There are serious concerns following the release of an assessment of literacy and numeracy competency in Aotearoa's schools.
The assessment found 64 percent of students met the minimum reading standard and when it came to numbers, 56 percent passed the test.
But when it came to writing, only a little over a third of candidates met the standard.
The PPTA is now calling for an "urgent pause" on an overhaul of NCEA to allow teachers and students time to catch up on reading, writing and maths.
Literacy coach Liz Kane told Newshub the results of the report are "not surprising".
"[It's] incredibly sad what we're seeing."
Kane's concerned about young Kiwi kids who will enter adulthood without the right tools.
"These are real kids, these are 14 to 15-years-olds, who are struggling with literacy, they're going to move on further into adulthood, they're going to be adults in our society who will be illiterate."
The statistics apply to high school students but Kane told Newshub the problem starts well before that.
"That's looking after the wellbeing of our little five-year-olds when they arrive at school, moving away from just giving kids books right at the beginning. It's going to a logical, systematic step-by-step approach."
National's education spokeswoman Erica Stanford got the results on Friday afternoon and said they are "truly alarming".
"They're actually worse than results from the pilot last year and given they've tweaked things for them to be slightly better."
Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti put the results down to an imperfect pilot, even putting the onus back on schools.
"We know that schools are giving feedback that there's a cultural appropriateness that needs to be taken into account. We also know that not all schools are sitting this as a pilot as it's deemed to be sat."
But Stanford said that's rubbish.
"They can try and blame it on delivery and cultural competency but the fact is after five years of Labour and billions of dollars spent in education our results are so much worse."
The NCEA overhaul is due to arrive in 2024, leaving barely a year to lift the grade.