Top State Schools NAPLAN results 2022 | The state’s high-achieving schools revealed. The classes, compulsory for years 7 to 10, are designed to help students master critical writing skills: how to structure a paragraph, improve their grammar and express ideas clearly and persuasively.
Top State Schools NAPLAN results 2022 | The state’s high-achieving schools revealed
For principal Lachlan Erskine, now in his 25th year at the school, the literacy sessions – held separately to regular English lessons – are paramount in helping boost the school’s NAPLAN writing results.
“These are explicit literacy lessons where teachers help students with language, complex sentences, extending vocabulary and teaching persuasive and imaginative text types,” Erskine said.
Cabramatta High is one of several NSW schools identified by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) as high-achieving in last year’s NAPLAN results, meaning students showed above-average literacy and numeracy results compared with pupils of similar socio-educational backgrounds.
The 2022 NAPLAN data will be uploaded to the My School website on Wednesday, but this year the student progress measures across years are not available due to the tests being cancelled in 2020.
The schools on the high-achieving list in NSW include Catholic, independent and state schools, and range from high-fee private schools such as Tara Anglican School for Girls and Abbotsleigh to disadvantaged schools including Fairfield Heights Public and Canley Vale High.
At Cabramatta, Erskine said a forensic examination of student results to identify weaknesses was key to lifting results, which are above or well above average in writing, spelling and grammar in both year 7 and 9 when compared with students with a similar background.
The co-ed school with about 1500 enrolments also had above-average numeracy results in year 7 and 9. “Maths masterclasses were set up for students to concentrate on specific concepts, such as measurement or fractions, and to provide catch-up instruction if they had fallen behind,” said Erskine.
“For many families at the school, the education of their children is their number-one priority, and parents set high expectations for them,” he said.
At Tara Anglican School, a private all-girls school in North Parramatta, students received well above average scores in all domains when compared with pupils from a similar background.
Principal Susan Middlebrook credits an intense focus on writing in all years as key to lifting results, and mandating study of a Shakespeare text from year 7.
“We measure data carefully and run external testing and internal testing, in addition to NAPLAN. In year 8 and 10 we have external testing done which helps us work out areas that need attention,” Middlebrook said.
“Students read a lot; everything from science fiction to non-fiction … and they write together and read each other’s work,” she said.
A focus on explicit teaching and discussion among students in the classroom is behind the above average NAPLAN scores for students at John the Baptist Catholic Primary School in Bonnyrigg Heights, according to the school’s principal Brendan O’Connor.
“We focus on critical thinking, problem-solving and lots of talk in the classroom. Discussion in lessons improves children’s use of vocabulary and helps them articulate how and what they are learning,” he said.
O’Connor said a major concern was that many families were unable to access technology during long periods of remote learning. “That posed a problem because we couldn’t assess where they were at. We needed to make sure we tracked students’ progress carefully once they returned,” he said.
The school has 28 traditional classrooms and students sit in groups, but within each room there are extended levels of teaching support depending on the needs of students.
At Hurstville Public, another high-achieving school identified by ACARA, principal Mark Steed said the primary school had focused on improving vocabulary. In maths, he said the school “bucked the downward trend” by concentrating on language-based maths problems including geometry and measurement concepts.
The school, which has 45 mainstream classes, four opportunity classes and four support classes, achieved above-average results in years 3 and 5 across all literacy and numeracy areas.
“Our teachers work together closely, they are constantly adjusting practice, and are really committed to working together.”
This year’s NAPLAN tests are being held earlier in the year, from mid-March, to give teachers more time to act on students’ strengths and weaknesses.
Earlier this month, education ministers agreed to creating new NAPLAN proficiency levels. This means results from this year will be reported in four levels rather than 10 bands.