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Musings on NAPLAN from one of MCC’s teachers

Found in: Leadership Blog

“I thought I knew the meaning of numeracy but I was wrong. Mathematics has always been one of my most confident subjects to teach until I had an opportunity to learn more from our director of Teaching and Learning."

“My name is Michael Chan. I am a Year 3/4 teacher of which I am personally partial to Numeracy, Science and Technology for reasons that you may infer from my last name."

“Using Dr Perso’s guidelines, we carried out the “One Question a day” program prior to the NAPLAN tests taking place. The strategy of not being “interested” in the answers but focusing on forcing students to explain how they arrived at their solution was a challenge (for students) at first. As the questions rolled on, students began to gain confidence and share their wealth of knowledge. I was surprised at the various problem-solving strategies that students chose and developed for themselves throughout their previous learning. It was very clear to me that a lot of students have “formulas” and step by step strategies they use to solve the problems, but may not possess the deep mathematics understanding that is crucial for their mathematics learning."

“All was well until the word “data” crept in. We focused our attention on the NAPLAN data from the previous NAPLAN test. It then dawned on us the importance of using data to explicitly teach and help students with their various challenges and understanding."  

“I realised that I had been using NAPLAN data incorrectly. There was an underlying fear that the results would be used as a reflection of my “teaching”. This was not the case. Everyone in our Professional Learning Team was on board and were working towards the same goal. This was crucial to the successes we are still experiencing today. The flow-through effect of having teachers from Year 1 to Year 6 involved in analysing NAPLAN data is tremendous. We realised the importance of students having deeper understanding as it effects their future education."

“Using NAPLAN data, I was able to easily target students who need assistance in grasping a deeper understanding of certain topics. I am also able to support and extend students who are flying ahead. I am communicating with the Year Two teachers constantly, sharing strategies with the goal of equipping students with a deep understanding that will help them in their learning and as a result, in their future NAPLAN test."

“It has been one and a half years since we began this strategy and the benefits are clearly showing in the students’ understanding. The Year Threes this year have a much better understanding of numeracy and are able to grasp new strategies and concepts easily. This would not have been possible if the Year Two teachers were not on board. Bearing in mind that each cohort is different, students are generally better equipped for the next year’s curriculum as a result of our improved focus on using data to find out what our students know”. 

Mr Michael Chan - Teacher