Strategic approaches to improving student outcomes

Home > News and Events > 2020 > December > Strategic approaches to improving student outcomes

16 December 2020

students taking NAPLAN test

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has recently profiled 24 schools around the country that consistently deliver strong progress in NAPLAN assessments of reading, writing or numeracy, including two Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne: St Bernadette’s School, Sunshine North, and St Kevin’s College, Toorak.

ACARA Chief Executive Officer David de Carvalho said the 24 schools profiled are not necessarily those that achieve high average results, which are often strongly correlated with socio-educational advantage. ‘Rather, the focus is on schools that are doing something intentional and that is resulting in progress between NAPLAN scores that are consistently above expectation over several years.’

Principal of St Bernadette’s Joanne Webster says her school is proud to have achieved above average progress in writing over the past five years by adopting innovative pedagogical practices, informed by evidence, at both whole-school and classroom levels.

‘At a school level, we utilise and analyse both big and small data, including NAPLAN results, to inform our strategic direction.

‘This provides us with the ability to identify gaps in learning, as well as implement targeted professional learning for teachers to build their pedagogical knowledge and practice to meet student needs.

‘We have also implemented a “leader/co-teacher” model where leaders work with teachers, enabling shared responsibility for the students’ progress.

‘The leaders act as mentors and coaches assisting teachers through modelling of strategies and providing feedback. Leaders and teachers collaboratively plan sequences of learning for the students, while simultaneously building teacher capacity.

‘Significant resources are invested in the junior years in particular, teaching students to read for meaning, and to write to convey a clear and coherent message.

‘With 87% of our students coming from a language background other than English, our school is particularly proud of the improvements we have been able to achieve’, Mrs Webster said.