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Students with Better Social Skills Achieve Higher Test Scores

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 31, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Peter Barnes

Children who are co-operative, socially responsible and helpful in kindergarten achieve higher scores on reading, writing and numeracy tests in primary school, compared with children with less pro-social behaviour.

This is the finding from a 5-year study of more than 52,000 kindergarten students from nearly 2800 schools.  The study was led by Dr Rebecca Collie at the University of New South Wales School of Education. 

Test scores from the children’s NAPLAN (Australia’s National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) in 2012 and 2014 were compared for four different social and emotional behavioural profiles observed when they were in kindergarten:

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Topics: Writing, Social Skills, Literacy, Maths, NAPLAN, Social & Emotional Learning

Dr Pete Goss, Grattan Institute: About NAPLAN & Student Disadvantage

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 6, 2016 at 5:07 PM

Colin Klupiec

It’s a sensitive issue, but disadvantaged students are definitely worse off.

A new analysis of NAPLAN  results shows a clear link between disadvantage and lower student achievement.

This is a national issue which affects us all.

Dr Peter Goss from the Grattan Institute spoke to me about it on the Learning Capacity podcast. Listen to him explain how we can use NAPLAN data to help identify where help is needed most.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning Capacity, Podcasts, NAPLAN, For Principals

NAPLAN: Alarming Achievement Gaps says Grattan Institute's Dr Pete Goss

Posted by Colin Klupiec on April 29, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Colin Klupiec

For many educators and parents, Australia's NAPLAN is controversial. But whatever your opinion of NAPLAN, the data does provide some information about student achievement.

According to the Grattan Institute’s new model of interpreting NAPLAN data there is a widening achievement gap in Australian schools.  

For example there is a spread of achievement of up to 7 years between students in year 9. This has been described as alarming.

I visited the Grattan Institute in Melbourne to speak with Dr Peter Goss, one of the authors of the report.

He explained the findings in this episode of the Learning Capacity podcast. And he also discussed the implications of the widening achievement gap for Australian education.

The discussion with him was so extensive I have recorded it in two podcast episodes. Be sure to catch part two, episode 57, where we discuss the effects of disadvantage on NAPLAN results.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: Learning Capacity, Podcasts, NAPLAN, For Principals

A Student Called “Australia” – Gabbie Stroud’s Hope for Education

Posted by Colin Klupiec on March 11, 2016 at 5:55 PM

Colin Klupiec

Gabbie Stroud loved her job as a primary school teacher.

Eventually, what she calls the changing nature of teaching led to burn out, and her decision to leave the profession.

In an essay she wrote for the Griffith Review, she talks of her frustrations, but also of a future for education filled with hope and guided by a few dangerous ideas. 

While Gabbie is not in the classroom now, her passion for education remains strong, and she calls for things like profound commitment to teachers, trust, and renewed thinking on things like creativity, imagination and ingenuity.

And she does this for the sake of a student she calls Australia. In her essay she asks, “Who would teach her? How would she learn?" In an episode on the Learning Capacity Podcast, I continue this discussion with Gabbie as we search for the answers to some big questions.

Listen to the discussion:

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Topics: Confidence & Resilience, School, Learning Capacity, Podcasts, NAPLAN

Dr Peter Goss Answers Seven More Questions About NAPLAN 2015

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 29, 2015 at 5:37 PM

Peter Barnes

How many more questions about NAPLAN......

Dr Peter Goss, Director of the Grattan Institute's School Education Program, returned to the Learning Capacity Podcast to answer some more questions about NAPLAN, following his earlier interview about targeted teaching.  In that interview he answered questions about using the NAPLAN data to support targeted teaching as a way of improving literacy and numeracy.

Listeners have asked a lot more questions. Here are seven, with a summary of Peter Goss's answers. To hear his complete replies, listen to the Podcast.

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Topics: Podcasts, NAPLAN, For Principals

Should NAPLAN Test the 4C's as well as Literacy & Numeracy? 

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 16, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Peter Barnes

Emeritus Professor Patrick Griffin, from the University of Melbourne says that NAPLAN should test more than just literacy & numeracy.

Speaking on The Learning Capacity Podcast, Professor Griffin commented on the NAPLAN 2015 results and said that the 4C's (communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity), as well as collaborative problem solving, are essential skills that our students need to participate in the knowledge economy. And these should be tested by NAPLAN.


With NAPLAN testing scheduled to go partly online in 2017, that would create an opportunity to widen the testing to the 4Cs, he suggested.

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Topics: School, Learning Capacity, Literacy, Maths, Podcasts, NAPLAN, For Principals

Grattan Institute’s Pete Goss talks NAPLAN 2015 and targeted teaching

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 4, 2015 at 12:53 PM

Peter Barnes

What is targeted teaching?  Does it produce better student outcomes? How do you implement it in your school?

The answers to these questions are included in a new report titled "Targeted Teaching: How Better Use of Data Can Improve Student Learning", from the independent think tank, the Grattan Institute.

Dr Pete Goss, Director of the Institute's School Education Program, spoke to The Learning Capacity Podcast about the report.


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Topics: Learning Capacity, Literacy, Maths, Podcasts, NAPLAN

Improving Literacy with Fast ForWord Brain Science

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 20, 2015 at 6:05 PM

Peter Barnes

Australia is not the only country unable to improve overall student reading achievement – the NAPLAN 2015 results have shown little or no improvement for eight years.

In the USA reading achievement has largely remained the same for the past 30 years, despite various efforts.

USA reading specialists, Dr Timothy Rasinski and Dr Martha Burns discuss this problem in The Science of Learning Blog.   Their article describes the scientific foundation for effective reading instruction, and how advances in brain science offer some new ways of thinking about reading instruction. They make these key points:

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Topics: Reading, Fast ForWord, Literacy, NAPLAN

Improving NAPLAN Results: Learning Capacity vs Accelerated Learning

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 19, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Peter Barnes

"When we build a student's Learning Capacity by using appropriate, validated neuroscience-based brain training exercises, is this the same as accelerated learning?"

An educator, who had read our blog, NAPLAN 2015: How Fast is it Possible to Improve Literacy & Numeracy?  asked this question recently. She was concerned about possible negative consequences for students who are pushed too hard to accelerate their learning, and wondered if improving the students' ability to learn could 'backfire'.

She said,"Unfortunately people consider ‘accelerated’ learning to be the answer to poor student performance. But this is counterproductive in the long term. I have seen too many students suffer from ‘burnout’ by they time finish high school, because they have been subjected to high performance syndrome and have lost motivation to continue learnng. They have been stretched prematurely".

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Topics: Brain Science, Reading, Learning Capacity, Literacy, Maths, NAPLAN

NAPLAN 2015: How Fast is it Possible to Improve Literacy & Numeracy?

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 7, 2015 at 5:50 PM

Peter Barnes

The publication of Australia’s 2015 NAPLAN results has sparked a multi-sided debate about how we improve student outcomes, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

Robert Randall, head of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) said this year's NAPLAN results showed "that at a national level we are seeing little change in student achievement in these important areas of learning*" (*literacy & numeracy).

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Topics: Brain Science, Reading, Learning Capacity, Literacy, Maths, NAPLAN, For Principals

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