Progress tools help to uncover Kāhui Ako direction

Issue: Volume 98, Number 9

Posted: 30 May 2019
Reference #: 1H9uem

Establishing consistency for teachers and learners has been a key factor in Rotorua Central’s Kāhui Ako choosing to use curriculum progress tools.

The benefits of using curriculum progress tools have been evident to Kāhui Ako leaders right from the early days of its development, according to Stephanie Chand, Across School Leader, Rotorua Intermediate School.

“We were already familiar with the literacy learning progressions,” she says. “They were a great stepping stone for us before getting to know the Learning Progression Frameworks and the Progress and Consistency Tool.”

Rotorua Central’s Kāhui Ako has been working alongside Professional Learning Developments PLD provider Vision Education, which supports the schools with their reading and writing challenges by working with their Across and Within School literacy leaders

“We all started from a different knowledge base,” says Stephanie. “We can now say all of our literacy team are at the same level of understanding.”

Rotorua Central’s Kāhui Ako set up an across-the-schools literacy team – a working group made up of representatives from each of the eight schools within the Kāhui Ako.

The literacy team has been given the authority to make decisions regarding literacy and is responsible for taking the whole group’s learning back to their individual schools.

Respectful and encouraging relationships

“The relationships within our Kāhui Ako are so respectful and encouraging of each other,” says Stephanie. “We want to share ideas and support each other wherever we can. Having the trust of our governance group has been hugely empowering.”

Lisa Hohepa, Within School Leader at Whakarewarewa School, says they’ve developed non-negotiables, in terms of teaching strategies, from the work their literacy team has done across their Kāhui Ako.

“These include things like shared reading, guided reading, reading-to, vocabulary and a range of comprehension strategies,” she says. “Each school has developed an action plan for how they’ll put the non-negotiables in place.

“Our focus and emphasis is on improving student progress, so everyone is truly invested in the process.”

“The progress tools helped to influence what our non-negotiables were through the knowledge our teachers have gained about learning progressions,” adds Stephanie.

The Learning Progression Frameworks provide a big picture illustration of the typical pathways students take as they make progress in reading, writing and maths. The steps along the continuum represent the amount of teaching and learning that needs to happen along the way to get to each next step.

“Our teachers now have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the learning progressions and where to next for teaching and learning,” she says.

“The progress tools are helping inform our teaching and planning because we know where our students are expected to be and what they should be learning, as well as what learning they have come from.”

The data the schools can pull from the Progress and Consistency Tool(external link) (which guides teachers to make best-fit decisions about their students’ achievement on the Learning Progression Frameworks) have also helped to inform their next steps as a Kāhui Ako.

“The reports help us to assess if we need to focus PLD in a particular area. They help to validate the progress of the teaching and learning we’re putting in place and whether or not it’s having an impact on our students,’ says Stephanie.

Information helps planning and resourcing

New report functions available in the Progress and Consistency Tool will mean the Kāhui Ako will soon have access to consistent and reliable information on focus groups of students, in relation to identifying achievement challenges in foundation learning areas. This will give the Kāhui Ako the ability to track groups, while having reliable information to help with planning and resourcing decisions.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what the reports tell us after our mid-year judgments,” says Stephanie. “The more information we can get from the reports, the more informed we are for our next steps as a Kāhui Ako.”

Rotorua Central’s Kāhui Ako has also found their teaching and learning programmes have been significantly impacted.

Stephanie says that the class aspect reports help them to assess which areas need more work, which gives them a better picture of the progress in each classroom.

“We can then come together and consider what areas we need to work on,” she says.

Teaching to suit student needs

“The consistency of the progress information  and exemplars are also helping secondary schools understand what’s happening at intermediate or primary school before students arrive,” says Noreen Botha, Within School Leader, Rotorua Boys’ High School.

“In the past, we’d pick students up and teach Year 9 straight away. There was limited information of their progress and achievement when they’d left Year 8, or where they had got to when they were in Year 7.

We were expecting them all to be working at Year 9 academically in reading and writing. This meant they straightaway got ‘not achieved’ because they couldn’t work to the curriculum level we were expecting. That’s soul-destroying for a student.

Noreen says that this has given Rotorua Boys’ High the opportunity to change the Year 9 and 10 English programmes to better suit each student’s needs. Now, she says, the school is also considering how reading and writing are used in all of the other curriculum areas as well.

“Our mindset is more positive because the focus is on progress. No one is failing – we say ‘you haven’t achieved it yet and you’re going to have to do this, this and that to get here’.”

The progress tools have helped to uncover that direction, she says. “They’ve led us to where we need to be. We have a common and consistent language now and a much better understanding of where we need to head towards.”

Tips for teachers

Check out the updated curriculum progress tools(external link) website for more info on how to support progress in your school:

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:48 am, 30 May 2019

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