Transcript of K-2 draft outcomes and content

Transcript of K-2 draft outcomes and content – online information session

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James Hoffman:

Good afternoon colleagues. Welcome and thank you for joining us for this information session. My name is James Hoffman and I'm the leader of the department's Primary Curriculum team. I'd like to start by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the various lands on which we work today and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people joining us today.

Today's information session is an important step in our curriculum reform journey in New South Wales and we are pleased to share with you the first of, what we hope to be, many sessions to support you with this significant reform.

The session is being recorded and will be made available on the department's NSW Curriculum Reform website. The link was shared in SchoolBiz and is also provided in the end slide of this presentation.

Soon NESA will announce the commencement of the 'Have your say' period where the K-2 English and mathematics draft outcomes and content will be made available through NESA's website and you will have the opportunity to provide feedback both individually and as a school. Ahead of this announcement, the Primary Curriculum team spoke with three NESA officers to bring you insights into the development of the K-2 English and mathematics draft outcomes and content and provide information about how you can have your say.

First, we spoke with Catherine Thomson. Catherine is the Reform Lead of K-6 Literacy and Evidence at NESA and is responsible for leading the overall reform of the primary curriculum. Let's hear what she had to say.

Catherine Thomson:

Hi everyone and thanks for joining this information session for the K-2 curriculum reform work. My name is Catherine Thomson and I'm leading the K-6 Curriculum Reform at NESA. I'm joined today by two of my colleagues, Jake Little, our Numeracy K-10 subject matter expert and Joanne Geary our K-6 English subject matter expert.

Today we're going to talk to you about the upcoming 'Have your say' period for the draft English and mathematics outcomes. As you know, the Government released the response to the Curriculum Review last year and they have put in the supported recommendations. There's quite a vast lot of recommendations and each one intersects with the other.

But for this piece of work around K-2 English and mathematics, there were a number of recommendations that we paid specific attention to and the first two are here: Reform priority 1.1 and 1.2 which is all about identifying essential facts and concepts and then of course resequencing of the core content.

And you can see how we've applied that to the new draft outcomes and content. We've identified essential fundamental knowledge, our new outcomes clearly show the essentials and the approach has been informed by the latest evidence. On the way, we found that there was quite a lot of duplicated or repeated content, sometimes in more than one KLA and we've also looked at those ambiguous qualifier terms and tried to remove them to make the content much clearer for teachers.

The reform priorities that pertain specifically to the early years are 4.1 through to 4.3 and as you'd be well aware, there is a call to make explicit that oral language development, early reading and writing are top priorities in the early years, that a detailed and explicit curriculum for the teaching of reading and mathematics to support teachers in establishing and diagnosing where students are in their learning and to provide accompanying evidence-based teaching advice.

Now we've addressed that through creating outcomes that are more explicit to support a common understanding of expectations of our students. The content headings and organisers are included and they point to key understandings and skills that go to make up the outcome. The content is organised to represent the evidence base on what is important and necessary for students in the early years.

And we've attached some sample teaching advice to particular outcomes which is based on research and in the upcoming 'Have your say' period we're really interested to see your feedback on whether that teaching advice is helpful. And we have, as I said, attached it to some outcomes and it's sample advice so we're looking forward to hearing your feedback on that.

So the progress on the activities in K-2 to date since the release of the Government response. The first thing that was done was an expert review was conducted of the syllabuses and an analysis of... what the strong points were and what the points that could be changed or strengthened but also how the recommendations that we've just been through, pertain to the new structure and new outcomes and content.

Then we were able to have some wonderful teachers come in and draft the outcomes and content for us and that involved orientating the teachers to the Government Response. The teachers then developed the first draft and then we refined, at NESA, the draft in conjunction with some stakeholders including what we're calling a Technical Advisory Group, both one for English and one for maths and they had academics and expert practitioners in their area and they were really able to advise us on research and sequence of content and explicit nature of outcomes.

So the dark blue circle that you see in front of you is where we're up to now with the 'Have your say' period and we're really excited about this because it involves working with the profession and the community and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback.

But what we're looking for is to see if we have a logical sequence of expected learning. We'll be asking you if the essential learning is there. And when we talk about essential learning, we're really thinking about, "what is it a student has a complete right to know?" So what is that curriculum entitlement for students?

And what we'll be sharing with you currently, very soon, is the draft outcomes and content for K-2 English and mathematics. We'd like to share that we've had a wealth of expertise from teachers in this process and we can really say that these outcomes and content have been written by teachers for teachers.

