Year 3/4 students Maximo Upegui, 8 (right) and Nikita Powell, 9 from St Mary-St Joseph Catholic Primary School in Maroubra. Photo: Edwina PicklesAt St Mary-St Joseph Catholic Primary School in Sydney’s south-east, there is no such thing as individual classroom teachers.
Students learn in multi-age classes, most have different teachers for mathematics and English and the progress of each child is methodically plotted to ensure they are improving.
The Maroubra school has a diverse mix of families from very low to very high socio-economic backgrounds, as well as a significant proportion of Aboriginal students. Some children start kindergarten having had no formal early education, while others are years ahead of their reading age.
But the vast differences in ability do not matter. The school’s innovative approach to learning has seen significant improvementstotheir NAPLAN results in both reading and numeracy.
The school’s principal, Pam Forde, said the 336-student school worked with every child to make sure they reached their full potential.
“We focus on addressing the individual needs of every child and we engage with every child, so that includes asking them about their favourite football team, what they did on the weekend or inquiring how their swimming lessons are going so that every students knows we are interested in them and what they do not just at school but outside too,” she said.
St Mary-St Joseph may not have the top NAPLAN marks in the state but it is one of more than 70 schools in NSW that has been identified as having made big improvements.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), which runs NAPLAN, analysed national data and identified schools with substantially above average gain in last year’s NAPLAN results.
The schools on the list in NSW range from prestigious private schools such as the Frensham School in Mittagong and The Armidale School to very disadvantaged schools including St Joseph’s School Walgett and public high schools Cabramatta and Lightning Ridge.
There is a mix of Catholic, independent and state schools, as well as primary and secondary schools, on the list.
According to ACARA’s methodology, hundreds of schools across the country demonstrated substantial growth in NAPLAN scores when compared with previous years, schools with similar students based on the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) and other students with similar NAPLAN average score starting points.
Schools had to have at least 15 students and the percentage of matched students across two NAPLAN periods (Years 3–5 or 7–9) had to be at least 70 per cent.
“We believe gains of this magnitude are significant, worthy of acknowledgement.” ACARA general manager for assessment, Stanley Rabinowitz, said.
“Something good is going on in these schools.”
The release of the high achievers comes as theMy School websitewas updated on Wednesday to include eight years of performance data, school profiles and population data, 2015 NAPLAN results, attendance data and school financial information including capital expenditure and sources of funding.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.