Thursday, 16 August 2018

ROUND TWO - Intro - Learn - Gather Evidence

Now the new junior curriculum is being implemented, it’s time to focus on how it is impacting achievement of Maori students in junior science.

The area identified as impacting learner achievement most significantly in our cluster is the ability of our students at all year levels to read and write.

What is the problem, what is currently being done, what is working, and how can we improve?

There are six Maori students in my year 9 class. In answer to the question "what is the problem?" - let us look at their reading/writing e-aSSTle data. 

Students arriving at secondary school should be reading and writing at Level 4 or 5 of the curriculum. 

Only Student 15 is reading and writing at a level appropriate for a Year 9. 

Student 12 is writing at a Year 9 level but their reading is not, while Student 1 is able to read at a Year 9 age but their writing is at the level of an average New Zealand Year 5 or 6 student. 

What is currently being done? At Tamaki College we use the Accelerated Reader programme during Year 9 and 10 to increase the reading mileage of students, and scaffold their reading to a level that is both challenging yet achievable to them.

Students are guided to select books at the appropriate level (based on their initial scores and suggested Zone of Proximal Development) for them. Each day students read for a minimum of 20 minutes and during one English period a week they read for 50 minutes. When they complete a book, students complete a short quiz on the content of the book to check they read and understood it; score too low and they will be guided to an easier book, while a perfect 100% score means the book was too simple for them! The AR programme aims to extend students' reading abilities.

What is currently being done in science is largely up to the teacher. When I designed the new junior units I've tried to include some 'wide and deep' literacy units and each theme has readings attached to it. Now that I've progressed further through my inquiry into supporting literacy I realise there is so much more that can be done.

How can we improve?

That is the question that I will be focussing on during my second round of inquiry this year. I will still be focussing on Achievement Challenge 1: Raise Maori achievement through the development of cultural visibility and responsive practices across the pathway as measured by agreed reading targets for Years 1-10 and NCEA for Years 11-13.

However, I am also interested in writing, so some of that may creep in too!

I have given my second-round inquiry the title "Raising Maori student achievement by improving literacy in Science."

Here's the link to my initial outline.

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