We've had 12 teachers working in this together with 2 academics, 3 subject matter experts and over 20 technical advisors in the form of the TAGs that I mentioned earlier... and also in the form of special expertise from various stakeholders.

Our teachers were recommended to us by the sectors, the professional associations, academics and the unions and from there we were able to get 12 wonderful teachers from across NSW who had experience in teaching a whole range of contexts and students including Aboriginal education, EAL/D education, special education. We had teachers, as you can see, from rural remote and metropolitan New South Wales so we were really able to think about small schools and large schools and all the complexities that go around with the different locations in NSW.

So what will you see on the 'Have your say' site? You will find draft outcomes and content for download in the form of a PDF and you will see a link to a feedback survey and that's to ensure everyone has a voice. I've put a QR code there for the site. It is live at the moment but at the moment the draft outcomes and content and link to the feedback aren't there and they'll be available from mid-March.


Who can complete the survey? Well we're really encouraging individual responses, they're very welcome but also as people would like to do, school association group responses are also welcome. And that's the beauty of having the draft outcomes and content downloaded in PDF form. You can download them, take them away, draw on them, put them up around the room and then come back and fill out the feedback or you can do it, you know, online at the same time as you're downloading them. So we're really conscious to make them accessible for everyone to have a look at.

So what will you see when you open the PDF or download the PDF? I'm going to walk you through that in a moment but first, I wanted to talk to you about why we have represented it in a PDF for the 'Have your say' period. So as I mentioned earlier there are quite a few recommendations in the Government Response and one does pertain to how we... the tools we give teachers to use and make sure they can navigate the curriculum and so NESA are working on a digital solution for that.

And as that digital solution is still being designed at the moment, and we really need the profession to look at our outcomes and content sequencing, we've decided to put it into a PDF format. So there are a number of things that you will see here that will obviously... we would hope to represent in a digital way and I'll talk you through them as I go through.

So at the top you will see the name of the outcome as you would expect and then you will see either the outcome or the outcomes. And I say outcomes because sometimes in mathematics there will be two outcomes under the one heading. Under the outcome there is content and you will then see the content organiser.

So in this case, it is to sort and describe 2D shapes. The content under that is sequential and you will notice that it starts with a demonstrable verb. And it's important to note that the content is what is important for students to know and do to meet the outcome. The content is not a teaching point, it's what students need to demonstrate.

Most outcomes have two or more organisers that show the big ideas or the important essentials that fit within that outcome and each under each organiser, where possible, it has been organised in a sequence that has been based on research. You'll also find that there are images and icons, especially in mathematics because sometimes the icons or the images really do explain some of the content a little bit further.

Down the bottom, on the left hand side of the page, you will see footnotes and that is where we have put the examples for some of the content points. So there will be the number and the corresponding number down in the footnote which will explain the example.

Examples have been put down there for two reasons. One, to make the content crisp and clear and to really show what a student needs to know and do. And the other reason is, for that, in the digital solution we envisioned that there will be a rollover or a hyperlink or some such feature that will have the content closely linked with the example but as a... and but still keep the content really clear.

The last thing you'll see on the page there is a heading called 'teaching advice' and as I spoke to you earlier we are really looking forward to sharing some sample teaching advice for about three outcomes in mathematics and about three in English. And these are just to see if they're helpful for teachers and if they're helpful for teachers we will look to include them for all of the outcomes.

At the moment they're represented at the end of the PDF document, again to make it really clear the content and the outcomes and to really look at that progression of learning but also so you can really have a look at the teaching advice as well and see if that seems helpful to you. In the digital solution, we envision that the teaching advice will be tagged or linked in some way to the outcome so that when you pull up the outcome you will also have the option to see the teaching advice that goes with it.

So there's lots of nice creative solutions and I think, especially for primary teachers, there's a lot of potential here around how we can show the links between maths... not only maths and English but all of our KLAs are there's some very creative ideas that we should start thinking about.

After seeing those examples of the outcomes and content in the PDF, you might have some other questions pertaining to the rest of the curriculum framework and the 'Learning across the curriculum'. We are really conscious that we want to get the progression of outcomes in the sequence of content really clear and right and make sure that is really crisp for teachers and so that's why we we're consulting on the draft outcomes and content. We will come out with the curriculum framework in mid-2021 and the 'Learning across the curriculum' areas as well. The text requirements in English will also represent the 'Learning across the curriculum'.

Your time is important and we know that but we would really appreciate your feedback as it will inform the final outcomes and content for NSW students. A collaboration between the profession and the community and the Government will ensure that the syllabus articulates that curriculum entitlement. That is one of the very great strengths of NSW education.


