Why the LANTITE is bullsh!t

Owen Harvey gets on his soapbox about the LANTITE for teaching students.

Imagine that great day when you finally complete your university degree. You’ve worked three+ years for this. It’s undoubtedly been tough, but you’re ready and willing to join the workforce and start earning money while contributing to society.

But wait, what’s that? The federal government has decided that you should complete a new test, one to make sure you are “well trained, skilled and knowledgeable”. Well that’s annoying. I thought being able to complete my undergraduate, perhaps even my postgraduate, would’ve confirmed I was well-skilled, but I guess they want to make sure I’m ready. I’ll begrudgingly sit this literacy and numeracy test if I have to. I sure wish I had gotten an official notification about this though, rather than relying on occasionally inaccurate information from university tutors, news websites and Facebook friends.

You go to register online, but you find that there are only six sessions in Newcastle in late May, and they may be booked up already. Remember, you need to complete this test before you can work. (Don’t worry, more tests are coming in August, October and November 2016!) And let’s not discount the possibility that these sessions may actually be happening while you are working on an unpaid practicum or internship. Luckily it only takes four hours to complete the tests. *N.B. this doesn’t account for time spent organising around other commitments like work or family, studying for the test, travelling to and from the venue, registration or waiting for results.

But anyway, let’s assume you’ve managed to register for a test. Now you’re asked to pay the test fee of $185. Why on Earth are you expected to pay so much just to prove you can read and count? You never expected this fee when you started your degree, and why does a computer-based test require such an exorbitant fee? You’re essentially paying $1.42 for each of the 130 questions you’re expected to answer in the test. I sure hope you pass because if not, it’s another $92.50 per test and months of stressful waiting until you can attempt again. Gee, who would’ve thought it’d cost so much in order to start earning a pay check?

This is the situation facing several thousand students expecting to graduate from UoN and other universities around Australia with teaching degrees by the end of 2016. The Language and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students (LANTITE) is a compulsory test that teaching students need to sit and pass prior to graduation.

Around 10% of students failed this test during the pilot study. Some of those “failures” may be the most passionate, inspiring teachers, but are unable to teach immediately due to a few missed marks. For example, think of those potential English teachers who vowed never to touch a calculator again unless absolutely necessary. They are now expected to use skills they potentially haven’t practiced in years in order to please politicians.

I understand that the government wants better teachers, even if it’s just a way to please voters. But this is a superficial, ingenuous attempt that inconveniences potential teachers with an expensive, unnecessary test. LANTITE should either be abolished or subsidised and incorporated into university programs rather than tacked on as a potentially stressing afterthought that wastes time and money. Education students should have already proved themselves by getting into and completing the program. It’s insulting to students and education providers.



Image: Karl Baron, Flickr, no changes made.


  1. Rachael 24 August, 2017 at 15:38 Reply

    Bull shit test and nerve recking and it is a test that does not test your literacy. Somewhat, the numeracy is better programmed. 4 lengthy comprehension which is unnecessarily confusing is 3/4 of the test which is ridiculous to determine the literacy skills.
    Most questions are twisty and poorly worded as well.

  2. Peter 14 April, 2018 at 09:27 Reply

    Terrible test. Way to lengthy for the 2 hours you are given to do it. I spent 5 years completing an under grad, post grad with 12 weeks of teaching placement driving and hour everyday to get to the schools I was assigned to. All of this now just to fail my tests on 2 attempts each, waste emotion, time and money trying to prove now that I’m capable of teaching Health and PE

  3. Maria 24 April, 2018 at 07:18 Reply

    What an absolute, insulting joke. Ok you can read, write and count but can an Initial teacher manage a classroom of students with extreme behavioural issues, ie, that incredibly intense that the school must go into Lock – down for the safety of other terrified students or teachers??

    Based on my 38 years experience as a teacher, the answer is NO. Universities need to focus on classroom management strategies, identifying potential whole school disruptions.
    You simply can’t teach if you can’t manage the class.

    Academics need a reality check. Get back into the over crowded classroom with limited resources and see how they fair!! Teaching most days is a bonus.

  4. John Taylor 29 May, 2018 at 16:30 Reply

    Oh dear…after 4 years of study, being assessed by academics and field placements, undergrads should not have to do this test.Literacy and numeracy is assessed with each ongoing assessment. Being on field placements, I have witnessed less than impressive educaors using c2c, blackline copies etc, to teach classes. These weary teachers need the LANTITE, not recent grads! I have read newsletters and posts by these ‘experienced’ teachers whose grammar and spelling leave a lot to be desired. Maybe make LANTITE for those whose gpa is below 5 might be better applied.

  5. Lanna 30 May, 2018 at 22:01 Reply

    Oh God
    I am a Maths teacher, I applied to graduate then I received an email telling me about the new graduate requirements, I worked hard for 5 years. Never ever failed any task then they just put my degree on hold. I paid about $ 40000 HECS, let alone any other expenses. I had been fighting for 2 years but no success. I didn’t achieve so random standards 3 times in the literacy component.
    If you think that the pas mark is 50% then you are wrong. It is most likely over 75%. I am a Maths teacher and I know how this works.
    If you want to read more please chick the following petition

  6. Arc 20 July, 2018 at 11:36 Reply

    A HD student and have completed my course and cant teach because I dint clear one test called “lantite.” This is disappointing !! The test doesnt even ask the right questions to measure the literacy level of the teachers to teach at school. I was never told about this exam until I enrolled myself into units. Money game! Well done uni’s and government, just because you have the power.

  7. Christine WILBERFORCE 20 July, 2018 at 12:59 Reply

    LANTITE is an unecessary assessment placed on beginning teachers, especially when you consider that it’s introduction was unclear and some students had already begun their degrees. To gain a teaching degree, you would have needed to pass through an acctedited course and the relevant Numeracy and Literacy units to obtain your degree. So why the need for these tests?? And lm paying each time l sit these tests!

    Im a competent and passionate teacher that loves teaching, but am in a position of uncertainity because l dont do great in performative tests..
    I have worked since l graduated in Dec 2016 but this one 2 hour test is holding me back. My confidence is tenuous, my motivation to jump through any more hoops, is wavering – and all l want to do is teach and keep on learning. Bureaucratic bull@#$^ is playing havoc with my livelihood.
    Being a stay at home mum of 3 kids, and carer for a husband now in remission from cancer for the last 15 years, gave me great skills that are not necessarily measurable against a traditional test.

    And don’t get me started on the accumulation of HECS that l now have and took onboard when l began my course expecting l would gain my degree and work.
    Overall, an abolishment or major overhaul needs to occur to LANTITE. Whoever thought it would be a great idea to introduce halfway through degrees needs their head examined. Fools!!!

  8. Shane Bell 2 August, 2018 at 18:30 Reply

    LANTITE is like NAPLAN for Uni students. If we don’t achieve a pass by end of our 4 years, we don’t deserve to teach. In other words, the onus and accountability lies with the Universities!
    The problem the Govt sees is the lack of quality teachers in our schools-maybe it is those teachers that require sitting for LANTITE exams, not the fresh graduates

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