Developing student improvement measures for EAL/D students

Identifying EAL/D students and tracking their progress is essential to developing improvement measures.

Identifying EAL/D students and tracking their progress is essential to developing effective improvement measures. Measuring the impacts of supports is essential to improving outcomes for students. For EAL/D students, improvements are reported through:

  • your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP)
  • your annual report
  • reporting to parents.

The ACARA EAL/D learning progression is used to describe the developmental levels of English language proficiency:

  • beginning
  • emerging
  • developing
  • consolidating.

Teachers assess and record the English language proficiency of EAL/D students across the following 4 modes to provide a holistic view of language proficiency:

  1. reading
  2. writing
  3. speaking
  4. listening.

The EAL/D annual survey relies on this current student assessment data.

Your school’s EAL/D tracking tool, located in the school's data collections website, can be a source of reflective questioning.

  • Which students have not progressed as expected in their reported EAL/D phase?
  • What strategies are in place to support those students who are not progressing at the expected rate?
  • How does the progress of our EAL/D students compare with state-wide trends? What does this comparison tell us about our practices and our students’ English language proficiency?

The ESL Scales provide a detailed description of English language progression for EAL/D learners and are widely used by specialist EAL/D teachers. The NSW English K-10 syllabus, the English Standard Stage 6 syllabus and English EAL/D Stage 6 syllabus, provide a pathway for language learning relative to curriculum outcomes by referencing ESL Scales and literacy progressions. The ESL Scales is suitable for diagnostic assessment to inform teaching and learning. Using ESL Scales in teaching practice could be articulated in a success criterion in your Strategic Improvement Plan.

The performance of your EAL/D students is captured in your system-negotiated targets. By slicing your NAPLAN data in Scout using filters for EAL/D phase, you can more readily analyse learning growth of EAL/D students over time with precision.

This practice of data analysis followed by intervention should result in measurable growth, for example in subsequent NAPLAN assessments and/or school-determined measures such as tracked growth along learning progressions sub-elements.

Newly arrived EAL/D students may apply for a NAPLAN exemption and therefore not be represented in your NAPLAN data, their English language proficiency should be closely monitored.

The EAL/D School Evaluation Framework has been linked with the School Excellence Framework. Your school can self-assess against the EAL/D School Evaluation Framework to determine your baseline at the beginning of the 4 year plan, and build a practice of annual self-assessment concurrently with the SEF S-aS. Depending on the outcome of the self-assessment, improvement measures can be developed for progression across the whole framework, or by targeting specific elements. Using the examples of best practice in the framework, you can develop effective strategies that are linked to planned initiatives.

The School assessment tool: family - school partnerships framework can also be used as a self-assessment tool, and effective strategies for improving community engagement are provided.

Setting specific improvement measures

For schools with a sizable EAL/D equity group, setting specific EAL/D related improvement measures allows you to monitor English language acquisition over the 4 year Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP).

Your system-negotiated target captures performance data from all EAL/D students who participate in NAPLAN.

When monitoring your school’s progress towards targets, it is important to slice NAPLAN data by EAL/D phase so that you can adjust activities accordingly.

  • Increase the proportion of students achieving at or above expected growth in NAPLAN reading from 80% to 90%.
  • Increase % of students achieving expected growth in reading from baseline of 68% to 73%.
  • Increase % of students achieving expected growth in numeracy from baseline of 58% to 62% (EAL/D student success in numeracy is dependent on English language proficiency).
  • Increase % of HSC course results in top 3 bands from baseline (EAL/D student success in all curriculum areas is dependent on English language proficiency).
  • Proportion of students reporting expectations for success, advocacy, and 'sense of belonging at school' increases from 75% to 85%. Note: wellbeing targets are particularly relevant for EAL/D students.

  • The EAL/D school evaluation framework indicates improvement in the SEF Teaching domain - 'Data informed effective classroom practice' and 'Professional standards and learning' from delivering to excelling on all indicators.
  • The framework indicates improvement across all 6 elements to excelling.
  • At least 95% of all EAL/D students progress along the ACARA EAL/D Learning Progression at the same or faster rate than the state average (according to the school's Data Collections website).
  • The SEF indicates improvement in Learning, Assessment, Whole school monitoring of student learning from sustaining and growing to excelling.
  • The SEF indicates improvement in Learning, Curriculum, Differentiation from delivering to sustaining and growing (S&G).
  • The SEF indicates improvement in Learning, Learning culture, Transitions and continuity of learning from sustaining and growing to excelling. Note: newly arrived students and refugee students will generally require a transition plan.

Reflective questions

  • How do we measure our teachers’ understanding of the needs of EAL/D students? Do we need additional professional learning for our teachers?
  • How have our improvement measures captured progress in English language proficiency of our EAL/D students, in particular for our newly arrived students and refugee students?
  • How do our system-negotiated targets for reading and numeracy capture the progress of our EAL/D students and what do we learn from slicing the data by EAL/D phase?
  • What improvement measures specifically capture the progress in English language proficiency for our EAL/D student cohort?
  • Have we used the EAL/D School Evaluation Framework or the School Excellence Framework as an improvement measure, and how will success criteria be embedded in our initiatives?
  • Do our improvement measures for growth enable us to monitor learning for our EAL/D students across the EAL/D progressions adequately?
  • How do our improvement measures identify and monitor our EAL/D students with additional learning needs or high potential?

Learn more

Find out more about School Excellence in Action.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Access and equity
  • Curriculum
  • Educational accountability
  • Health, safety and wellbeing
  • School Excellence Framework
  • Teaching

Business Unit:

  • School Performance – South
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