Literacy and numeracy are foundational skills for the subsequent development of more complex skills. They underpin workforce participation, productivity and the broader economy, and can impact on social and health outcomes. At WBHS, supported by teacher professional learning, we are building teams to develop school wide and KLA specific strategies to support the growth of Literacy and Numeracy skills in all students.
Literacy Achievements 2022
Explicit Teaching of Reading
The 2022 NAPLAN results indicate significant improvement in reading, with growth from 18.5 to 21.9% in the top 2 bands for reading. Significant improvement was also evident in the middle 2 bands.
Throughout 2022, WBHS continued their journey to improving reading skills. Teachers continued to develop their skills in the explicit teaching of reading in Stage 4 and introducing these skills in Stage 5.
We began the year looking at a broad range of skills. Teachers of Year 7 used the data provided by Best Start Year 7 Reading Tests and internal writing data to develop reading and writing activities that targeted the learning needs of their students. WBHS whole school focus narrowed to Super Six reading strategies with the objective of using the most appropriate strategies to each KLA in explicit reading lessons.
Student achievement data from external tests- 2022 Year 9 Check-In Reading Assessments, 2022 Year 8 Check-In Reading Assessments and 2021 NAPLAN tests- helped to establish our strengths and weaknesses in literal and inferential comprehension and which reading skills needed to be targeted for improvement. These included subject specific vocabulary, connecting ideas, main idea, audience and purpose.
Complimenting this, teachers were guided the process of aligning NAPLAN style reading questions with Super Six strategies, providing a data base of question stems to support teachers to frame comprehension questions that target the specific question types which students find most difficult. Students have the most difficulty with multi-step, multiple choice questions. Time was allocated for these strategies to be understood and embedded in Stage 4 and 5 programs in all KLAs and for appropriate resources to be developed.
2022 Check-in Assessment Reading Assessments Expanded
In 2022, Check-in Reading Assessment programs include Year 7 in Term 4, Year 8 in Terms 2 & 4 and Year 9 in Term 4. These optional online reading (and numeracy) assessments are a useful way to track student performance and progress and supplement existing school assessment practices.
This complements the suite of literacy assessments that provide checks along the way to see how well they are learning the essential skills of reading and writing. These include Best Start Year 7, Year 7 & 9 NAPLAN and HSC Minimum Standards.
Improved student performance in literacy is a key pillar of the Warners Bay High School Improvement Plan 2021-2024. As evident from the outline of our work above, our school is committed to continuous improvement. Lessons learnt from 2021 and 2022 will guide our work to ensure that every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improves every year. (NSW DoE Strategic Plan)
Numeracy Achievements 2022
Explicit teaching of Numeracy
The explicit teaching of numeracy remained a focus in 2022 with Year 7 and 8 classes having a dedicated Numeracy lesson each week as a part of their Mathematics classes programming. In these lessons, teachers focused on using the CUBES strategy to explicitly teach problem solving enabling students to improve their confidence, skills and mathematical resilience to solve multi-step, word-based numeracy problems. To support improved numeracy development, students engaged with higher order numeracy problems targeted to those involving multi-layer information, often using graphs and tables.
Whole school implementation of numeracy problem solving indicated that teachers were identifying numeracy opportunities within subjects across the school and explicitly teaching numeracy across the curriculum through the CUBES problem solving strategy. Teachers implemented a range of strategies and used the WBHS Numeracy Toolkit to support the whole school numeracy focus. His was supported through check-ins with teachers and student work samples. Some of the strategies that form part of our WBHS Numeracy Toolkit are shown below.
Deputy Principal instructional leader numeracy provided shoulder-to-shoulder support in numeracy lessons with Year 9 in first semester and targeted withdrawal for students in Year 8 in second semester to focus on attaining skills for higher order numeracy problems.
Students in Year 7 and 9 completed NAPLAN Numeracy assessments in 2022. In Year 9, 53.6% of students achieved in Bands 8, 9 or 10, while in Year 7, 37% of students achieved in the top 2 bands. The goals for numeracy improvement continue to focus on overall student growth in achievement, as well as shifting more students into the top bands for numeracy assessments.
Students in Year 8 completed Check-in assessments for numeracy in 2022 in Term 1 and again in Term 4. Overall cohort performances indicated that students achieved above state levels for numeracy achievement with best results in the Statistics and Probability strand. Students also participated in numeracy assessment through Best Start Year 7 and HSC Minimum Standards assessments, providing valuable data to tailor teaching based on student’s strengths and focus areas for numeracy improvement.