And the Minister has come out and said that this is a once in a 30-year opportunity and I would agree with that. So it's a really nice opportunity to be directly involved in key government decision making. Now that being said, we're hoping to get lots and lots of feedback through the survey so we'll obviously be compiling that and we'll look forward to the many different responses.

Now with that brings my part of the presentation to an end and so I have a real pleasure now in introducing Jake Little from NESA. As I said, he is the Numeracy K-10 subject matter expert and he will talk to you about the mathematics work that he and the team have been doing and then he will hand over to Joanne Geary, our K-6 English subject matter expert and she will talk to you about the English K-2 work that we have been doing. So thank you and look forward to talking to you again in the near future.

James Hoffman:
So we've just had a really nice introduction from Catherine. It was helpful to learn about how NESA has translated each of the Reform priorities into the development of the K-2 draft outcomes and content and that the process has seen input from both experts and teachers from different contexts right across NSW.

It's okay if you missed some of the QR codes and links shared by Catherine. We will make the links available on the department's NSW Curriculum Reform webpage, along with the recording of today's session.

Next, we spoke with Jake Little. Jake is currently the subject matter expert for numeracy at NESA and is part of the team leading the reform of K-2 mathematics. Let's hear what he had to say.

Jake Little:

Hi, I'm Jake Little. Subject Matter Expert Numeracy at NESA. And today, I'm looking forward to sharing with you the exciting changes we have made in K-2 mathematics that you will see in the draft outcomes and content. Let's now have a look at the key changes that you will observe in the draft outcomes and content for K-2 mathematics.

Firstly, some things have stayed the same. We still have the three content strands of Number and Algebra, Measurement and Space, a name change that now aligns with the Australian curriculum mathematics, and statistics and probability. Also, the Working Mathematically processes still remain embedded within the content.

The three changes we will go over today include: a reorganisation of the draft outcomes and content, the introduction of content organiser headings and a change to the way Working Mathematically is represented.

In the draft outcomes and content for K-2 mathematics, you will notice that content has been reorganised. Content in K-2 mathematics has been reorganised for three reasons. Firstly, to declutter and focus teachers' attention on essential concepts and skills. Second, to support teachers to make connections across mathematics topics. And third, to support teachers to develop student skills in applying knowledge in useful and meaningful contexts.

In the current syllabus, there are five sub-strands for Number and Algebra. In the draft outcomes and content, there are now three including representing whole numbers, combining and separating quantities and forming groups.

In the current syllabus for Measurement and Space, there are nine sub-strands. Content has been rearranged into four sub-strands in the draft outcomes and content including geometric measure, 2D spatial structure, 3D spatial structure and non-spatial structure. For Statistics and Probability, the two sub-strands of data and chance remain.

This graphic also emphasises that Working Mathematically encapsulates teaching and learning across all three strands. This graphic shows how the sub-strands in the current mathematics syllabus have been rearranged into the sub-strands in the draft outcomes and content that you will see.

So for example, for number and algebra, the sub-strands of combining and separating quantities includes the original sub-strands of addition and subtraction and part of patterns in algebra for forming groups that includes the original sub-strand of multiplication and division, part of patterns in algebra and fractions (collection-based).

In measurement and space, the sub-strand geometric measure includes length, position and fractions (linear-based). For 2D spatial structure, that includes area and 2D space. For 3D spatial structure that includes volume and 3D space and for non-spatial structure that includes mass and time.

For statistics and probability, the two sub-strands remain as data and chance. The development of the K-2 Mathematics Syllabus has been informed by peer-reviewed international and national research, such as papers from the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, research reports into early years mathematics such as papers from the Australian Council for Educational Research and also teachers experience and knowledge in the development of students mathematical skills knowledge and understanding.

Another change that you will notice in the draft outcomes and content for K-2 mathematics has been the introduction of content organiser headings within the content dot points. What these do, is they support teachers to identify the key points in learning content towards the outcome. They will support teachers also to identify core concepts and skills within the outcome and under the content organiser headings, content is sequenced.

In the draft outcomes and content for K-2 mathematics, another change that you will notice is the representation of Working Mathematically. However the importance of all the processes involved in using mathematical thinking such as understanding, fluency, communicating, reasoning and problem solving remain embedded within the content. However, there is now one overarching Working Mathematically outcome developed for K-2 mathematics.

