Outcomes of the National Accelerated Literacy Program in the Northern Territory, 2004 - 2007

Year: 2009

Author: Robinson, Gary, Tyler, William, Bartlett, Claire

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The National Accelerated Literacy Program (NALP) aimed to improve educational outcomes for students, particularly Indigenous students in the Northern Territory. The National Accelerated Literacy Program (NALP) commenced in the Northern Territory in late 2004, when the Northern Territory Department of Education (NTDET) committed to implementing the program in 100 schools, training 700 teachers and reaching 10,000 students in predominantly remote locations by the end of 2008.

This paper presents major findings of the evaluation of the NALP in the Northern Territory to 2008. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the challenges faced by the evaluation of an ambitious intervention of the scale and scope of the NALP, to describe the research methods adopted and to present the main learning outcomes of the NALP in the Northern Territory (2006-2008). The findings of multilevel modelling of student outcomes point to significant proportions of Indigenous and non-indigenous students showing accelerated gains in some, mainly urban contexts, but very low rates of accelerated gain in other contexts, particularly for very remote Indigenous students with low reading age at initial assessment. Reasons for and responses indicated by this "bifurcation in outcomes" are set out in discussion of findings and the conclusions to the paper.