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Girls lead in Religious Education
    Analysis of test results show Catholic pupils are getting better results than pupils from other denominations, but most pupils struggle to answer questions about Mary and Bible parables.
    A total of 4799 Year 6 pupils from all Sydney Archdiocesan systemic primary schools sat the religious education tests - introduced three years ago - as well as pupils from five congregational primary schools.
    Girls achieved higher scores in all sections than boys, with an average of 80.5% for boys and 85 for girls.
    Catholic pupils outperformed pupils from other denominations, and comprised 90% of the total number who sat the tests.
    Mr Seamus O'Grady, from the Catholic Education Office, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "One of our concerns has been not to test their level of faith because there's always some sensitivity that if students get poor marks, we don't want to say that their faith was not very good. We try to test their knowledge and understanding ..."
    While pleased to see that overall, pupils' results were getting better, Mr O'Grady said this probably reflected that "the teachers are teaching more directly to the tests and the questions are based around what the kids are taught in the schools which gives the kids the best chance to perform".
    The Catholic Education Commission is considering introducing an extension course in religious education for the high performing pupils.
   
SMH
   
17-Jan-01

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