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Inside Teaching : April 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org CURRICULUM & ASSESSMENT 23 Haileybury College, a multi-campus school in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, is a high-performing independent school. In 2006 I was appointed as head of the Berwick campus and remained head until this year, when I took up the role of deputy principal of junior school teaching and learning. In 2006, Haileybury adopted the November testing approaches advocated by evidence-based research, similar to the approach that I’ve described for Bellfield, particularly to demonstrate that programs add value for students. What is this value adding? A value add is an improvement in student achievement, in excess of what could normally be expected, due to effective teacher instruction. Haileybury tests all students in Prep to Year 8 each November with the Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT) in both literacy and numeracy and the Single Word Spelling Test (SWST). ACER marks the tests and supplies data on student achievement, class achievement and teacher performance. Each teacher receives data for the previous year’s class depicting the value-added data and raw data for each student and the class as a whole. They are then expected to reflect on the data and prepare their curriculum delivery based on the data. Bellfield and Haileybury used statewide and now national testing in similar ways. The figures were extensively analysed to benchmark against other schools, to track ongoing student progress, to compare year levels and to undertake item analysis to drive curriculum development. Specific ongoing plans were then developed to support further student improvement. The 2009 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) data clearly showed that the students at Haileybury in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 were exceptionally high performing. It’s the use of the ACER data to determine teacher value added, however, that has driven Haileybury to the forefront of data evaluation. In conjunction with ACER, we’ve determined a scale to benchmark individual and class value added from year to year. This information is provided to all teachers from Prep to Year 8 for both literacy and numeracy. It’s a vital component of the annual professional recognition program that we use to evaluate teacher performance. It brings a vital new view to teacher appraisal that focuses on student achievement and teacher effectiveness. It’s also an intrinsic measure used to evaluate teacher effectiveness for the exemplary teacher performance bonus awarded each year to our highest- performing teachers. Bellfield and Haileybury obviously service very different communities, but it’s apparent that very similar approaches to the use of data have proven worthwhile in both settings. A common curriculum approach, the Fleming Model of Effective Teaching, has been implemented at both schools. As Elizabeth Kleinhenz and I explain in Towards a Moving School, it’s a model based on the four pillars of teacher accountability, explicit instruction, moving student learning from short- term to long-term memory, and creating effective relationships between teachers and students. In recent years schools and education systems have become increasingly proficient at gathering student achievement data, but for many schools this is where the process often stalls, mainly because educators don’t fully analyse this information. Both Bellfield and Haileybury show how big an impact the effective interpretation of this data can have on both teaching and learning, and consequently on improved student achievement. ■ John Fleming is deputy principal of Haileybury College, Melbourne, and co-author with Elizabeth Kleinhenz of Towards a Moving School: Developing a professional learning and performance culture. This article is based on his presentations at the ACER Education Forum on Using Assessments to Inform Teaching and Learning in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland in March and April, hosted by ACER Press. LINKS: www.acer.edu.au/acerpress www.bellfieldps.vic.edu.au www.haileybury.vic.edu.au SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION SYSTEMS HAVE BECOME INCREASINGLY PROFICIENT AT GATHERING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT DATA, BUT FOR MANY SCHOOLS THIS IS WHERE THE PROCESS OFTEN STALLS.