My inquiry intends to focus on the English Achievement Standard that I am teaching – the only AS for English that I am teaching. This will allow me to see measurable data to view shifts in achievement.
The English junior goal does not relate to my practice because I do not teach Year 9; however, I can link back to the school wide Junior Goal:
A junior goal that will contribute to the school-wide goal that: “All students will improve their writing. Students will understand the purpose and success criteria for their writing in context”
My goal is for 80% of my Y10 students in my top set class to achieve 1.10 with Excellence.
a. What do they already know?
To begin the year, I gave student ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ to read. The only pre-reading activity we did was a vocab jumble where we found out some meanings of words that were challenging in the text. After reading, we discussed SOLO taxonomy (which most of them had been introduced to last year and had a brief discussion around the idea of greed.
Writing their reading responses unassisted after this activity allowed me to see where they were at. The results were:
- Excellence – 6 students
- Merit – 8 students
- Achieved – 10 students
- Not Achieved – 2 students
I will analyse these results in a later post.
b. What sources of evidence have I used?
Prior data (from 2013):
- Common assessments, asTTle, reports, portfolio work.
- Student response including a survey at the start of the year which included some self-assessment.
I’ve also had conversations with teachers about students last year – what worked and what didn’t? I have participated in conversations around the students in my class and built a snapshot around who they are as learners and how they will respond to my goal. My feeling is they will be up for the challenge.
c. What do they need to learn and do?
- Understanding what is required for Excellence
Students need to be familiar with the standard. They need to have a solid understanding of what a perceptive comment is in order to make perceptive comments themselves. They need to write fluidly and structure their writing in a strong way, in line with the Excellence exemplars.
- Understand the expectations to achieve at Excellence.
Articulating high expectations regularly is essential for success at the highest level. Creating this culture where Excellence is the destination and Achieved and Merit are only bus stops is central to my goal.
- Learn new skills to take the students’ writing to the highest level.
Writing skills need to be central for the class. To achieve at the Excellence level they have to be able to write with the fluidity and insight that the standard requires. This means the mechanics of writing need to be operating at a high level and they must be equipped with the tools (i.e. vocab, sentences structures) to meet Excellence.
d. How do we build on what they know?
The common pieces of feedback given to the students for the first effort for the reading log were
- Large volumes of plot description, without explanation, analysis or connections.
- Making connections in isolation, i.e. not linking back to the text or contextualising effectively.
- Good ideas being left unpacked and not explained fully.
- Lack of text evidence, or quotes being dropped and not being integrated into analysis.
- Lack of depth in discussion.
To address these issues and drive towards my goal I need to:
- Implement a routine in which reading log is prioritized and where the programme offers opportunity to use the important skills required for success in the standard, as well as the time to complete the writing and the reading aspects.
- Implement some critical thinking strategies opening the opportunity for higher-order thinking.
- Articulate high expectations and encourage self-belief.
- Use SOLO taxonomy as a structure to help build to a greater level of understanding in writing.
- Create a culture where students are willing an able to push themselves, select higher level texts and take risks with their writing.
These steps will be unpacked across the year as I drive towards this goal.