Another change for working mathematically that you will notice in the draft outcomes and content, is the increased emphasis and focus on reasoning as a working mathematically process. So why reasoning? Research has shown that students' ability to reason about mathematical relations is an important predictor of their mathematical achievement.

What you will notice in the draft outcomes and content is that reasoning is now specified in three ways: reasoning about quantity, reasoning about relations and reasoning about spatial relations, indicated where they are most likely to be developed. Research has shown that the general descriptions of reasoning that appear in the current syllabus don't appear to be related to mathematical achievement.

So what you can see on the screen on the right-hand side is an excerpt of content from Early Stage 1 data in the draft outcomes and content. You will notice in the three content dot points of two, four and five that we have indicated the specific type of reasoning: reasoning about relations and reasoning about quantity.

So that's an overview of the changes for K-2 mathematics and we look forward to your feedback in the 'Have your say' period. Thank you.


James Hoffman:

Again, a very nice overview from Jake, especially in terms of helping us to understand what is new and what will be retained. For me personally, I thought it was particularly helpful to see the two visuals, the first of which showed the overview of the outcomes and content and the second really showing how the existing content fits into the new streamlined structure.

It was also really interesting to learn how Working Mathematically will be represented and the importance of reasoning. As for Catherine, all of the links shared by Jake will be made available on the department's NSW Curriculum Reform webpage along with the recording.

Finally, we spoke with Joanne Geary. Joanne is currently the subject matter expert for K-6 English and is part of the team leading the reform of K-2 English at NESA. Let's hear what she had to say.

Joanne Geary:

Hello. My name is Joanne Geary and I'm the subject matter expert English K-6 here at NESA. Like Jake, I'm excited to be presenting to you today and I'd like to share the changes to K-2 English as a result of the NSW Government Response to the Masters' Curriculum Review. Catherine has noted the specific NSW Government response priorities that relate to English.

So what has been retained and what is new? The English syllabus includes outcomes and content. The importance of literature to the English subject discipline remains fundamental and organisation of content comes under stages. What is new? Content organisation that represents current evidence-based research supporting the development of strong foundations in literacy, new outcomes and content to clearly identify essential learning and outcomes are organized under key processes of understanding texts and creating texts.

I will now explain the new K-2 English Syllabus structure. There are two key processes of understanding texts and creating texts that encompass all other areas. There are outcomes and content for the following: oral language and vocabulary, phonological awareness, print conventions in Early Stage 1, phonic knowledge in Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 text reading fluency and reading comprehension, creating texts, spelling, handwriting in Early Stage 1 and handwriting and digital technologies for Stage 1 students and respond to and create literature.

The Government called for an evidence-based approach to developing a new K-2 English syllabus. We followed a process outlined in the 'Reading Instruction Evidence Guide' developed by AITSL in 2020. This was written to support initial teacher education providers identify well-designed studies, trustworthy research and meaningful evidence to inform decisions relating to the teaching of reading instruction. As the guide suggested, we looked at meta-analysis, systematic reviews, qualitative research of evidence that can be situated in the classroom, expert opinion and teacher voice.

The research identifies six key elements often called 'pillars of early reading instruction': phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and oral language. Phonological awareness has replaced phonemic awareness as an overarching construct, as phonemic awareness relates to hearing the smallest units of sounds in words and phonological awareness includes the ability to hear larger units of sounds such as onset and rhyme or syllables which students typically developed before phonemic awareness.

Konza's systematic review of literature in 2014, saw oral language added as an additional pillar. Together these pillars are sometimes referred to as the 'big six'. All of these pillars are interrelated and connected here in the context of reading but many pertain to other aspects of English and in the new K-2 syllabus we acknowledge the relationship between reading writing and texts.

One other significant piece of research we have referenced is Scarborough's 'reading rope'. The visual of the reading rope encapsulates the complexities experienced by an emergent reader and makes clear that strong reading comprehension cannot occur unless both decoding skills and language comprehension abilities are strong.

You will see strong alignment to this research base in the draft K-2 English Syllabus outcomes and content. English is the subject discipline that brings together using, understanding and appreciating the English language in all its textual forms. The study and enjoyment of texts is how the English is made distinct from the literacy or skills within the subject. To be a successful English language learner and user, it is imperative to understand how language is represented, how you put it into practice and how you make meaning from it.

To this end, the AITSL definition of grammar displayed has helped shape our understanding and decision about inputs into the new K-2 English Syllabus. The visual demonstrates the grammar connections embedded throughout the syllabus.

The Government has clearly called for essential concepts, knowledge, skills and understanding to be included into new syllabuses. As the study of a wide range of texts essential to subject English, one way of describing concepts in English is that they are the lenses through which you can explore, adapt, appreciate and critique the text that you read and share with students in classrooms.

