At Ashburton Primary School we believe all students need room to grow and space to learn. Classroom programs are planned to cater for a range of ability levels to ensure all students work to the best of their ability. Our school offers educational programs within a supportive learning environment that promotes personal excellence and fosters risk taking, participation and communication.
Our school is currently combining new Australian Curriculum and the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS), using them as guides to plan our curriculum and report on student achievements. The results of NAPLAN (national student achievement tests) confirm that our school provides highly successful programs and effective classroom teaching matched to students’ learning needs.
How we teach at Ashburton
Ashburton Primary School matches the curriculum with individual and group learning needs, abilities and styles. A variety of pacing options allow students to progress at their own rates. Teachers continually assess the level and rate of each student’s learning. The best learning environment is when teachers understand and encourage the strengths and abilities of students. Our educational program allows teachers to focus on individual requirements and provide a range of strategies to enable creative and critical thinking. We believe that our students’ learning must go beyond the acquisition of knowledge; we aim to equip them with the skills, qualities and understandings that will enable life long learning.
Literacy and Numeracy – the Core
At Ashburton, the student’s core learning area is Literacy and Numeracy. In the critical Early Years (Prep to Year 2), great emphasis is placed on developing literacy, numeracy, thinking and social skills in the Early Years Program. We follow the Early Years Literacy program where students work in small groups to develop competence and fluency in reading, writing and speaking and listening. In Numeracy, they move from concrete material to using basic symbols around authentic problems.
During Years 3 & 4, students continue to develop these skills. Increased vocabulary, complex punctuation, responding to a range of text types and exposure to a variety of writing genres are all part of the Café Reading program. Students are expected to discuss ideas and beliefs and express informed opinions, based on a range of sources. Students also begin to solve mathematical problems that require more than one process. They develop complex mathematical language and begin to test mathematical hypotheses.
Year 5 and 6 students are the leaders and role models of our school. They begin to realize they can have influence over others and can make a difference locally and globally. The teaching of literacy, numeracy, thinking and communication skills is still essential. Students need to consolidate, extend and apply their skills in deeper and more meaningful ways. This is done through the Literature Scheme where students are expected to analyse and identify opinions offered by others and propose other relevant viewpoints. Students are also expected to increase their drafting, editing, grammatical and vocabulary skills through exposure to a wide range of everyday and media texts and sharing personal pieces of writing.
In Years 5 & 6, students are learning to work like mathematicians. They learn to solve problems by applying a range of strategies and checking the results to prove their solutions. They also link their learning of the various mathematical practices that take place day to day in communities around the world.
Information and Communication Technologies
Technological advancement means the way our students experience learning is changing. The static curriculum delivered within the four walls of a school has evolved into a learning environment that reflects the needs of individual students, inside and outside of school walls. Our vision is that all teachers and students have access to contemporary technology and world-class digital content so they can create, communicate and collaborate locally and globally. We strive for an environment where learning is engaging, personalised and authentic to enable students to become confident, creative individuals, and active informed citizens of the twenty-first century. Students work with macbook laptops, iPads, flip cameras, ipods and blue screen to complete a myriad of learning products. Students have access to interactive Whiteboards to complement instruction and student presentation.
Assessment is an ongoing process of gathering, analysing and reflecting on evidence to make informed and consistent judgements to improve future student learning. A range of assessment practices are used with three purposes:
Assessment FOR learning – occurs when teachers use inferences about student progress to inform their teaching;
Assessment AS learning – occurs when students reflect on and monitor their progress to inform learning goals; and
Assessment OF learning – occurs when teachers use evidence of student learning to relate student achievement with goals and standards.
The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student performance. Good assessment is based on a vision of the kinds of learning we most value for students and how they might best achieve these. It sets out to measure what matters most. Assessment is most effective when it reflects the fact that learning is a complex process that is multi-dimensional, integrated and revealed in student performance over time. A variety of assessment methods provide teachers with evidence of what students know and can do, and their particular strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can then report to parents on how far their child has progressed during the year, where they are compared to the relevant standards, and what the student, the parent and the teacher need do to improve the student’s performance. It is important to know of the outcomes achieved by each student. It is also important to know of the experiences and effort that contribute to these outcomes.
Student learning is best fostered when assessment involves a linked series of activities undertaken over time, so that progress is monitored towards the intended course goals and the achievement of relevant standards. All assessment methods should allow students to receive feedback on their learning and performance so assessment serves as a developmental activity aimed at improving student learning.