Curriculum Matters

VCE and IB examinations are well underway and we wish our Year 12 students all the best as they await the publication of their results on 14 December (VCE) and 3 January 2019 (IB). Having said that, we acknowledge that it is not only these scores which will define the future for our graduates. It also will be the choices they make and the opportunities they embrace as so many new paths open up to them. If they can’t see the way forward immediately, they may have to go hunting for some new opportunities. We never really know what’s ahead of us in life, but the enjoyment and challenge sometimes is as much in the journey as the destination. 

We are also nearing the examination period for our Year 9s, 10s and 11s. It is a busy time for our staff and students, but also an exciting time as another year of exploration and learning at Tintern reaches its culmination.

Additionally, final projects are being submitted and testing undertaken to allow our teachers across Years Prep to 8 to commence their end-of-semester reporting on the progress made by each student in their various classes. We trialled Progressive Reporting in Year 8 in 2017 and this year we have successfully expanded it across the whole Middle School. We hope that the regular updates and feedback on individual summative assessments have kept parents informed of their child’s progress and facilitated more useful reflections, regular conversations and opportunities for goal setting between parents, students and staff. The end-of-semester reports, with summative gradings and comments, will be published at the end of Term 4.

We know that the skills and attributes our students have been developing this school year will be consolidated and built upon as they move into their next year of schooling. To this end, and to encourage our students to look forward with anticipation to the year ahead, we are trialling a full transition to the 2019 timetable for students currently in Years 7 to 11, commencing the week of 26 November. Students will commence a unit of work in each of their 2019 subject areas, and there may be some assessments in some subjects. It is, therefore, imperative that students attend and continue to maintain their focus for this period immediately after the examination/testing sessions. Year 7s and 8s will continue with their transition classes the following week (3-7 December), interspersed with a few end-of-year activities. Year 9s will be heading off on their Summer Expeditions and Year 10s and 11s will have concluded their classes for 2018.

Looking back at some of our standardised testing this year, we were very pleased with our NAPLAN results for 2018, which showed a consistent trend in most disciplines and year levels above and well above state level results. Our Junior School Curriculum Co-ordinator and our Heads of English and Maths have reviewed the results and pinpointed year levels and areas which will be targeted with renewed goals and action plans for implementation in 2019, with the aim of supporting our students to achieve their best in these particular disciplines.

With our STEAM Centre abuzz on a daily basis with students and exciting activities, it was timely that Tintern Grammar was selected to participate in a government- mandated NAP – Science Literacy Assessment last month, which involved eighteen of our Year 10 students. These 18 students were randomly selected by The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). This sampling process, which produces a different set of sample schools and students for each three-yearly NAP-SL Main Study, helps to ensure that a diverse range of student backgrounds and abilities is represented. Tintern was one of almost 600 schools which participated in this sample assessment program which has been conducted on a three-year rolling cycle since 2003. Until 2015, participation in NAP-SL was limited to a sample of Year 6 students. 2018 marked the first year a sample of Year 10 students also participated. Our Science staff are looking forward to receiving these results in the near future to inform our program reviews. The assessment also included a survey on attitudes towards the study of Science at school. 

It must be remembered, of course, that these standardised tests are a single snapshot in time focussing on a few key skills and they do not provide the whole picture of the capabilities of our diverse range of students. We continue to celebrate the many achievements of our students across a broad range of disciplines and interest areas, both within and beyond our school boundaries. We aim to guide and support them as they continue their life-long learning journey towards knowledge and understanding.

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday break, when we get there!

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