The Pacific Island Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) is an assessment for Year 4 and Year 6 students

Permanent Secretaries and Literacy and Numeracy experts from 15 Pacific Island Ministries of Education are in Fiji this week to discuss crucial aspects of the region’s next numeracy and literacy assessment.

The workshop, convened by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP), is aimed at revisiting the Literacy and Numeracy Regional benchmarks that were reviewed in September 2016.

These benchmarks will be used to develop the 2018 Literacy and Numeracy framework and the test blue prints. With these in place, test items will be developed to be trialled in October 2017 on some Year 4 and Year 6 students.

The Pacific Island Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) which is supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme was initially carried out in 2012, then 2015 and is now headed towards its third cycle in 2018.

The Pacific Community’s EQAP Director, Dr Michelle Belisle stated that apart from developing some aspects of assessing the students’ knowledge and skills on literacy and numeracy (cognitive instrument), the workshop also aims to share information on the sampling strategies and finalize commonalities that would need to be investigated in a contextual questionnaire.

This workshop follows the Pacific Board of Educational Quality (PBEQ) meeting, a strategic time to discuss ways in which the assessment of basic skills of Pacific children will impact Pacific education at large and vice versa.

The 2015 PILNA assessment involved 45,000 students from some 700 schools in 13 countries.

Results highlighted how girls demonstrated higher performances in numeracy and literacy across the region and substantial improvement on numeracy achievement across the region as students progressed from Year 4 to Year 6.

Participating countries had taken their 2015 results and made headways in incorporating their PILNA recommendations and agreed intervention strategies.

“We hope the workshop will iron out issues relating to PILNA as a regional mechanism and also country needs during this preparatory phase as a national assessment,” said Dr Belisle.

The workshop concludes this afternoon.

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SPC is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting sustainable development since 1947. It is an intergovernmental development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members.