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One School’s Journey. MPA CPA August 2008. Significance of the NZ Draft Curriculum. It was timely as we were about to develop a new 3 year Charter and strategic plan. Initial response – we are already doing it, only need to tweak things to fit …

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one school s journey
One School’s Journey

MPA CPA August 2008

significance of the nz draft curriculum
Significance of the NZ Draft Curriculum
  • It was timely as we were about to develop a new 3 year Charter and strategic plan.
  • Initial response – we are already doing it, only need to tweak things to fit …
  • After consultation and development workshops a clear, meaningful, unique, curriculum framework was developed.
  • Important point - surface versus deep commitment through action research project.

Major Step 1:

Surface versus deep commitment – What does this look like/mean?

How do we ensure we are child centred?

How can we cater for diverse learners?

How can we personalise learning?

Are we culturally competent?

cultural competence

Cultural Competence

In theory, "cultural competence" in the classroom means being able to teach children from diverse backgrounds.

Cultural competence is not composed of merely attitudes or sensibilities; cultural competence is defined by actions and altered behaviours that accompany respectful understanding.

Developing cultural competence is a long-term process. Accordingly, cultural competence cannot necessarily be achieved through compartmentalized instruction sessions or interventions – it must be honed through perpetual individual and institutional efforts in order to be effectively employed.


What does this look like/mean?

Bishop, 2003 Effective Teachers of Diverse Learners - descriptors

Having high expectations and voicing and/or writing this often

Having clear teaching goals and communicating/negotiating these with students

Having a strong commitment to developing students’ learning (understanding and growth)

Having a strong commitment to teaching students how to learn

Continually and critically reflecting on their own teaching

Not accepting mediocrity from anyone (especially themselves)


Constantly supporting and rewarding efforts and learning by students Taking personal and professional responsibility for student learning Clearly identifying what is expected of students or what such learning actually involves Having a clear philosophy of teaching i.e. understanding “the why”Being passionate about their subject or for what is being taught Adapting their teaching, being willing to do so Making homework relevant and checking it carefully and responsively

consultation and development through
Consultation and Development through:
  • TOD & staff meetings – examining what is important, where are we headed, what does it look like …
  • Community survey on teaching & learning
  • Kid’s curriculum group meetings

Designed own survey

Surveyed students

Parent/caregiver phone survey

Collated results and reported the findings

  • Staff/kid’s curriculum group developed visual metaphor
  • Draft framework developed and shared
  • Final version adopted – banner & Charter published.
  • Banner integrated into classrooms.
vision statement alexandra primary school my pathway to the future
Vision Statement:Alexandra Primary SchoolMy Pathway to the Future

We believe that education throughout life (life-long learning) is developed from the foundation of four pillars:

Education takes place throughout life in many forms in an all-encompassing fashion. Likewise the four pillars cannot stand alone. (UNESCO)
values habits of mind
Values & Habits of Mind

Values are those things that really matter to each of us ... the ideas and beliefs we hold as special. Habits of Mind describe the kinds of “thinking habits” we need to have in order to be as successful as possible at solving all sorts of problems. Both Values and Habits of Mind need to be understood and practiced regularly in order to become “second nature”.

At Alexandra Primary School we are currently focusing on developing the following Values and Habits of Mind:

4 pillars of learning unesco encompassing the key competency groups kcg
4 Pillars of Learning (UNESCO)encompassing the Key Competency Groups (KCG)

1. Learning to Know (pillar)

Developing a broad general knowledge

Using Language, Symbols, and Texts (KCG)

Interpreting & using words, numbers, images, movements, & technologies in a range of contexts; making appropriate choices of language & symbols.

4 pillars kcg
4 Pillars + KCG

2. Learning to Do (pillar)

Developing a broad range of skills & strategies.


To think creatively & critically, reflect on their learning, actively seek knowledge, challenge assumptions.

Managing Self (KCG)

To be self-motivated, set personal goals, make plans, be resilient, act appropriately.

4 pillars kcg25
4 Pillars + KCG

3. Learning to Be (pillar)

Developing dispositions, intra-personal skills, physical capacities, aesthetic sense, communication skills, the ability to act with a better sense of judgement & responsibility.

Relating to others (KCG)

To interact effectively, listen actively, to negotiate, to share ideas.

4 pillars kcg27
4 Pillars + KCG

4. Learning to Live Together (pillar)

Developing the ability to work in a team & learn collaboratively

Participating & Contributing (KCG)

Responding appropriately as a group member, participating & contributing, creating opportunities for others to participate.


