Defining and assessing the school readiness of Indigenous Australian children

Nicholas McTurk, Tess Lea, Gary Robinson, Georgie Nutton, Jonathan R. Carapetis

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    Abstract

    The research evidence that underpins the school readiness of Indigenous Australian children is reviewed in this article, followed by identification of issues requiring research attention. Two key questions are considered:

    1. How is school readiness defined and how applicable are definitions to Indigenous contexts?

    2. What methods of school readiness assessment are applied to Indigenous children and are the tools appropriate or effective?

    General definitions of school readiness are outlined. An ecological view defines school readiness as ready services, schools, communities and families. This view is scrutinised in detail to consider whether services, schools and communities are ready to promote Indigenous children's education. Extended families are pivotal social constructions in many Indigenous contexts. The extent to which this is recognised in the ecological view of school readiness is assessed. Thereafter, the methods of assessing children's school readiness are reviewed, highlighting the shortfall in techniques specifically designed and validated for Indigenous Australians and the variable applicability of the techniques currently in use.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-76
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
    Volume36
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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