Learning from Helsinki
One of the breakout sessions I attended at the ICP Conference in Helsinki was entitled, ‘Finnish school assessment practices challenge leadership’. Professor Jouni Välijärvi from the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä presented his research on this topic focussing on five areas – Specific features of the education system; Resources; Trends in results; Autonomy of schools & teachers and Governance, assessment & accountability. Of particular interest to me, given our current use of data to inform our teaching and learning, was the data presented around how schools in Finland use their Student Assessment Data. As you can see in this slide almost 98% of the surveyed Finnish schools use data to inform parents, approximately 92% use the data for retention (repeating) / promotion (going up a year level) purposes and 60% of schools use the data to improve instructional practices (almost 80% OECD average).
The children who attended the disco on Friday night had an absolute ball. An amazing number of 157 prep-2 children attended the junior disco and a whopping 208 grade 3-6 kids danced/moved/ chased the night away. I’d like to thank the HFC for their wonderful efforts organising this great night for the Hillsmeade children and to our wonderful teachers, pre-service teachers and parent volunteers for supervising on the night. We believe the HFC raised over $1400 for this 4 hour event. Well done to all involved.
Children in prep and grade 1 are involved in the swimming program this week. Mrs Bray went down to the pool to visit them and was impressed with the number of parents present. We heard that the kids were more excited about the bus trip to and from the pool, until they realised it was just a 5 minute drive down the road.
Great NAPLAN Results
At our staff meeting on Monday night we celebrated what we believe to be a fantastic achievement for our students who sat NAPLAN this year. As you know, I have been writing items in the Link around our collaborative planning, use of assessment and data to inform our teaching practices and last year, we had a focus on our teaching of reading. This year with our VCOP writing framework and ongoing pre/post testing on numeracy concepts, we continue to reflect and refine classroom instructional practice.
Using this year’s data, we looked at the learning growth rate (low, medium, high) for children who sat NAPLAN in year 3 in 2013 and again this year in year 5. We have been able to significantly improve in the areas of student growth for reading and numeracy. Additionally, our trend data has improved across all five areas (Reading, Writing, Grammar & Punctuation, Spelling and Numeracy) for the grade 5 children and for Reading, Grammar & Punctuation and Numeracy for the grade 3 children. Certainly cause for celebration.