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 follows the Victorian Curriculum as a guide 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 aim is to provide an inclusive, rigorous learning environment that challenges and engages young people to grow as passionate learners. The school provides a comprehensive curriculum with a strong focus on literacy and numeracy.
Curriculum initiatives include the Readers Workshop (Junior Years), Café Reading (Middle Years), SMART Spelling approach and the STEM program. Another initiative – the Writer’s Workshop – runs with every year level.
In a Writer’s Workshop session, each student in the class is a working author. The teacher is a writing professional and peer coach, guiding authors as they explore their craft. The Writer’s Workshop was designed to emphasise the act of writing itself. Lessons are short and tightly focused on practical real-world issues. Emphasis is placed on sharing work with the class, on peer conferencing and editing, and on the collection of a wide variety of work in a writing folder.
Along with a range of methods – such as the Literature Scheme – these programs are designed to consolidate, extend and apply their skills in deeper and more meaningful ways.
In Mathematics, we have been working towards developing a whole school philosophy based around the three proficiencies and thinking like a mathematician – emphasising metacognitive thinking, differentiation and multiple exposure.
These curriculum areas are cross-referenced with the literacy program to ensure sufficient time is allocated to address the content.
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 a myriad of learning products.
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.