Monday, 12 June 2017

Leading The Education State

South Western Regional Conference
Melbourne Convention Centre
The Minister addressed the conference and announced a new literacy and numeracy strategy. ( new literacy and numeracy portals to be launched) He also announced Principal health initiatives.

Victorian school principals are to be given online dashboards to help them track literacy and numeracy performance and compare it with that of other schools.

It is hoped the initiative will help teachers understand exactly what their students know, so that they can intervene if necessary. 

The move is part of the Andrews government's new literacy and education strategy, which will also provide schools with  tools to help them steer clear of shoddy salespeople who promise to improve students' reading, writing and maths.

In a bid to take pressure off schools – which are inundated with offers from companies with a "magic bullet" for struggling students and teachers – the Education Department is creating a list of recommended literacy and numeracy coaches and trainers.

The new strategy follows growing concerns about Australian students' performance in international tests and the NAPLAN.

One-third of high-performing students in Victorian state schools are failing to maintain their high-level NAPLAN performance from one testing period to the next.

In Victoria, 15-year-old students on average lag more than half a year behind their peers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and Finland in reading literacy, according to Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.

The new dashboards will  include detailed information about schools based on students' NAPLAN results and their performance against the Victorian curriculum. There are plans to add more assessment data in the coming years. 

Education Minister James Merlino said the strategy would help break the link between disadvantage and poor education outcomes and ensure more students reached the highest levels in reading and maths.

The Andrews government has set an ambitious target of ensuring that 25 per cent more year 5 and 9 students reach the highest levels of achievement in reading and maths by 2020 and 2025 respectively.

"Strong literacy and numeracy skills are essential for kids to get the best out of themselves; that's why we've been working closely with principals, teachers, students and education experts to develop this comprehensive strategy," Mr Merlino said.

Judy Crowe, president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, said the list of preferred suppliers, which will be available next year, would make it easier for schools to find quality professional learning.

"Sometimes it is very confusing for schools to work out which literacy and numeracy strategies are going to be the most effective," she said 

"There are a lot of commercial players and it is an area where they are commercial interests at stake." 

She welcomed the new evidence-based literacy and numeracy resources for schools.

Under the plan, up to 850 schools will be encouraged to sign up to an initiative by 2021 in which teachers analyse data, evaluate their teaching and share their secrets of success with other schools. 

Students who speak English as a second language will also be able to sit a new online reading and vocabulary test from years 3 to 10.

The strategy has been influenced by Canadian Mary Jean Gallagher, who transformed Ontario's school system, and is now involved in implementing Victoria's plan.

She was involved in rolling out reforms in Ontario which boosted the graduation rate from 68 to 85 per cent and increased the number of primary school students meeting literacy and numeracy standards from 54 to 72 per cent. The key was setting goals and using data to target support and interventions. 

"I think this state is ready to move and see some results," she said. 

Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said the announcement looked rushed.

"For over two years Daniel Andrews has been singly focused on pushing a radical social agenda on students instead of focusing on literacy and numeracy standards," he said.

Importance of excellent teaching.
Powerful feedback to students has an impact and collaboration seen as important.
Transforming teaching
London Challenge
Professor David Woods
Afternoon session
Mary Gallagher from Ontario
Literacy and Numeracy underpins what our kids need to be successful. It is "the golden ticket" according to @maryjgal. 
Great venue
Beautiful Melbourne

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