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Strengthening the use of Data for high learning growth

MARY JONES, HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL, GENAZZANO FCJ COLLEGE

Genazzano FCJ College's Junior School joined the Eastern Region Data Collective early in 2017 with a broad vision of strengthening the use of data to drive learning and teaching across the College.

The opportunity to work collaboratively with other schools in the region with Dr Lyn Sharratt as a critical friend was eagerly accepted and the resulting partnerships have been fruitful and life-giving, driving improved teacher and leader capacity.   The following key question arose from a recognition that while our students perform well, we strive for all students to achieve high growth.

 ‘How can we use data and evidence to target teaching in Numeracy more effectively to increase the percentage of students achieving high growth in Years 5, 6 and 7?’

Working in the collective has transformed the way we go about our planning for learning and teaching across P-6. A Maths Coach had worked in the Junior School for a number of years but this year the coaching team was extended to include Literacy Coaches at P-4 and 5-6. This meant we had a coaching team who could support one another and work in a consistent way across the Junior School, facilitating planning sessions and building teacher capabilities. Our timetable was reviewed at the end of 2017 and changed significantly to increase the amount of time staff had to work collaboratively with one another. Additional adjustments will be made in 2019 to further expand these opportunities. We have created two data walls, one for reading data and one for maths, and these are used to prompt dialogue, plan learning and teaching, track student growth and progress, identify ‘students of wonder’ and enact case management. We have been able to learn from the mentorship of Dr Lyn Sharratt who has prompted and challenged our thinking around effective pedagogy, and the opportunity to network with the other schools has been invaluable.  Additional resources have been purchased for both staff and students to build capacity and increase the range of texts available.

Results

Teacher practice is unquestionably more targeted and we are hopeful we will see some significant shifts in the distribution of our Naplan growth data over the next 2-3 year period.    Our data from ACER’s Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT) affirms the work of the Data Collective. We have tracked growth in terms of the percentage of students achieving at least 1.5 years growth using our PAT-M and PAT-R data. In Years 5 and 7 we have seen more than 60% of students achieve high growth in Maths with strong performances from other year levels as well.  This paints a positive picture of targeted learning and teaching and the positive influence of planning for learning collegially supported by a knowledgeable other (coaches).

Several of the National School Improvement Data indicators have shifted from the rating of ‘High’ to ‘Outstanding’ over the course of participation in the collective. This is a fantastic outcome and speaks to the increased capacity of staff to work with data in a meaningful way. This is due to the time that has been dedicated to this, the availability of data in one easily accessible place and the collaborative construction of the data walls, which have provided the impetus for many conversations and much learning about the data and its implications.

The influence of the data collective has had a very positive impact on the way colleagues work together. Having structures in place the enable to staff to meet together to use collected data to plan for learning has built a great sense of team, enabled the sharing of expertise and knowledge across the levels and assisted in the development of consistency in language and approach across Prep-6.

Discussion

Our participation in the Data Collective has been instrumental in building staff capabilities to plan for effective learning and teaching that meets each student at her point of need. All staff involved in the team have benefited from the learning, including coaches and leaders. The networking opportunities to work with peers from other schools with similar challenges and opportunities have been invaluable. The professional dialogue that has occurred at each of our meetings has both answered and raised questions that we have each been able to follow up in our own contexts. The opportunity to work with Lyn Sharratt as our critical friend has been wonderful, particularly as we have had the opportunity to raise our particular questions and receive feedback on them to move our work forward. Genazzano is extremely grateful to have been afforded the chance to be part of the Eastern Region Data Collective for 2017-18 and looks forward to our continued involvement going forward.

The Data Collective was funded and supported by Catholic Education Melbourne through the Eastern Region Office.