Two Queensland schools are among 24 around the country which have been profiled by the nation's top curriculum body to uncover the secrets to NAPLAN success.

Kurwongbah State School in Petrie and Middle Park State School, southwest of Brisbane, are among 24 schools where student performance has improved significantly, which have been profiled by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Explicit teaching, including using clear learning goals and success criteria for lessons, generating and analysing assessment data to inform teaching with highly specific approaches for each student, teacher professional development, and fostering teacher collaboration were common among schools with strong improvement.

The schools profiled were those that had achieved progress beyond what was expected, and are making strong gains year after year.

 

Middle Park State School Principal Anne Kitchin with students Ruth, Alex, Isabel, Dom, Miles, Poppy, Lila, and Oliver. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Middle Park State School Principal Anne Kitchin with students Ruth, Alex, Isabel, Dom, Miles, Poppy, Lila, and Oliver. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

 

Middle Park State School implemented a whole-school literacy program with a reading to learn approach, a strong focus on writing, and gave teachers hours and hours of professional development as a way of boosting student improvement.

Principal Anne Kitchin said part of the school's approach over the past five years saw students move through the school with the same framework each year, helping them to improve.

"Teachers are taking data four times a year on children's writing and working on high-yield strategies to improve writing, they use that to inform their teacher.

"The teachers are working in teams to look at their own teaching impact, whether it's both in maths and in English, to measure their impact in teaching and where the kids need the most improvement

"So we're noticing kids coming up the school have that really strong literacy base."

ACARA chief executive David de Carvalho said looking for common approaches in schools with high improvement could bring to light practices that other schools could adopt.

"What we've done is approach schools that, taking into account where their students were two years previously as well as the school's level of socio-educational advantage, have achieved progress that is above what you'd expect. And they are doing it consistently, year after year," he said.

"So, the focus is on schools that are doing something intentional and systematic to achieve progress for their students."

Schools profiled across Australia were from government, Catholic and Independent sectors.

"The information provided by the schools indicates that some of them do use similar methods," he said.

Originally published as Qld schools probed in search for secret to NAPLAN success


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