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 12 December (VCE) and 3 January 2020 (IB). It is imperative to remember that it is not only these scores which will define the future for our graduates. It will also be the choices they make and the opportunities they embrace as so many new paths open up to them beyond Tintern. We never really know what’s ahead of us in life, but the enjoyment and challenge can often be found as much in the journey as the destination. 

It also is a busy time for our Years 9 to 11 students, as they prepare for a brief examination period. We trust all students will do their best and take away as much learning as possible from the outcomes of this period.

Additionally, final projects are being submitted and assessments undertaken to allow our teachers across Prep to Year 8 to commence their end-of-semester reporting on the progress made by each student in their various classes. Progressive Reporting has been expanded this year to cover class results in Years 7 to 11. 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 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 will enact a full transition to the 2020 timetable for students currently in Years 7 to 11, commencing Wednesday 27 November. Monday 25 November is a non-school day for Years 7 to 11 students, allowing staff time to correct exams and tests and to write reports. Tuesday 26 November is an Exam Return day for Years 9 to 11. Year 9s will have pastoral activities once their small number of exams have been returned. Years 7 and 8 students will be undertaking pastoral activities on this day.

Students will then commence a unit of work in each of their 2020 subject areas on 27 November, 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 and through to the last day of term, Tuesday 10 December. Year 9s will head off on their Summer Expeditions from 2-6 December but will return to participate in a final two days of Transition classes on 9 and 10 December. Year 10s and 11s will have a full two weeks of transition classes from 27 November to 10 December.

Looking back at some of our standardised testing this year, we were very pleased with our NAPLAN results for 2019, which showed a consistent trend in all disciplines and year levels above and well above state level results.

ICAS testing is a testing regime administered by the University of New South Wales. UNSW have run ICAS Assessments for 35 years and each year over a million students globally sit these tests.

ICAS testing used to be designed for benchmarking and measuring full-cohort progress. In 2019, the UNSW reimagined this testing to recognise academic excellence for high potential students (top 10%), with the emphasis on challenge and extension.

With this is mind, we were pleased to be notified that three of our Secondary School students achieved the top score in testing for the state in Year 7 and Year 11 English (Anika Mulemane and Ashleigh Dowling respectively) and Year 12 Writing (Oscar De Jong).

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. At Tintern, we aim not to ‘teach to the test’ but embrace the many ways children can come to gain knowledge and understanding, whether it be through work or play. We continue to celebrate the many achievements of our students across a broad range of interest areas, both within and beyond our school boundaries.

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

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