The eight What works best themes below offer helpful ways of thinking about aspects of teaching practice. They are not discrete but overlap and connect with one another in complex ways. Use the guided journey to see what the eight themes look like for reading instruction Years 7-12.

What works best: Reading 7-12

How do teachers' expectations of students affect teaching practice?

High expectations

The eight themes of what works best with the High expectations theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the High expectations theme highlighted

Teachers’ beliefs about their students influence how they teach and interact with them. High expectations are linked with higher performance for all students. The reverse can also be true. Students may achieve less than their full potential if expectations of their ability are low.

The NSW syllabuses (K-10 and Years 11-12) set the expectation for student learning at a point in time. They are the focus for planning, programming, teaching, learning and assessment.

The National Literacy Learning Progression describes common literacy learning pathways. The learning progression allows teachers to more accurately locate a student's current literacy knowledge, understanding and skills to support planning for teaching and learning.

To ensure high expectations for all students when learning to read in secondary years, the Improving reading comprehension Years 3-8: A guide to support conversations about evidence-based practice in reading has been developed.

High potential and gifted students require significant adjustments to ensure they are meeting their learning needs. The Differentiation adjustment tool and the CESE publication Revisiting gifted education can be used to support planning for differentiated instruction in order to extend and enrich reading experiences in all key learning areas.

The HSC hub contains high-quality, on-demand resources that teachers can provide to their students to help them consolidate reading skills.

What learning gains can be made through explicit teaching?

Explicit teaching

The eight themes of what works best with the Explicit teaching theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the Explicit teaching theme highlighted

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.

Explicit reading instruction will support Years 7-12 students to become skilled readers, so that they can access, understand, analyse and evaluate information in order to make meaning across all key learning areas.

Explicit teaching strategies are available for teaching reading in Stages 2-5. They target specific areas in reading and suggest a learning sequence for skill development.

HSC minimum standard resources for reading are available for schools. These classroom ready teaching and learning activities can be used in Stages 5-6 to support students in developing reading skills and achieving the HSC minimum standard.

The Components of reading Years 3-8 professional learning is available and can enhance teacher capacity to deliver explicit reading instruction within their key learning area.

The NSW syllabuses (K-10 and Years 11-12) and the National Literacy Learning Progression provide support in the creation of learning intentions and success criteria for students. Teachers can use these intentions and criteria to provide students with an explicit understanding of what they need to achieve and the steps they must take to get there.

PLAN2 is an online tool designed by the department to support the use of literacy and numeracy learning progressions in all NSW schools. This tool can be used by teachers to collate and organise evidence gathered about student skill progression in the area of reading. This information can be used to identify teaching priorities and the explicit practices required for student learning.

The Learning progressions and PLAN2 in secondary schools webpage provides models and examples of how secondary schools might use the learning progressions and PLAN2 to support and monitor students’ literacy development in the context of NSW K-10 syllabuses.

The Universal Resources Hub (staff only) contains a suite of evidence-based reading resources for Stage 1-Stage 5 teachers across all key learning areas. The comprehensive reading strategies are easily adapted and contextualised to classroom needs and include suggestions for tailored and differentiated learning to build and extend reading skills.

How does effective feedback support student learning?

Effective feedback

The eight themes of what works best with the Effective feedback theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the Effective feedback theme highlighted

Effective feedback provides students with relevant, explicit, ongoing, constructive and actionable information about their performance against learning outcomes from the syllabus.

Frequent analysis of internal and external data and the consistent use of success criteria can support feedback to students and parents as well as provide advice for teachers on next steps for learning.

The National Literacy Learning Progression can support teachers to provide feedback to students on their literacy development across all key learning areas. The Introduction to the progressions professional learning is available for teachers and will support their understanding of how this document can be used as a tool to support feedback practices.

PLAN2 can be used to monitor student growth and development to help identify patterns. Teachers can use learning progression indicators to provide explicit and targeted feedback to students, in order to support individual learning goals.

HSC PL bites are available to help Stage 6 teachers assess, investigate, review and reassess responses to reading questions or tasks. This can assist teachers to determine what has been effectively answered, and what could be improved in line with the marking guidelines. This learning can help teachers provide students with more effective and explicit feedback regarding their reading of and response to exam questions.

Effective feedback resources:

How can teachers use data to understand and monitor student progress?

Use of data to inform practice

The eight themes of what works best with the Use of data to inform practice theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the Use of data to inform practice theme highlighted

Teachers use data to understand where their students are in their learning and to plan what to do next. Effective analysis of student data helps teachers identify areas where students’ learning needs may require additional attention and development.

