How we’re helping your kids succeed

You might remember, in primary school, making your way through a number of red, blue and green coloured reading books.

These books tested your reading and literacy skills – in areas like pronunciation, spelling, fluency, meaning and understanding.

Once you mastered one colour you moved on to the next. Or maybe you skipped a few colours. Perhaps your teacher spent extra time with you on the ‘green’ books, until she thought you were ready to move on. Maybe you remember a kid who got help from a reading recovery teacher or a teaching assistant to catch up.

These colour coded books were designed to measure the progress, or the significant steps, you were making on your reading journey.

Understanding your child’s ongoing progress and the significant steps in their learning, is just as important in today’s education system as it was for you. This focus helps teachers to see how your child is doing day by day and week by week. It then helps them, on the basis of their judgement and observation, to adjust their teaching practices to better support your child with a particular problem, or get them extra help if they need it. It also means that parents like you get a clear understanding of how your child is progressing on a regular basis, and how you can work with their teacher to help them do better.

As a parent you also know that setting goals including goals for saving or studying is really important. It helps you focus on what you want, and what you need to do to get there.

It’s much the same with education.

Today, more children and young people are participating in early childhood education, or achieving NCEA Level 2 than ever before. That’s great news. But, as some of you will know, there are areas, such as maths and writing, where we need to ensure that every child can make good progress in learning every year.

But what we have found that is that when we set targets, for example, to have at least 85% of our young people achieve NCEA Level 2, it focuses our efforts, and our educators, on the most important skills our kids need to progress in their learning. Having targets also makes it clear what we need to do to help teachers enable more kids to make the progress they need to succeed.

So the Government is setting some new targets in maths and writing for all our children.

By 2021, we want at least 80% of kids in Year 8 to be achieving at or above the National Standard in maths and writing, or reaching Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori expectations in pāngarau and tuhituhi. Reaching the 80% target will mean that, in 2021, 5400 more Year 8 students will be at or above the Year 8 standard in mathematics or pāngarau that year, and 5900 more students in writing or tuhituhi.

Strong foundation skills in maths/pāngarau, writing/tuhituhi by the end of primary school gives students more choices in their education and enables them to succeed in their learning across the curriculum.

The new targets will also encourage schools to work with all children facing maths and writing challenges much earlier in their education. This early identification will support children’s progress as they move along their personal learning pathway into further education and training, and then on into employment. 

Seeing how all children are progressing in their learning allows your child’s teacher to provide extra help, or different help, so that your child is on track to succeed in their education.

We have also designed some tools to better track and measure your child’s learning progress on a regular basis.

Our Learning Progression Framework (LPF) shows our teachers more about the expected learning steps in mathematics, writing and reading. And our Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) helps them to make more accurate and consistent judgments of each child’s progress. Teachers using PaCT find it helps them to better judge if a child’s progress is stalling or falling. They can then quickly get those kids the help they need to get them back on track.

PaCT means less hassle for teachers. It gives them more time to teach, because it reduces the time needed for assessment. PaCT data follows your child throughout their learning. So, if your child moves school, their new school has a reliable record of their previous progress. Teachers don’t need to repeat assessments, nor does your child. You can ask your child’s teacher if they are using the PaCT tool to help your child to progress in their learning.

If we want all of our kids to progress in their education, we need to give them all the best teaching that we can.

This is why we have established almost 200 Communities of Learning│Kāhui Ako throughout New Zealand. These bring schools, early learning centres and tertiary institutions together to work to help all our learners’ progress. These communities benefit from new teaching positions to help keep our best teachers in the classroom. In them, our best teachers also get time to share great teaching practices within and between schools, and between schools and early learning centres.

The new targets we have set in maths/pāngarau and writing/tuhituhi, the supports we are giving our teachers to better understand how every child is progressing, and the extra resources available to our Communities of Learning, are all designed to work together to increase educational success for all children. 

 

 

 

 

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