Students and teachers on their NAPLAN numeracy success

St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School Ashfield students celebrate their NAPLAN results

Students from Sydney Catholic schools who achieved well above average learning growth in the 2018 NAPLAN tests have credited hard work and lots of assistance from their teachers, while staff have acknowledged collaboration and data in helping children succeed.

Primary school students across the archdiocese recorded incredible learning growth in numeracy in the 2018 test, with research-based initiatives such as the Mathematical Expertise and Excellence program noted by SCS experts as crucial to students’ skill and engagement.

We continue to foster a learning environment that favours self improvement and empowerment

– Susan Bonello

St Finbar’s Catholic Primary School Sans Souci Principal Susan Bonello credited her school’s numeracy success to the hard work of her staff in implementing the Mathematical Expertise and Excellence program and other modern initiatives.

“Our teachers engage in professional development and spend many hours planning, collaborating, providing support and feedback to each other and utilising data to ensure all students grow in their Mathematical knowledge and skills,” she said.

“We continue to foster a learning environment that favours self improvement and empowerment so that all our students are able to achieve their best in all areas of the curriculum.”

Year 6 St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School Ashfield students during a Maths lesson

Collaboration key

Children at St Therese’s Catholic Primary School Lakemba recorded some of the best numeracy growth in the archdiocese, making strides 33 points ahead of the norm.

Principal Kelley Conlan said he felt his school’s results reflected the close watch staff kept on student data and the strength of systemic links between Catholic schools, adding that St Therese’s hadn’t implemented the Expertise and Excellence program long enough for it to impact results. 

The NAPLAN results offered us few surprises, we already knew that our children were making gains in their learning

Kelley Conlan

“We have been part of a project with other Catholic schools in our area that has allowed for a dedicated literacy and numeracy coach to raise teacher capacity,” he said. “This raised our ability to assess and develop intervention programs to target the students’ needs and therefore achieve.”

“We also utilise the combined skills and expertise of our teachers to assess students in a timely manner through the use of a data team approach. Teachers can then develop intervention programs to cater for the child’s immediate needs.”

“We are extremely proud of our students and the improvements that they have made, but the NAPLAN results offered us few surprises. We already knew that our children were making gains in their learning, just not how well they were achieving against the general population.”

Year 6 students St Vincent’s students (L-R) Celeste Kovac, Suryansh Raisinghani, Terry Fong, Joseph Young and Stella Ribeiro

Support essential

Children at St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School Ashfield credited their success in the test to hard work and lots of support from their teachers, saying staff at their school love Maths. 

They were guided by educators to target their learning, so they could focus on the areas where they needed to work hardest. 

“We do a lot of Maths, it’s extremely important,” said James Young, Year 6. “It helps you in daily life, for example shopping, you need to calculate the amounts of currency you need to buy certain items and also in jobs, you’ll need those necessary skills,”

We do a lot of Maths, it’s extremely important

– James Young

“[Teachers] split us into groups and they showed us our good stuff and what we need to improve on,” said Suryansh Raisinghani, Year 6. “Then they started teaching us everyday how to improve our weaker skills,”

“If you don’t have a go in your weak areas, you will never touch it again and that might effect your future.”

“I really focused on what the teacher was saying,” said Celeste Kovac, Year 6, “because I knew that it’s probably going to come up in NAPLAN, and if I listened a lot it would help with the test.”

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