Little kids are so cool! Their natural curiosity, desire to learn and always asking “Why?” might drive you nuts during the holidays, but it such a valuable asset in their life-long learning journey. Asking why, as adults, is also a powerful way to gain insight and grow in our understanding of simple and complex issues.
Powerful questions in our learning communities can also take the form of ‘why’ that might sound like;
- Why do we have the routine of …?
- Why do we have the rule of …?
- Why do we have the practice of …?
- Why do we measure …?
The National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy National Report for 2018 has just been released by ACARA. The commentary of findings outlines a challenge in the national data for reading. It shows an increase in outcomes for students in Year 3 and Year 5 between 2008-2018, yet also highlights that this is not reflected in Year 7 or Year 9 over the same period. Whilst this is a national trend, as naturally curious leaders of learning, we ask why and is this reflected in the journey of students in our school?
What does NAPLAN data tell you about the story of learning in your school? Are the ‘gains’ for your students as you anticipated? Does your school have an intentional process to interrogate your data? Do you ask ‘why’? In fact, asking one ‘why’ may not be enough to gain insight into a causation. Asking ‘5 whys’ is a productive strategy to obtain a deeper understanding. Once an initial issue or concern is identified, employing a curious mindset and seeking clarity may lead to a more effective investment of valuable time, people and resources to improve outcomes for students. Check out this short video about the 5 Whys to learn more.
NAPLAN used for learning, rather than comparison can provide a powerful provocation and promote questions in school-wide thinking about learning. What does learning look, sound and feel like for students in your school? Are students able to articulate the process of their learning, areas of challenge and strategies for growth? A simple Y Chart may provide students and teachers with a valuable invitation for reflection and insight for the learning journey ahead.
NAPLAN is only one source of data as evidence of learning. In schools, we collect so much data every day. What is meaningful data in your context? How do teachers use data to inform their practice? How do teachers know that what they are measuring is making a difference? What do teachers do if it isn’t?
What do you measure?
Blessings as we serve, lead and learn together.