Explicit teaching practices involve teachers clearly showing students what to do and how to do it, rather than having students discover that information themselves. Students who experience explicit teaching practices make greater learning gains than students who do not experience these practices.

The HSC minimum standard resource provides teachers with teaching strategies and lesson materials to support explicit teaching of identified areas of need in writing, numeracy, and reading. These strategies can be adapted for use across the curriculum in Stages 5–6 to support achievement of the HSC minimum standard.

Teachers can use HSC minimum standard templates to create customised Areas of Focus in PLAN2 that support explicit teaching and monitoring of identified reading, writing or numeracy skills in the context of their syllabuses.

English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) resources (staff only) have been designed to support the learning needs of EAL/D students in working towards the HSC minimum standard.

Teachers can view School Discoveries that explore explicit teaching practice in literacy and numeracy at Kurri Kurri High School (staff only) and Ingleburn High School (staff only).

Note: This video includes information about the former Best Start Year 7 assessment. This assessment is no longer available. Visit the literacy and numeracy website for the current suite of assessment tools.

School Discovery: Kurri Kurri High School


New South Wales high schools are using several tools and strategies to develop students’ literacy and numeracy skills. These will support students’ preparation for the HSC minimum standard online tests.

Kurri Kurri High School determined that to improve their numeracy results, they needed to improve students’ comprehension of worded problems, that involved numeracy.

They combined strategies from both literacy and numeracy programs, to develop the ‘Think board’.

The Think board encourages students to consolidate an understanding of basic numeracy skills and comprehension of word-problems.

Teachers have used feedback from the ‘Best Start Year 7’ assessment, which is mapped to the national numeracy learning progression, to identify the type of questions students need support in solving.

This has enabled teachers to use the Think board, as a formative assessment strategy to identify the misconceptions students hold.

Teachers use discussion time to model a variety of strategies that could be used to solve word problems and address misconceptions held by students.

All Stage 4 students use Think boards as a ‘do now’ activity to start lessons in mathematics.

Teachers in all learning areas have introduced this model, as a way to improve numeracy in their subject.

They have noticed that by unpacking the numeracy demands using Think boards, students are gaining a deeper understanding of the concept in their learning area.

Kurri Kurri High School are now introducing Think boards to their partner primary schools, to assist with transitioning from Stage 3 to Stage 4.

By working with the local primary schools, they can ensure that students from K–12, have consistent language and practices when solving numeracy word problems.

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School Discovery: Ingleburn High School


NSW high schools are using several tools and strategies to develop students’ literacy and numeracy skills. These will support students’ preparation for the HSC minimum standard online tests.

Ingleburn High School has developed a whole school focus on professional learning for teachers working closely with the learning and support teacher.

Adjusting the curriculum has enabled more students to work with the learning and support teacher and introduced processes for feedback to KLA staff on students’ strengths and areas for growth.

They have introduced a third elective for Stage 5 mixing Year 9 and Year 10 students, in a high-interest elective of their choice.

All Year 10 students are withdrawn from this elective for 6 to 7 weeks to complete a skills development program called catch-up for learning.

This program is designed by the learning support team who have identified the skills to be taught in this withdrawal program.

Using evidence provided by class teachers and a range of data sources.

The catch-up lessons are delivered by the learning and support teacher who provides feedback of student progress to all teachers.

By involving all Year 10 students, there is no stigma attached to leaving a classroom.

The learning and support teacher delivers advice on adjusting assessments and is a teacher mentor or expert in the teaching of literacy and numeracy.

They model strategies through team teaching.

They demonstrate how to use both classroom observations and work samples to look for evidence of where-to-next in literacy and numeracy skill development.

Students HSC minimum standard test results provide further information for the school to plan quality professional learning in the teaching of literacy and numeracy.

This is planned 12 months in advance. The learning and support teacher is a key resource in supporting this whole school responsibility for student achievement.

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Professional learning to support the explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy in Stages 5–6 includes: Leading secondary numeracy and Supporting the HSC minimum standard .

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