Curriculum Matters

Curriculum Matters, March 2021.

It’s hard to believe that this time last year we were on the verge of some very new and somewhat surreal changes in the modes of delivery of our educational services to Tintern students and our broader community. For many years, we have used digital technologies in our classrooms and courses, but the lockdown forced us all out of our comfort zones and caused both staff and students to take the use of technology to new levels. It also caused many to find more creative and inspiring ways to deliver curriculum outside the regular classroom setting. The discomfort and unpredictability we all experienced for those many months caused a shift in mindset in many and eventually resulted in exponential growth in the development of skills alongside innovative and transformative changes to many aspects of our classroom and administrative practices. In recent staff meetings, we have reflected on our earlier teaching practices, current practices and the manner in which our lockdown experience has further improved and enhanced our delivery of the curriculum. Discomfort is an indicator of growth and we can all celebrate the courage shown by all as we ‘pivoted’ (many times) in 2020 and came out of the experience a stronger community as a result.

 

Interim Reports

On Thursday 11 March, our Secondary Interim Reports opened to parents in the Parent Centre of myTintern. These reports indicate to parents and students progress so far in each subject prior to parent-teacher-student interviews. The achievement levels indicated by teachers reflect a student’s performance in assessment tasks so far this semester.

 

Student Progress Meetings

Last Monday saw the first of two Secondary School Student Progress Meeting sessions. Next week another Secondary School evening will be held on Tuesday 30 March. Bookings for Tuesday afternoon will close at 10am on Tuesday.

We were very pleased to see many of our secondary students, from Years 7 to 12, attending the online meetings last week, to be part of a three-way conversation about their own learning. We find this is a great opportunity for students to feel a part of the reflection – goal setting – self-evaluation feedback loop and to ask questions about how they are progressing and how they can improve. This is a good way to build our students’ confidence, help them to accept responsibility for their learning and for students, parents and teachers to engage in open and honest dialogue.

 

Ongoing Reporting Trial for Year 7s

 For the past three years we have provided graded reporting on Assessment Tasks to our Year 7-11 students with staff progressively entering grades for major assessment tasks across the semester as they are graded and returned to students. These are published at regular intervals on the portal in the same place as our Interim and Semester Reporting and show the letter grade awarded for those tasks.

This year we are trialling a more detailed ongoing reporting system for our Year 7s through the Tintern Portal. Students will complete assessed tasks throughout the semester, and key tasks will be marked and made visible to parents, as per our previous practice. Additionally, feedback and commentary on the tasks also will be visible to parents and will provide more detailed information for parents on their child’s progress in any given subject throughout the semester. These key tasks will then become the main commentary which will appear on the end-of-semester report in June, along with summative grades for each subject. We trust that this progressive approach to reporting will become a more valuable ongoing communication tool, ensuring parents are more fully aware of their child/ren’s progress without having to wait until the end-of semester for a complete picture of their progress.

 

The publication dates for Year 8 to 11 Progressive Grade Reports for Semester 1, 2021 are:

Thursday 1 April at 4pm (this date corresponds with the end of Term 1)

Friday 7 May at 4pm

Friday 21 May at 4pm

Friday 4 June at 4pm

Tuesday 22 June – with the publication of Semester Reports

The Year 7 Ongoing Reporting System will be fully visible and updated as a ‘live’ communication tool for parents throughout the semester.

I trust that our reporting process and Student Progress Meeting evenings are proving useful in understanding your child’s progress to date and will assist in strengthening the partnership between family, school and student that is so crucial to effective learning and growth.

 

Tintern preparing once again for Online NAPLAN Delivery

In 2018, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) commenced the transition from a paper-based to an online assessment system. Tintern Grammar made the transition in 2019 which exposed our students to an improvement to the system as a result of the NAPLAN Online platform using an adaptive test design. This enables the system to present questions which better match student achievement levels and provide more precise results for teachers and schools.

As you may be aware, NAPLAN testing in 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.

In order to re-familiarise our students with the online format, there is a mandated nation-wide Co-ordinated Practice Trial being conducted at the school on Thursday 25 March. All of our Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students will participate in the trial that day.

These trials will not be graded or marked, and no data from them is being collected or supplied to us. This is purely a familiarisation process and an exercise in ICT readiness. As such, this is a low-key event, and there will be ICT and teacher support in the room during the trial to ensure the students can receive assistance if there are any technical ‘glitches’ during the process.

 

The online interface is a natural progression for standardised testing and our students found the interactive nature of the new system a far more engaging experience in 2019. Further information will be sent to parents of students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 regarding NAPLAN testing in the weeks leading up to the online testing period in May.

 

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