory and expected level with 36% not yet working towards the expected level, with girls doing better than boys. “Similarly in Literacy, there are more girls than boys that are performing at satisfactory and expected levels.”
PaBER says that regarding learning outcomes, the PILNA conducted in 2012 as part of the PaBER pilot “indicated some worrying results.
“The majority of students assessed are still at the critical level in literacy (50.0%) and numeracy (36.0%) with girls marginally outperforming boys in both literacy and numeracy.
In terms of school locality and school authority, students in urban schools performed better than those in rural schools, and similarly students attending non-government schools outperformed students attending government schools. “Trends seen in 2012 PILNA are also seen in the Samoa Primary Education Literacy Level (SPELL) Results in the subsequent years.”
According to the PaBER report some schools perform better than others but it was unclear why.
“The PILNA results clearly showed that some schools are achieving good learning outcomes. The research was able to look at these differences so follow up analysis could be undertaken to look at high performing schools and understand what they are doing that could be applied more broadly.
According to the PILNA results there are significant differences between public/private and urban/rural schools.”