If your child was involved in NAPLAN testing in 2017, I am sure like most parents, you would have had a slight feeling of uncertainty when the report recently arrived at your home. While the report itself is not complex, it provides for both parents and students a point of comparison from year to year. Parents tell me, however, that their uncertainty is about not knowing what information lies underneath the report.
As the primary educators of their children, parents are partners with the school in their learning, so it is only natural for them to want to know more about what lies behind those dots, arrows and shaded areas. All parents want the best for their children and want to be included in the journey. Finding ways to assist children to reach their potential in literacy and numeracy, as a foundation for a successful life, is everyone’s business.
St John’s parents were able to access their children’s results ahead of the paper copy’s arrival at the family home, through the College online portal. All results were uploaded into our Learning Analytics program as soon as the information arrived at the school. This program allows parents to see more details about their children’s results in 2017 and their progress over time. Such transparency is essential if we really are serious about growing literacy and numeracy skills in our children.
Teachers, too, were able to view individual students’ results and immediately personalise teaching and learning strategies for continued growth in these vital skills. At St John’s, the program has provided the data we need to analyse where students have successfully learned the skills and where there are skills we need to teach again in a way that reaches particular learners.
While the Learning Analytics program is a very powerful tool for teachers to target learning, we regularly upload students’ results from external and internal examinations for our parents to keep in touch. We want to enable them to participate fully in the learning journey throughout the year.
Surprisingly though, the biggest users of the program are our students. St John’s students are keen to do well and are eager to find out how to build on their results throughout the year. I am told, “it’s cool to do well” at St John’s!
Students, under the guidance of their home group teachers in the secondary school, are involved in setting goals for the coming term by entering them into the Learning Analytics program beside their school results.
Transparency is an effective motivator for young people as well as for their parents.
This year at St John’s, students’ results were above the national averages, in all tests at all year levels. We are very proud of their efforts and of the great work our teachers do day after day.