In Early Stage 1, content has been organised under context, narrative, character, imagery, symbolism and connotation and perspective and for Stage 1 students context, narrative, character, imagery, symbolism and connotation, representation and argument. It is also important to mention that the 'respond to and create literature' outcome will work hand in hand with the outcome for 'creating texts'.

The Masters' Curriculum Review and the NSW Government Response highlighted the importance of oral language in the early years. Oral language and vocabulary develop before the language abilities of reading and writing in students. Oral language development encompasses both receptive and expressive language skills and is closely aligned with early literacy development. Oral language and vocabulary form part of many formal and informal interactions for different audiences and purposes and are governed by culturally accepted ways of using language.

In the K-2 English Syllabus, we have organised content under an oral language outcome for the following: listening for understanding, social and learning interactions understanding and using spoken grammar and oral narrative. For the vocabulary outcome, we have listed content that pertains to personal use of vocabulary and taught use of vocabulary. And vocabulary is also highlighted in outcomes for creating text under 'word-level language' and in reading comprehension under 'activate word meanings'.

The Government has called for the early years of school to focus on providing every child with solid foundations in the basics especially oral language development, reading and writing, knowledge and skills. The foundations, or basics for reading, lie in what are often regarded as constrained skills within phonological awareness, print conventions and phonic knowledge.

We have included outcomes and content for each of these areas and the knowledge and skills for these areas need to be taught early and mastered quickly by students so that their knowledge and skills in other aspects of English continue to develop in an ongoing manner.

So what you will see under the phonological awareness outcome is content pertaining to syllables, onset and rhyme patterns, phonemes and word boundaries. For print conventions, you will have content pertaining to essential features of texts and print that beginning readers and writers need to know about and demonstrate. For phonic knowledge, you will have content for the initial and extended phonic code, single-letter grapheme-phoneme correspondences, common consonant digraphs, vowel digraphs and trigraphs.

In text reading fluency, you will find content for accuracy, reading rate, expression or prosidy. In reading comprehension, you will find content listed under subheadings for activate word meaning, understanding and connecting sentences, understanding whole text and in monitoring comprehension.

Creating texts is the outcome that supports students to consider the context audience and purpose for their writing. They organise their ideas and consider text structure, sentence and word-level choices. We've organised content under headings for writing processes, text-level grammar, sentence-level grammar and word-level language. The writing processes is new to this syllabus because we want students to understand that writing is indeed a process. It involves revision and editing but it is also something that can be shared and enjoyed with others.

Spelling includes phonological, orthographic, morphological content and spelling generalisations and strategies. Under handwriting, we have content that pertains to legibility, fluency, automaticity, pencil grip and seating, letter size, directionality and position and digital technologies content is introduced to students in Stage 1.

We have made notes throughout the syllabus on how one particular aspect can best be addressed in parallel with another in English. For example, with creating texts the content is best addressed in parallel with respond to and create literature, spelling and handwriting and digital technologies.

We hope this addition supports you in your planning for K-2 English. Thank you for your time and attention today, everyone. I urge you to go on to the NESA website when the draft outcomes and content for K-2 English are released. You will see there is some teaching advice included for three aspects of English and it is intended that further support materials will be developed over time. We really look forward to your feedback during the 'Have your say' period.


James Hoffman:

Significant changes for English, perhaps even more so than for mathematics. Again, the visuals shared by Joanne showing the draft outcomes and content organised into understanding texts and creating texts was very helpful and good to know that English retains the emphasis on the reciprocity of responding and composing as we currently know it.

It's very pleasing to see strong links to the evidence base and a focus on building strong foundations in the early years for both English and mathematics. Another exciting feature is the concept of parallel content which looks like it will be really helpful when planning and programming.

Colleagues, thank you for joining us. We hope you've enjoyed the session and have been able to take away something to share and discuss with colleagues at school as we start to better understand the NSW Curriculum Reform. We do encourage you to take part in NESA's 'Have your say' period which opens soon. Your feedback is really important in continuing to shape the curriculum reform.

Any questions about the K-2 draft outcomes and content you may have collated throughout today's session can be submitted to NESA through the 'Have your say' links provided in the end slide of this presentation. The recording of today's session and additional links will be made available on the department's NSW Curriculum Reform webpage until the end of the 'Have your say' period. The link to this webpage is also provided in the final slide.




We hope you've enjoyed today's session. Thank you and see you next time.

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