Why? – Our Vision – Developing Life Long Learners – Pillars of Learning

How? – Identified Teaching & Learning Approaches and ELA Programmes

What? – Learning Themes and Key Competencies

Specificity of Key Competencies, Knowledge, Values

learning themes
Learning Themes
  • A learning theme is based on the idea that people acquire knowledge best when learning in the context of a coherent "whole," and when they can connect what they're learning to the real world.
  • The four broad learning themes, while comprised of distinct essential knowledge, essential skills and activities, have overlapping aspects that work together to strengthen each theme.
  • The learning themes are focused on the future global citizen ethos. That is, they encompass topics that will inform, challenge and enlighten students about their present world and their future world.


Understanding the need to maintain & improve the quality of life now without changing the planet for future generations.


Making sense of and communicating with the world.


Understanding & respecting differences with an open mind. Who we are.


Learning how to become active informed and responsible citizens.


Why? – Our Vision – Developing Life Long Learners – Pillars of Learning

How? – Identified Teaching & Learning Approaches and ELA Programmes

What? – Learning Themes and Key Competencies

Specificity of Key Competencies, Knowledge, Values

key competency development
Key Competency Development

Key Ideas

(based on readings, and discussion, of NZ Draft Curriculum (2006),Carr (2006) and Hipkins (2006, 2007).

  • We view KCs as ‘capacities to aspire’.
  • Competencies are more complex than skills.
  • Competencies continue to develop over time, shaped by interactions with people places ideas and things.
  • Key competencies are complex, have different intentions, interactions and learning opportunities. Because “competence is a product of the interaction of attributes of individuals and the context in which they operate” scrutiny of the characteristics of individual key competencies alone is insufficient to explain effective performance in a range of settings.

Because of their interactive nature, there is no universal and context-free range of competency-strength for any one learner for all occasions; it doesn’t make sense to say, for instance, that a particular student has reached a particular level for “Relating to others”. Key competencies need to be seen as wholes, not just as the sum of their parts.The learner who is to build rich connections across all five types of resources (the KC groups) is likely to become a life-long learner.

dimensions of strength for the key competencies
Dimensions of strength for the key competencies:
  • Mindfulness – whereby the learner takes responsibility for, takes the initiative and develops the key competencies in strength.
  • Breadth – connecting the key competencies and transferring them to all aspects of school life (community life).
  • Frequency – the key competencies will become more frequent over time, within the same intention. By providing robust platforms (Inquiry Learning, SRL skills, and the Values and Habits of Mind programme) the key competencies will be used in other situations.
  • Complexity – recognizing the need to use the key competencies for different purposes. (Carr, 2006)

At APS we develop and strengthen the key competencies through particular learning programmes – Inquiry, Values and Habits of Mind, and Self-Regulated Learning - and develop formative information for teachers, learners and parents through the activities within these programmes.

The table that follows defines the key competencies which presently, underpin our teaching and learning foci. The key competencies are viewed as a map not a level progression. They will guide teacher planning, may be used as a class and or individual self reflection tool, and as a goal setting tool. They underpin our “being” at this particular time.
tod term 2 2008
TOD Term 2 2008
  • Making connections to the principles & values
  • Adopting the principles & values
  • Formulating ELA statements – the Lester Flockton model Alex example
  • Re-defining the attributes of a 21 century learner
  • Revisiting our understandings about the KCs
  • Melding the two - defining the KCs of a 21 century learner, for our school
  • Revising the KC Continuum
  • Developing ways of unpacking the KCs further with our students
for example
For example:
  • The KC Kid.
  • Staff discussion starter (a famous person).
  • Defining what each KC group might look like for each classroom – Y chart.
  • Set homework tasks around the KC groups.
  • Develop short descriptions of what people who have developed particular KCs might say & do.

Common key messages about key competency assessment type

(Hipkins, Boyd & Joyce,2007)

New forms of assessment are needed which promote co-constructed formative assessment.

Portfolio-type self-assessments or observations of key competencies grounded within authentic learning situations are better suited to supporting learners to develop key competencies and for validly assessing key competencies.


The learner should be involved in discussion about progress or in making decisions about selecting the evidence and the learner should be involved in decisions about judging the evidence.Key competencies should be assessed holistically or discretely.More than one task and more than one form of evidence are needed to adequately deal with issues of reliability and validity.


Assessment should explore ways to capture the learning that occurs outside of school - involvement of parents, and members of the students’ wider community, could be incorporated into the model.Assessments need to be manageable and aligned with curriculum and pedagogy.

looking at assessment through a different lens these assumptions made us think hipkins 2007
Looking at assessment through a different lens – these assumptions made us think!Hipkins, 2007.


  • Performance is context specific , so competency is judged only after evidence has been accumulated from a range of performances in varying contexts.
  • Tasks need to be meaningful and engaging for the student.
  • Changes across similar performances may represent evidence of learning as the competencies in question are adapted for use in new tasks.

Documentation that indicates which key competency is being strengthened in a particular learning episode, and in what way, can provide formative information for teachers and learners and could provide some data about how the school is strengthening the key competencies.Carr, 2006

The student needs to be at the centre of the assessment process.