Scout is the department's data and analysis platform, developed to provide information about our schools. It brings vast amounts of data into one location, allowing users to view all information that is relevant to them at one time. It gathers data for faster answers, simplifying data analysis.

NAPLAN is an annual assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN reading data can be used by teachers to understand student strengths and weaknesses and to plan for effective teaching and learning. The information gathered from the NAPLAN assessment can be used to track student growth over time and to assess whole school literacy priorities.

PLAN2 is designed to help record observations of students’ literacy capabilities based on the National Literacy Learning Progression. It can be used to analyse student needs and teaching priorities by using the literacy progression information to identify where to target the teaching to support students' reading development. It allows teachers to work together to monitor student growth and to help identify patterns to evaluate what works best and strengthen practice.

Short reading assessments are available for Stages 4 and 5. These assessments are aligned with the National Literacy Learning Progression and NSW syllabus outcomes. Teachers can group together or modify these short assessments to suit the learning needs of their students. Teachers can use the information from these assessments to inform planning and programming, as well as provide immediate feedback to their students.

The Check-in assessment is an online reading and numeracy assessment for students in Years 3-9. The reading assessment is mapped to the NSW Syllabuses and National Literacy Learning Progression. The data from the Check-In assessment can be used to supplement existing school practices to identify how students are performing in literacy and to help teachers tailor their teaching more specifically to student needs..

Assessments such as Stage-based assessments, the Check-in assessment and NAPLAN can provide information that contributes to early identification of students who may need reading comprehension support to achieve the HSC minimum standard. This will allow targeted teaching to be provided throughout Stages 4-5.

HSC PL bites are available to help Stage 6 teachers assess, investigate, review and reassess reading responses to determine what has been effectively answered, and what could be improved in line with the marking guidelines. This learning can help teachers use assessment data more effectively to understand and monitor how their Stage 6 students are reading and responding to exam questions.

The following assessments are primarily targeted towards early readers. They are, however, available for students in any Year/Stage level and can assist secondary teachers to identify additional support needs in reading. The student assessment analysis information provided in the Phonological awareness diagnostic assessment helps teachers to use data to inform teaching by identifying where a student is at in their reading development and providing advice on where to next. This information can be used to support differentiation and intervention for struggling readers in a secondary context. The Phonics diagnostic assessment is a short, on-demand assessment that tells teachers how students are progressing in phonics. The ability to use phonetic skills is an essential component of reading and writing.

Teachers can use data to make decisions about next steps in learning for their class, a group or individual students. They can also use the feedback to create an Area of focus in PLAN2 to support monitoring of reading development in the context of NSW syllabus outcomes.

PLAN2 Areas of focus: An overview


The High Potential and Gifted Education Policy Evaluation and Planning Tool provides a framework for school leaders to gather evidence and evaluate their current procedures, programs and practices in relation to reading comprehension. This data can be used by schools to evaluate and strengthen teaching and learning practices to ensure that whole school reading priorities extend high potential and gifted students.

Tell Them From Me is a suite of surveys for measuring student engagement and wellbeing. The surveys can be used to capture student parent and teacher voices, providing reliable evidence for schools to use in identifying strengths and areas for improvement.

How can assessment be used to know that learning is taking place and inform next steps?

Assessment

The eight themes of what works best with the Assessment theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the Assessment theme highlighted

High quality student assessment helps us know that learning is taking place. Assessment is most effective when it is an integral part of teaching and learning programs.

The National Literacy Learning Progression provides support for teachers in planning assessment opportunities to observe students’ reading behaviours and monitor learning and progress. Through formal and informal assessment practices teachers can identify patterns in student growth and plan their teaching to address their students’ needs.

PLAN2 is aligned to the literacy learning progression and can be used to record observations of students’ literacy capabilities. This tool can be used by teachers in all key learning areas to analyse student needs and teaching priorities. Secondary teachers can create an Area of focus in PLAN2 to support monitoring of reading development in the context of NSW syllabus outcomes.

PLAN2 Areas of focus: An overview


NAPLAN is an annual assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN reading data can be used by teachers to know and understand student strengths and weaknesses and to plan for effective teaching and learning.

The Check-in assessment is an online reading and numeracy assessment for students in Years 3-9. The reading assessment is mapped to the NSW syllabuses and the National Literacy Learning Progression. The data from this assessment can be used by schools to strengthen teaching and learning practices and to inform whole school literacy priorities.

