Kaden's story

Kaden is a conscientious Year 10 student who is considerate of others and well-liked by his peers. Kaden has a number of close friends who he works well with, and has a dry wit and sense of humour that he incorporates into his written work when appropriate. Kaden is a high performing student – he produces high quality and beautifully presented work, demonstrates deep understanding and critical thinking in his written work, and he is highly organised. 

He tends to read and re-read instructions repeatedly, and frequently re-starts work if he isn’t happy with it. He starts assessments early, and his parents report he spends many hours working on these at home, but makes slow progress as he re-starts sections, spends a large amount of time struggling to decide on the best approach, or large amounts of time researching without starting. 

Students posing for a photo in school grounds.

Kaden does not speak often in class and is reluctant to seek help with his work or discuss projects with peers. His parents report that he will often get caught up for a significant amount of time worrying about a small detail in an assignment, and that despite reassurances his approach is fine, this “obsessive worrying” can be repeated over many days. As a result, he submits most assessments late, and experiences significant anxiety during assessment periods. 

Kaden is considering a number of university courses as potential post-school pathways, and expresses high levels of self-doubt about the likelihood of being accepted into the career pathways he is most interested in. Despite these doubts, Kaden’s family and teachers are confident he is capable of achieving the marks needed to be accepted, provided he can manage his anxiety around assessments and perfectionism.

1. What are Kaden's strengths and what has been helpful so far?

Kaden's strengths:

  • Kaden is considerate of others and well-liked by his peers. 
  • Kaden has a number of close friends who he works well with. 
  • Kaden has a good sense of humour.  
  • Kaden is a high performing student and is highly organised.
  • Kaden starts assessments early. 
  • Kaden is aware of his worries and stress and sees a psychologist for support. 
  • Kaden and his family have consented for his psychologist to communicate with the school.

What has been helpful:

  • Providing clear guidelines with a lot of detail for specific sections.
  • Kaden does not feel as worried when working in groups or paired assessments.  
  • Kaden generally completes timed assessments (for example; tests) and more ‘concrete’ assessments where there is a clear right or wrong answer (for example; maths) to a high standard and within the expected time frame.

What has not been helpful:

  • Kaden’s parents feel that allowing Kaden to continue to spend large amounts of time on assessments may be leading to increased stress and reduced productivity.
  • Tasks with more abstract content, or instructions, and marking rubrics that were more open to interpretation.

2. What is the goal and why is it important?

The goal:

The overall goal for Kaden is for him to experienced reduced anxiety during assessments, and submit work on time, without re-starting or spending disproportionate amounts of time on it. 
 
The initial goal is for Kaden to complete an upcoming HSIE assessment within a set time, while implementing and reflecting on strategies that he could use to manage anxiety around this assessment. 
 
To monitor achievement of these goals, Kaden’s teacher will create a modified assessment schedule and will document the goals and below strategies in his Personalised Learning and Support Plan. 

Why:

Kaden has the legal right to access and fully participate in learning. Personalised planning, programming, assessment and effective differentiation can support Kaden to experience success while improving his wellbeing.

It is important for Kaden to be able to complete assessments, and in the near future achieve his post-school goals, without significant disruption to his wellbeing. 

Learning how to submit items within a timeline will be important skills throughout HSC, university, and within the workplace, and identifying the strategies that can enable him to manage feelings of anxiety will support this.

3. What evidence-based strategies can be used to reach the goal?

Kaden’s HSIE teacher used the high school students with anxiety guide to learn more about evidence-based strategies and resources. After using this resource, Kaden’s HSIE teacher has identified some strategies that can be trialed in his classroom to build on Kaden’s existing strengths and help him achieve the desired goals: 
 

3. What evidence-based strategies can be used to reach the goal?

Kaden’s HSIE teacher used the high school students with anxiety guide to learn more about evidence-based strategies and resources. After using this resource, Kaden’s HSIE teacher has identified some strategies that can be trialed in his classroom to build on Kaden’s existing strengths and help him achieve the desired goals: 
 

Strengths

  • Kaden is a high performing student and is highly organised.
  • Kaden starts assessments early. 
  • Providing clear guidelines with a lot of detail for specific sections.
  • Kaden has a number of close friends who he works well with.

Strategy

  • Kaden’s HSIE teacher will modify the upcoming assessment task to outline clear expectations around time spent on each section, word limits and key learning outcomes. 
  • Kaden’s HSIE teacher will provide opportunities for self-monitoring and reflection. 
  • All students will set individual learning goals for the assessment in the first lesson. Kaden will work on this task with his close friends  and his HSIE teacher will review and ensure that the selected goals are reasonable and achievable.  
  • Kaden’s HSIE teacher will modify the assessment to focus on timely completion, and demonstration of understanding of the content. A focus on time management and on implementing strategies to manage stress and worry will be introduced.  
  • A final report in small group discussions will be submitted with the aim to reflect on what they learned from the process of completing the assessment, approaches that did not work (for example; approaches to time management or researching their topic), what they learned from any mistakes made, and how they would tackle things differently in future.

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Strengths

  • Kaden is aware of his worries and stress and sees a psychologist for support. 
  • Kaden and his family have consented for his psychologist to communicate with the school.

Strategy

  • Kaden’s learning and support team will maintain communication lines with Kaden’s psychologist, and ensure strategies are shared with all teachers, including Kaden’s HSIE teacher. 
  • Where relevant, strategies will be incorporated as ‘whole class’ activities rather than a focus on Kaden alone. For example; the class will spend a few minutes engaging in relaxation exercises as the assessment due date nears, and all students will be given one-to-one time with their teacher to discuss any questions/concerns they have about their assessment.
  • Kaden’s parents will ensure Kaden has time away from study/assessments in line with his assessment schedule, including taking the time to go for a walk, or to spend time with peers on weekends.