The Rich Task is a reconceptualisation of the notion of outcome as demonstrated or display of mastery; that is, students display their understandings, knowledges and skills through performance on transdisciplinary activities that have an obvious connection to the wide world.Queensland New Basics

Scrutiny of the characteristics of the individual alone is insufficient to explain effective performance in a range of settings … A simple five point scale (e.g. from supported to autonomous) would not do this.

Rychen & Salganik

implications for assessing lifelong learning our interpretations hipkins 2007
Implications for assessing ‘lifelong learning’- our interpretations(Hipkins 2007)
  • Students’ learning needs are foregrounded (different for different students)

Interpretation: personalised learning

  • Helping every child to become a better learner (not using normative assessment to sort on “ability”)

Interpretation: using multi modes & multi contexts to gather evidence

  • Fostering lifelong learning via a focus on dispositions and metacognition (students need to learn to assess their own learning if they are to continue learning beyond school)

Interpretation: the power of student involvement, judgement & voice

  • Helping students prepare for this century not the last two (where does that leave the traditional curriculum “content” assessment focus?)

Interpretation: gathering evidence of the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes during engaging,authentic,real-world,rich tasks.

key ideas we adopted

Key Ideas we adopted:

New forms of assessment & evidence were needed;

We could provide formative information for a summative purpose;

We should be using student voice to make decisions about the evidence;

We needed to design rich tasks to capture complex skill development;

We should be gathering evidence in multiple ways & contexts;

Evidence gathered needs to be manageable & aligned with curriculum & pedagogy (integrated inquiry learning)

How can we gather evidence about ‘complex performances’, that is, the integration of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values?

How can we gather evidence in meaningful contexts?

How can we assess performances involving group tasks and the integration of various learning areas?

how can we show how the school is strengthening developing the key competencies
How can we show how the school is strengthening/developing the key competencies?

In order to gather evidence do we need to consider which aspects of existing practices remain appropriate and which need to be rethought, reshaped, and/or replaced?

Is there a link between the gathering of evidence about the development of the key competencies and the term personalised learning?
word splash kath murdoch 2008
‘Word Splash’(Kath Murdoch 2008)
  • Define the words
  • Connect the words
  • Write a connecting phrase on the connecting line
  • Share interpretations

Why the transition from individual student portfolios to using digital means to gather evidence?

Survey (teachers & parents/caregivers)

Sustaining the ICT Cluster PD contract


Why Digital Evidence?It allows learning to be captured throughout the learning process, as it naturally occurs, rather than at an end point.It allows students to reflect on the inquiry learning process throughout the term when they have the opportunity to revisit important aspects and scaffold their learning.It allows learning to be captured more authentically, in real time.The teacher can reflect on students knowledge and skills, over a period of time, for SWA summative reporting purposes. Judgements made about students work in relation to set criteria may be more reliable and valid.


Throughlines about Digital Assessment:To report student learning progress through the voice of the students.Assessment is more in the hands of the students.Ultimately, to collect evidence about students knowledge, attitudes and skills.It is embedded in a view of teaching and learning of which it is an essential part.It aims to help students know and recognise the standards they are aiming for.


It involves students in articulating the what and why of learning.It involves students in self/peer assessment.It helps students to recognise their next learning steps.It involves both teacher and student reflecting on the learning process.It can motivate students and impact positively on their self-esteem.It can be a direct report from the student to the parent on learning.


The digital assessment information can be used formatively as the student becomes the user of the information, reviewing the whole inquiry learning process, obtaining valuable knowledge about themselves.Digital information is easy to store and can be readily accessed for reference.It forms an ongoing record of a student’s progress.

the challenge
The challenge:
  • To gather evidence of the development of key competencies through the process of inquiry learning;
  • To capture evidence through the voice of the student (as much as possible);
  • To gather evidence throughout all phases of the inquiry learning process;
  • To use many different modes.
how do we assess
How do we assess?

School-wide assessment:

  • Literacy – Reading, spelling (SAT) – Terms 1/4
  • Numeracy – Term 1 & 4
  • Oral & Visual Language – Term 3
  • Inquiry Learning:

main ELA learning intentions – every term

NEMP/Arbs on same focus

  • Digital Assessment of KC development (each class)
what could this look like
What could this look like?

Examples of teacher initiated including student voice:

Year 1 (2007) Rm 13 Let me entertain you

Year 1 (2008) Rm 13 Personalised learning journeys

Year 4 (2007) R9 Learning through the KCs

Pure student voice

Year 4 (Chris, Logan)

Year 8 (Zoe)

phd thesis research

PhD Thesis Research

How did my PhD research journey impact on the school’s curriculum framework development?


The research questions:

How do teachers integrate self-regulated learning strategies into their teaching in order to develop students’ self-regulating behaviours?

