Posted in 02. Professional learning

Curriculum Progress Tools

I was fortunate to attend a hui run by the ministry in their Wellington offices on Friday, 6 March. Besides loving any excuse to visit our capital city, I found the day to be both informative and incredibly useful for planning our way forward with the curriculum progress tools.

As a Kāhui Ako we have spent many hours on both the writing and maths learning progressions frameworks. It was therefore encouraging to hear the following quote from one of the attendees:

The LPF gives teachers the big picture, with eloquent descriptors of NZC levels 1 through to 5. PaCT is ‘just’ the tool for generating data. But the data is powerful and has been compared to the well-known Plunket Graph.

The beauty lies in the simplicity of the graph: If the student is underachieving according to the projected graph, intervention is required.

The other beauty of PaCT is the information that can be tailored to suit the audience. Whether it is a report for the Board of Trustees, Kāhui Ako kura, senior leaders, teachers or parents and whānau, the information can be generated quickly and efficiently.

Orewa Kāhui Ako focus has largely been on writing LPFs for the following reasons:

  • At the outset we wanted to evaluate our writing and maths programmes. We couldn’t because teachers did not speak the same language. Jargon and acronyms were so at odds with each other
  • In addition we wanted to introduce moderation across curriculum levels 1- 5. PaCT and the LPF is the only tool that measures years 1 through to 10
  • So we turned to the LPFs to understand the various aspects of writing
  • To do this we unpacked and repacked the framework. This forced communication and understanding across our range of teachers
  • We use the LPFs as a common marking tool for moderation
  • LPF gave us a clear check of strengths and weakness in maths and writing programmes across the six kura
  • We developed a checklist spreadsheet to help college teachers transition from our old marking rubric to the LPF and PaCT aspects and sets. This gives a fuller picture of a student’s writing progression
  • Termly moderation using LPF informs schools and then teachers of the next steps in developing their own schools writing programme

These are some of the observations from the hui:

LPF Writing

If the MoE could redo this diagram, they’d invert it for college teachers. The first three aspects are developed and refined in primary teaching. To get college English teachers on board they’d focus on the last three aspects. Another approach would be to get teachers into a marking hub. Specialist teachers mark aspects 1-3, for example, looking at specialist spelling and vocabulary.

An example of a Science, Social Studies and English teacher hub was given:

  • Spelling and vocabulary: science checks specialist vocabulary. How to structure science reports eg illustrations are required, reports written in passive tense.  But only the first three aspects are marked for scientific understanding of content. They might look for templates, spider diagrams, graphic organisers
  • Last three aspects marked by the other specialist teachers, for example social studies teachers. Aspect 5 look at paragraph construction
  • Creating texts for literary purpose might be exclusively for English teachers
  • Influence others: persuasive writing could be across a number of curriculum areas
  • One person must confirm all judgements

What about the pesky curriculum levels being absent from the LPF?

  • NZC levels and LPF aspects don’t line up, this we know. Why levels don’t line up is because they were never designed in the same way. The curriculum levels are not detailed in the same way, nor do they have the student work attached in the same way
  • LPFs used with PaCT can give us a wealth of information. One attendee focused on LPFs for a year, showing his staff PaCT at the beginning of the next year. He gave them the option of loading marks into PaCT, or into another system. PaCT won hands down

Who can see your PaCT data?

The only reason data is held at MoE is so that they can dig to fix things . Otherwise data follows students. They felt that the data is infinitely more secure than other data that we have trusted for years. This is not helped by rumours and stories, and political agendas.

What about time taken to make judgements?

  • An option is to do each child aspect by aspect, but work in clusters of students. Chunk up students that are similar [😁😁]  [🤪🤪🤪] by looking for similar responses to similar tasks. The teacher is the professional, and they have to trust their judgement. So before marking, group students according to ability. This makes for better time management
  • An attendee from a large girls’ school on the South Island explained that they run a two year maths curriculum. Sometimes they felt that they need to use judgements from the previous year. This is a slight compromise but they are comfortable with that. Exemplars are very numeracy project based. So they look at the concept that they want to check the student had. eg. trig ratio. It is about what the students can do not what they could do on the day. Teachers are encouraged to trust their professional judgements. In this way we get accumulated data
  • LPF helps to know exactly where everyone is in the class because you are aligning to sets. When the teacher is clearer on curriculum, this leads to better learning. Rather than worrying so much about how accurate their judgements are
  • Understanding LPF and having it part of everyday learning is more important than results
  • Have to know students really well. Who’s the passenger? Who’s asking questions? Who’s doing homework? All of this forms part of the LPF judgements

And then there is the question of reporting

  • The PaCT scale sits inside the tool and it is mapped onto an independent scale. Not curriculum levels or in the past, national standards. So for the MoE to make adjustments behind the scenes is easy because the scale is independent. They are currently aligning the box and whisker graphs to be representative of NZ data.
  • Graph Line: gives you expected curriculum progress through 1-5 of the curriculum. When the student tracks below this line, intervention can take place.
  • When looking at overall data comparisons, it goes from years 1-8 in the reports because data is insufficient for years 9-10 student data at this stage
  • It looks like a Plunket graph. Staff like this analogy because they get it
  • There is no level 4&5 for literacy
  • Thinking and communicating are represented in our curriculum which is pretty unique. This can be judged using the LPF
  • LPF must be determined by the student’s independent work. Not scaffolded. There is a general concern that we are scaffolding too much, not raising the bar, and not offering reading programmes at many schools
  • We now have Kāhui ako functionality in PaCT reporting that can track students along their full school journey
  • Reports have three tabs: Tab 1: Progress report designed to have conversation with parents; Tab 2: achievement by time, moving through with 4 judgements; Tab 3: by individual students in class
  • Reports gives NZC expectations and typically working at descriptions. Easy language for parents to understand
  • Reporting can go from a conversion with parents right through to a comparison across kura. Leaders can get big picture view
  • Can look for judgments according to year and level eg 2019 year 4. Can run the report after student has left

Next steps

I will be working with the following table, putting the maths LPF onto a spreadsheet in order to gain a deeper understanding of the maths progressions.

LPF Maths

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