Niue Primary students outperform their peers in the region in numeracy, reading, and writing – PILNA Report 2021

Niue Primary school students in Years 4 and 6 outperformed their peers in the region and other Small Island States (SIS) in numeracy, reading, and writing according to the findings of the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment conducted in 2021.

Further analysis of the findings found that girls at both levels at Niue Primary school outperformed the boys. 

The assessment also found that there is an increase in the percentage of students at or above the expected levels in numeracy and reading in 2021 at Niue Primary school compared to 2018. 

The Pacific Islands literacy and numeracy assessment 2021 was the first regional large-scale study to provide information about the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and other disruptive events such as natural disasters on student performance in literacy and numeracy. 

Last week, an education specialist assessment from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Educational Quality and Assessment Programme(EQAP) team personally delivered the report to the Niue Primary School and the Education department. 

Minister of Social Services and Education Hon. Sauni Tongatule congratulated the Niue Primary school Principal Carol Edwards and the teachers for the performance of the Year 4 and Year 6 students. 

Carol Edwards is also the Niue National PILNA Coordinator. In September she shared her experience as a national coordinator on the SPC website about PILNA process saying that the assessment tool provides valuable insight into how their students are performing.

“The administration of PILNA produces valuable data needed to better understand the needs of our students. It creates another avenue that allows for the assessment of Literacy and Numeracy skills. This gives us insight into where our students are at and how we as a school can address the gaps in their learning.

It is a valuable tool for our teachers to improve the quality of education in our Nation”, said Carol Edwards.

Edwards said that it was challenging to facilitate and administer the assessments in Niue during the pandemic, when communications was an issue, but she and her team of teachers found ways to work around those challenges.

Communication is difficult during normal situations however navigating zoom sessions with unstable internet connections proved to be even more difficult. Air freight of materials was another area of concern. When you only have one flight a week it makes things just a little bit harder. We did have a misunderstanding with not having enough scripts and had to ask for confirmation to reprint some of the scripts”

Carol Edwards said that the dedication of the teachers to this undertaking was commendable, giving up their holiday break to do the assessments.

“We are grateful for the assistance from our USP centre that enabled us to conduct our training sessions at their facilities which had stable internet connectivity. The teachers that administered and marked the scripts sacrificed part of their holidays to finalize the marking. The dedication of our teachers was exceptional. We had great communication with the EQAP Team and the assistance from the Team was instrumental in the successful administration of PILNA.”

The Director of Education Birtha Togahai in a statement said that the parents at a meeting last week pledged their continuing support to the students and teachers and asked that the school continue to be vigilant and maintain that standard for the next round of Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment in 2025.

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