Reading and numeracy still lag in high school

SCHOOL students around the country are doing better, but reading and numeracy in high school are still lagging, the latest five-yearly report on education outcomes reveals.

The report, to be released today by the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council, updates the past five years of education achievement in Australia.

It found governments around the country were making progress on early education and Year 12 completion rates, which saw 85% of young people graduate high school in 2011.

Council deputy chairman Professor Greg Craven said the high school certificate results were up from 82.8% in 2006.

"While governments are not on track to meet COAG's target of 90% by 2015, it looks like they will meet the target in 2020 which was the original deadline for the target," he said.

He said the results were also linked to parents' academic achievement, showing the heartening results may increase over future generations.

But he was disappointed with results showing little improvement in reading and numeracy scores in high school.

"Down the track we should see the benefits of the early childhood reforms flow on to better primary and high school results," he said.

"This and the benefits of the increased rates of Year 12 attainment, bodes well for improved education outcomes in years to come."

Prof Craven said education reform had to be seen as a long-term commitment, rather than a "quick fix".