The HSC Results Analysis Package (RAP) can be used by teachers and principals to compare their school’s performance to State candidature in an HSC course. Through question-by-question analysis and historical course comparisons teachers can reflect on and assess how their Stage 6 students read and responded to exam questions. This data can be used by teachers and schools to strengthen teaching and learning practices, programs and assessments, and inform future school literacy priorities.

Short reading assessments are available for Stages 4 and 5. These assessments are aligned with the National Literacy Learning Progression and NSW syllabus outcomes. Teachers can group together or modify these short assessments to suit the learning needs of their students. Teachers can use the information from these assessments to inform planning and programming, as well as provide immediate feedback to their students.

How can the right conditions for learning set students up for success?

Classroom management

The eight themes of what works best with the Classroom management theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the Classroom management theme highlighted

Classroom management is important for creating the conditions for learning. Effective classroom management minimises disruption and addresses all levels of engagement and productive student behaviours.

Effective classroom management is important for a student’s achievement in reading because it creates an environment that minimises disruptions, maximises instruction time, and encourages students to engage in their learning.

The CESE literature review, Classroom management: Creating and maintaining positive learning environments defines classroom management and provides a brief overview of classroom management research. It also describes the characteristics of effective classroom management strategies and how schools can best support teachers when implementing them.

Listen to Eddie Woo discuss the importance of student engagement, and define what this means, explaining the research and giving some practical advice.

How can we create a safe environment for students?

Wellbeing

The eight themes of what works best with the Wellbeing theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the Wellbeing theme highlighted

The practices that support student wellbeing involve creating a safe environment; ensuring connectedness; engaging students in their learning; and promoting social and emotional skills.

Tell Them From Me is a suite of surveys for measuring student engagement and wellbeing. The surveys can be used to capture student, parent and teacher voices, providing reliable evidence for schools to use in identifying strengths and areas for improvement.

The CESE research report Supporting students’ learning provides insights from the 2016 Tell Them From Me Survey into advocacy and support for students in schools, including resources for the creation of supportive learning environments.

The CESE publication Cognitive load theory: Research that teachers really need to understand is a publication which supports teachers to understand the science behind learning and intellectual engagement, and why it matters.

Teachers can listen to Eddie Woo discuss the importance of student engagement to gain more insight about the connection between student interest, educational outcomes and wellbeing.

Reading creates opportunities for students to develop key skills and engage with information about their world. Teachers could consider opportunities where students can explore ideas related to social and emotional wellbeing through texts.

The CESE publication Anti-bullying interventions in schools – what works? supports teachers to understand the detrimental impact of bullying on academic achievement and the importance of creating a safe learning environment. The inclusion of anti-bullying content allows students to develop social and emotional competencies and appropriate responses to bullying.

Teachers might want to consider reading within the context of facilitating opportunities for student voice, participation and leadership.

Supporting teaching practice through professional collaboration and further learning.

Collaboration

The eight themes of what works best with the Collaboration theme highlighted The eight themes of what works best with the Collaboration theme highlighted

Professional collaboration allows best practice to be identified and shared across classrooms. Effective collaboration explicitly aims to improve teacher practices and student outcomes.

A range of professional learning is available that focuses on evidence-based approaches to explicit teaching and effective assessment of literacy and numeracy. These opportunities encourage professional collaboration within schools and with other schools.

Focus on vocabulary professional learning is available for teachers of Years 3-8 and is the first of the 'Focus of Understanding Texts' suite to be released. Focus on Understanding texts: The components of reading – Blended learning is also available.

CESE’s publication How schools can improve literacy and numeracy performance and why it (still) matters provides an evaluation of evidence based practices that can improve student literacy outcomes. It supports a whole school collaborative approach to literacy, with a focus on early intervention and targeted teaching of foundational skills such as reading.

PLAN2 supports collaboration across faculties by displaying observations of students’ literacy and numeracy skills recorded in subject areas or groups other than a teacher’s own class.

Professional learning is supported by literacy resources that assist teachers to translate their learning into action. Statewide staffrooms provide an opportunity to connect with colleagues across the state, share resources, and get the latest news and advice on supporting students with their reading development. There are a range of staffrooms to join including Literacy NSW.

The School Support Contacts (staff only) page allows teachers to search for a school to find contact information for non-school based staff. Additional support can also be found in the Literacy and numeracy support (staff only) section of the department's service navigator.

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