Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Connected learners share - the writing challenge exemplified!

In our recent school leaders PLG, Aaron Wilson shared feedback that he and Selena Meikljohn-Whiu had collated, which looked at comparing e-asttle results in term 1, 2016 to term 1, 2017.   Although all aspects of his presentation were important, the focus of my COLs inquiry is lifting the achievement in writing for boys particularly in year 9 which I will discuss in my blog.  What I found is that writing is THE biggest challenge across all schools in our cluster.

Some of the evidence from the report show for writing overall:

  • Strong evidence of acceleration in Years 3 and 4 but less than norm gains in Years 2, 9 and 10
  • Despite acceleration overall, writing achievement remains a significant achievement challenge with levels on average more than two years below norm
  • Addressing the summer learning effect could be instrumental in increasing acceleration in writing
  • Gender: Marked gender difference with boys’ writing 13 terms (-125) behind norm vs girls 6 terms (-63 pts) behind norm

Our boys are well below the norm for e-asTTle writing.

When faced with the data, the challenge to me seems daunting and frankly overwhelming - how do I move students who are 13 terms behind the norm? The reality of the importance of my inquiry has caused me to shift my thinking from just finding the right strategies for the learners in my own classroom to how we could create systems school wide, that put writing at the forefront of our goals.

Aaron posed some questions for each of our schools to discuss and provoked us to think about how we could use the data to influence actions in our school and across the cluster. Each school shared their reflections for reading, writing and maths. Marc Milford our student achievement co-ordinator and Sheila Singh our HOD of Maths presented the implications of using the data for our school to the leaders. They were able to show how we are trying to address these challenges with initiatives like a focus on grammatical writing and accelerated reader programmes that will hopefully support our learners.

From this session I realised the significance of addressing our writing achievement challenge, especially for our boys, and on reflection, I know my inquiry needs to be more purposeful and driven in finding ways to tackle the challenge.  This means I will need to look at ways of developing writing strategies that could work across the department and across the school in a more strategic way, to cause a greater shift in our achievement data.

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