Curriculum Matters

We are nearing the end of another busy term at Tintern and our senior students are gearing up for the pre-examination revision stage of their studies for 2018. Many thanks to our staff who work tirelessly with all of our students and who have, more recently, participated in our all-important Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences. These conversations provide an unsurpassed opportunity for teachers to celebrate success and growth with students and their families and, also, to discuss areas for improvement and future focus. These frank exchanges can be the springboard for even further positive choices by students and continued development in the classroom.

Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving the results of ICAS testing administered by the University of NSW. This program, like NAPLAN, provides a snapshot in time of students’ progress in particular disciplines and is a piece of data which, when added to the bigger picture, may help to inform our staff of the learning needs and future foci for our students. Recently, we have received our NAPLAN results for our current Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 cohorts. We have seen some pleasing trends and more detailed analysis of our results will be forthcoming early in Term 4 but, in the meantime, you might have read with interest some of the press around the introduction of online NAPLAN testing. All Australian schools are moving to NAPLAN Online by 2020. In 2018, around 20 percent of Australian students undertook NAPLAN online and a larger percentage will do so in 2019. Tintern will be one of the schools moving to online testing next year and we recently have had a ‘taster’ of the new testing system when the school undertook readiness testing of the technology necessary to administer the tests online to such a large cohort of students in one sitting.

The publication of results this year took the format of combined data for the online and paper student cohorts. The decision to place all of these results into one comparative summary was a somewhat contentious one. I would remind all families that your child’s NAPLAN results are a snapshot of your child’s progress at a given point in time and all individual NAPLAN test results should be considered alongside broader school-based assessments, which provide a more detailed picture of the whole child and their progress across many streams. Interestingly, the feedback from schools this year was that students found the online assessment ‘engaging’ and, indeed, our small handful of students who assisted with the technology readiness testing earlier this term gave similar feedback. We will keep families informed next year of the progress towards the online testing system.

I would like to thank our staff for continuing to provide excellent learning opportunities to our students throughout this term and the students themselves for embracing all that they do with confidence, enthusiasm and curiosity. Our journey to strive to be the best we can be also relies on support from you, the parents and families of our students. You play such an important role in ensuring that your children receive a consistent message about the benefits of making the most of the opportunities they encounter at Tintern on a daily basis. Together, we can continue to ensure that our young charges, your children, always are putting their best foot forward and truly enjoying their learning journey.

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday break.

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