Innovative programs fuel NAPLAN success

Students at Sydney Catholic schools have shown excellent growth in their learning as measured by the 2018 NAPLAN tests, a credit to programs in place to advance students’ essential skills in reading, writing and numeracy.

Data released yesterday showed students made impressive gains in skills and knowledge as they moved through primary and secondary school, with some classes progressing at around 150% of the national average rate of learning growth in numeracy.

Primary school numeracy results were particularly impressive, with over one-fifth of all Sydney Catholic systemic primary schools showing learning growth of 20 points or more above the national average, and many more showing progression ahead of the typical national rate.

Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) Director of Teaching and Learning Genevieve Moss said this reflected the success of research-based initiatives such as the Mathematical Expertise and Excellence program, which enables students to learn through problem solving within a culture of high expectations for all.

Our teachers are to be congratulated for their great commitment, and professional expertise

– Dr Dan White

The SCS-exclusive program is now in use at well over half the system’s 114 primary schools, and plans are in place to bring it to secondary schools in the near future. It helps students develop their understanding of Mathematics through explicit teaching that responds to the needs of individuals and promotes a culture of high expectations and success for all students from any given starting point.

“The program works with schools in support of teachers to develop their Mathematical expertise and build on their experience in teaching Mathematical concepts,” said Ms Moss.

“We’ve already seen significant growth in the skills and confidence of teacher’s capabilities through professional development that we’ve offered as part of the program. Students benefit also through being highly engaged in learning that is personalised to their needs.”

Holy Spirit Catholic College Lakemba students displayed strong learning growth in literacy

Reading gains across primary and secondary schools were also strong, and led by schools where many students speak English as an additional language or dialect.

Holy Spirit Catholic College Lakemba, Patrician Brothers College Fairfield and other schools with high EALD populations recorded growth as high as 18 points above the national average.

Principals credited the advancement to ensuring literacy was a focus in every subject, a key element of the Sydney Catholic Schools program Literacy: The Next Step.

Executive Director Dr Dan White, who will retire just after Easter, said the results were wonderful news to end on as he wound up his time as the teacher and leader of more than 70,000 students and thousands of staff.

“These outstanding results are a tribute to the way our teachers work in collaborative learning teams in analysing student data and in planning these specific interventions to meet the needs of every child”, said Dr White.

“Our teachers are to be congratulated for their great commitment, and professional expertise in lifting literacy and numeracy standards across the Archdiocese.”

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