How can self-regulated learning strategies be introduced to the learner at particular phases of Zimmerman’s learning cycle?

How do different groups of children develop self-regulated learning strategies?


The research study

  • Teacher participants; data gathering techniques; conducive inquiry context;
  • The SRL intervention
  • Strategies & tools; teacher PD sessions; methodology used - action research
  • The key findings
srl strategies tools
SRL Strategies & Tools
  • Sharing the learning intentions frequently
  • Developing success criteria with students
  • Setting goals daily (behavioural & academic)
  • Monitoring goals frequently
  • Using on task/off task check sheets
  • Use of carrels
  • Use of personal CD player & baroque music
  • Use of timeout capsule
  • Use of STARS
  • Frequent performance time
  • Quality feedback from teacher
  • Self/peer monitoring work against success criteria
  • Self-assessment
  • Developing next learning steps
  • Frequent self/peer reflection
why action research
Why Action Research?

It embodies the following social constructivist principles:

Participant teachers have the opportunity to make their own meaning about their professional practices, to problem solve, trial new ideas, & meet the needs of their students.

It is collaborative, can lead to a change in practice and deeper understandings through critical reflection.

It is an inquiry journey focused on creating new knowledge, as for their students.

findings research question 1
Findings - Research Question 1

Teachers in this study believed:

  • It was important that students, of all age levels, form an understanding of the use, application, and possible benefits of the self-regulated learning strategies and tools before they begin utilizing them.
  • Students should be encouraged to monitor their goals frequently, both orally and in the written form.
  • In order to encourage student ownership of goal setting teachers should model and guide the process, allowing students to progress from setting general goals to more specific meaningful goals, over a period of time.
  • Learning intentions and success criteria need to be presented clearly and revisited frequently so that students have opportunities to reflect on their progress and to develop their next learning steps.
  • The on task off task check sheet posed a dilemma for some teachers concerning teacher control versus student control.
  • Reflection activities can have multiple applications in a self-regulated learning environment.
findings research question 2
Findings - Research Question 2:
  • The teachers were familiar with a cycle of learning before the study began therefore introducing Zimmerman’s cycle of learning was unnecessary.
  • The data provided specific examples of teachers using specific strategies, at particular phases of a learning cycle, which can be co-related to each phase of Zimmerman’s cycle of learning.
findings research question 3
Findings - Research Question 3:
  • there was a perceived higher use of strategies by girls;
  • a greater dependence on the tools by boys;
  • the use of the tools benefited the immediate needs of the boys who were focused on achieving short-term performance goals;
  • the use of strategies such as goal setting, monitoring, planning, evaluating, benefit girls, who are more focused on longer-term mastery goals.
  • the strategies and tools impact differently on different age groups of students.

The following formative assessment practices have to be implemented well, not piece-meal, to be effective:

  • The identification by teachers and learners of learning goals, intentions or outcomes and criteria for achieving these.
  • Rich conversations between teachers and students that continually build and go deeper. That is, conversations that engage the students in reflection encouraging them to clarify, or elaborate on their ideas. The conversation can be initiated by the use of open questions, for example, “How did you achieve that?’. Open questions can act as scaffold prompts by enabling the teacher to develop students’ understanding and encourage them to think beyond the literal.
  • The provision of effective, timely feedback to enable students to advance their learning. The feedback needs to focus the student’s attention on the task being performed.
  • Teachers responding to identified learning needs and strengths by modifying their teaching approach(es).

Major Findings:

Taking part in the self-regulated learning study had positively impacted on the teacher’s practice, allowing them to reflect on their personal knowledge and understanding of their practice and offer other teachers insight into their practical thinking and ideas.

As the teachers refined the self-regulated learning strategies, and their approaches, in order to better meet the study’s goals, they reconstructed their practical pedagogical theories.

In essence the teachers’ understanding evolved from the examination of their practice, and the generation of new knowledge came from facing challenges and developing solutions in light of that examination.

future consideration
Future Consideration

The participatory action research cycle described in this study enabled a culture of ‘transformation’ (as opposed to transmission) as teachers examined their own practice and collaboratively created new meanings.

Future research could investigate how teachers could undertake participatory action research projects focused on the implementation of the new national curriculum statement, grounded in their own questions, and supported by their colleagues.

alex response
Alex Response:

Teacher triangulated peer appraisals leading to 2008 group AR projects to investigate:

How can I improve the number of high frequency words my early writing group can write automatically?

How can I improve the sentence structure of the writing for the children in my class?

How can I improve the children’s awareness of their writing learning intentions?

Do learning intentions help improve their writing?

How can I improve the lower achievers interest and ability in writing?

After proof reading their writing can children identify their next learning steps?

Does specific teaching of punctuation using song improve children’s recognition of basic punctuation?

Does using specific proof reading tools increase/ improve children’s proof reading ability?