In my last post I shared our current Y9 reading data.
Reading and writing are a massive focus for the Manaiakalani cluster this year, have been identified as a cluster-wide challenge, and have therefore been included in half of the cluster's Achievement Challenges:
2. Lift the achievement of boys writing in years 1-10.
3. Lift the achievement in reading for all students, with a particular focus on boys and Maori students (both genders) years 1-13.
4. Increase the achievement of years 7-10 in reading, writing and maths.
A lot of inquiries by staff this year will focus on the acquisition of language, subject-specific language, and aim to make student environments in class be "dripping with language."
The graph above shows years the writing test scores for years 2-10 in 2016-2017, and each of the year groups have three data points; the start of the year, the end of the year, and after the holidays.
We accelerate children in our classes! We do! We have a lot of catching up and when we have children in front of us in our classrooms, we accelerate them BUT they remain below the norm; and this graph may show one contributing factor why - holiday drop-off.
Within the 2016 learning year, each year group individually made accelerated gains in writing. The grey line is the national norm. Two groups (the girls in year 5 and almost all of year 8) improved so much throughout the year they moved above the national norm with their end-of-2016-writing scores. Then their scores plummeted over the holidays, and then the effort to push students back up towards national norm began again at the start of 2017... here's the data for 2017.
Below is the graph of two data points for each individual year level during 2017; in Feb and in Nov 2017. This time the holiday drop-off wasn't included.
Once again across the cluster all of our students start well below the national mean in writing ability; in 2017 only females in Y8 had crossed the national norm line by November.
Side note: the year 9's who arrived in 2017 must have been a vastly different cohort from the year 8's tested inside the cluster at the end of 2016, who reached very very close to national norm as a cohort. This year 9 cohort in 2017 started WELL below norm and also made the least progress; year 10 2017 started below the norm but made above-average gains. To me, this means there is room for improvement in the junior curriculum and it should be focussed on improving literacy.
TLDR summary: reading and writing are both incredibly important skills, and all of our students (not just the ones we focus on in our inquiries) can and should improve in these areas, to give themselves the best chance at success in any area of their life in the future. I think it is vital and completely relevant that our inquiries (and any changes I make/inquire into) should have a focus on literacy and be "dripping with language."