Reporting on progress supports next learning steps
For Hillside Primary School in Central Southland, measuring and reporting on students’ progress across the breadth and depth of the curricula is business as usual.
Principal Tina Shaw says Hillside has reported to parents on their children’s progress against the curriculum levels and areas for some time. “So the removal of National Standards hasn’t changed much for us.”
Being a small rural school with just two mixed level classes, having a good understanding of where each student is at, the progress they are making, and the learning opportunities and support each student needs to move forward, is essential.
All of the students’ work is done through integrated inquiry.
“When we plan an inquiry, we bear in mind the learning objectives for each area – it’s very structured, and our students have input to that,” says Tina. “This year, all our inquiries were chosen by the students.”
Tina and her staff use the Progress and Consistency Tool to help them check in with how their students are progressing and the next learning steps.
“It’s good to use a range of assessments and tools to inform judgements and reporting. The Progress and Consistency Tool is a piece of the puzzle when it comes to reporting to parents, and provides reassurance that what we think is good work, really is good work.
“We find the tool is very useful in helping to see where each student is in their learning. It assists in creating a meaningful narrative to describe the learning, behaviour and skills of each student. It also helps to identify areas of strength and weakness, and next steps to move students onto the next stage.”
Reporting progress to the Board
Hillside uses the Progress and Consistency Tool for reporting to the Board. Chair Polly Hudson says, “It really confirms for us that the children are doing well. It clearly identifies if there is any area that needs improving or if any child is not making the progress they should.
“We get feedback from students who have moved on to secondary school, and from their parents, that our students are exactly where they should be in their learning, if not further ahead – which reassures us that we’re doing well.”
A glowing ERO review backs that up, with reviewers noting that teachers clearly identify strategies and implement processes that are leading to accelerated progress and achievement: “All children who need to make progress in their learning are identified, individually planned for and are closely monitored within the class.”
Helping to understand curriculum
Like Hillside, Otatara Primary School in Invercargill was an early adopter of the Progress and Consistency Tool, and a mentor school. The school’s SENCO Anna Rowe-Dean works with teachers who are new to the school and says the tool is particularly useful for helping beginner teachers to develop a broad and deep understanding of the curriculum.
“When we have a new teacher join our staff, we formalise the expectation they will use the tool twice a year at reporting time. It makes the curriculum very visible and provides a powerful way of looking at the curriculum.
“Helping our new teachers to use the Progress and Consistency Tool means that it becomes one of the tools in their kete that they can go to if they are [wondering about] a student.”
Principal Sharon Livingstone says teachers use the tool to inform their OTJ. “They can use it as a way of checking, verifying, looking critically at the OTJ they have made about a child.
“Our leadership team values the opportunity to support and encourage teachers to utilise the Progress and Consistency Tool as one of the tools in their kete when making curriculum judgements, particularly for students whose achievement may be bridging two levels.”
Update on guidance
Updated guidance for schools using The New Zealand Curriculum was published on assessment online(external link) at in June, including stories from eight schools that illustrate a range of approaches and methods schools can use to affirm or adapt their approach.
Guidance for kura and Māori medium settings working with Te Marautanga o Aotearoa on how to use Te Waharoa Ararau to support the collation of student progress and achievement information for reporting was published on the Te Waharoa(external link) Ararau website in June.
Further guidance will be available later this term, including support for using Rukuhia Rārangahia to guide aromatawai and reporting.
Supporting schools to focus on progress
A Curriculum, Progress and Achievement Ministerial Advisory Group and Reference Group have been formed to support work with the sector on progress and achievement across the curriculum.
In June feedback was gathered from more than 2,000 educators, learners, parents/whānau, iwi and community members, reflecting wide-ranging views and experiences.
More information is available on the Education Conversation website(external link).
Any changes arising from the Ministerial Advisory Group’s recommendations will be implemented in partnership with the sector, with input from students, parents, whānau, communities and iwi.
In the meantime, schools and kura have access to a range of practical tools and guidance to support assessment and reporting.
The Learning Progression Frameworks describe the significant learning signposts that students reach as they develop their expertise in reading, writing and mathematics in Years 1 to 10.
Teachers can use the Progress and Consistency Tool to see the progress that their students make against the Learning Progression Frameworks and then track that against the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum. Together, the two tools provide valuable information to support teaching and learning conversations and guidance on next steps.
The local curriculum design toolkit, initially developed for Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako(external link), will soon be available to assist individual schools and kura to review and co-design a local curriculum with their community that engages all learners and reflects their identities, culture and language, and those of their whānau.
There are four aspects in each of the English and te reo Māori tools: Coherent Pathways, Rich Opportunities for Learning, Relationships for Learning and Collaborative Inquiries in English, and Te Whare Wānanga, Te Herenga Tāngata, Te Ara Tika and He Akoranga Rangatira in te reo Māori.
This article originally appeared in the Education Gazette.
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