Keeping the ‘high performance, high care’ mantra strong
At the end of the day, the goal for all Western Australian schools is to provide an outstanding environment for their students to learn and grow. Regardless of whether the school is primary or secondary, students should be constantly encouraged and supported to do their best.
However, for numerous reasons, attention to detail can fall throughout the year, particularly after testing periods. Teachers and school administrators have spent months preparing their students for nationalised tests and suddenly they are completed – increasing the possibility of people losing focus.
Of course, it is important that schools don't lose track of their target to create a 'high performance, high care' environment as outlined in the Department of Education's Strategic Plan 2016-2019 released in March. At the time, Director General Sharyn O'Neill explained that the concepts of performance and wellbeing are intricately linked.
"We know that students do better when they are feeling positive and settled; and they feel more positive and motivated when they are performing well," she said.
"The evidence confirms that success breeds confidence and high self-esteem."
While in the lead-up to the NAPLAN tests in May, all schools would have been at full speed, the back end of the year is where teachers and school administrators can consolidate student achievement.
Maintaining performance levels
There are many parties involved in student achievement. This includes the students themselves, as well as teachers, principals and parents – with everyone playing a role in how well an individual can perform in the classroom.
According to 'Engagement in Australian schools', a paper from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, there are various ways for schools and teachers to ensure that student engagement doesn't fall from term to term.
One approach was through "flexible, individualised teaching in a supportive learning environment". Every student isn't just a name, but an individual who learns at a different speed to those sitting right next to them. As such, teachers have to take this into consideration when creating lesson plans and assignments.
The institute also touched on the other half of the Strategic Plan mantra – high care. The relationship between student and teacher has the power to create an environment conducive for safe and engaged learning. If these two parties are not on the same page, there is the potential for poor results and disengagement.
Citing a NSW Department of Education and Training from 2006, the institute explained that "motivation is a fundamental part of engagement that is difficult to encourage where students are cautious about contributing and dispirited when corrected." As such, a level of mutual respect can drive stronger expectations and results, regardless of the point in the school year.
This is certainly where the advantages of data and student monitoring can shine through. If teachers can identify core knowledge areas where students are not responding well in the classroom, it is easier to address problems before they snowball.
Ensuring parent-teacher communication
It is important not to forget the role of parents in keeping students focussed and engaged throughout the year. This means teachers need to have up-to-date information and data to provide to parents regarding their child's progress.
Whether this comes in the form of regular emailing between school professionals and parents or physical meetings, there is great merit is sharing this insight at every opportunity. This is where Customised NAPLAN Analysis Platform (CNAP) from Best Performance can be a helpful tool for schools.
Providing schools with intelligent and updated data, teachers can receive quick, easy-to-access metrics which outline where various student strengths and weaknesses lie.
If you would like to learn more about CNAP and improving student achievement year-round, feel free to get in contact with our expert team today.