Learning Progressions:

Union concerns vindicated

The Union has received a lengthy response from the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) regarding Learning Progressions. The response pertains to all Catholic dioceses except Lismore and Wollongong.

Member concerns regarding additional work complexity were the impetus for the letter. Specifically, members pointed to the mapping of student literacy and numeracy development via Learning Progressions as being akin to a checklist approach.

While acknowledging it is a NSW Government initiative that involves all sectors, the Union maintains its view that the implementation of the trial has been flawed. The data collection has been cumbersome, time consuming and an end unto itself. In its current iteration it is not a professionally enabling experience.

CCER’s view that the data should inform pedagogical approaches is not unreasonable, but the measurement processes are complex and intrusive on teaching and learning.

Teachers of K-2 involved in the trial will take some comfort from the following acknowledgment in the letter “that meeting the mandatory requirements of this government initiative increases the workloads of teachers”. The letter continues “there were significant technical problems with Plan 2 in Term 1, 2018. The external software was not user friendly and teachers experienced connectivity problems which increased their workloads”.

The advice from nine dioceses for Term 4, 2018 is as follows:

continue using the syllabus for planning and programming

use the Learning Progressions to monitor student learning based on classroom assessments and observations, and

use Plan 2 to record observations in one of the following ways:

(A)Continue to monitor all students in each class from K-2 against the Learning Progressions for the seven identified sub-elements, or

(B)Monitor 5-10 students in each class from K-2 against the Learning Progressions for the seven identified sub elements, or

(C)Monitor all K-2 students against just one literacy and one numeracy sub element.

The support currently being offered is worthy of note as set out in the correspondence.

Additional release

Dioceses have provided the following forms of release in addition to that provided by the Enterprise Agreement or Work Practices Agreements:

release to attend training on how to upload the student data into Plan 2 software

release for professional development, focused on building the capacity of teachers to effectively use Learning Progressions to better inform teaching and learning practice, and

release for the collection, plotting, reporting and analysis of Learning Progressions data, and for working with instructional and school leaders to improve student learning outcomes.

Coaching and instructional leadership

Systemic Action Plan (SAP) schools have received additional full time equivalent allocations, usually in the form of instructional leaders. These roles provide dedicated coaching and support for teachers on the ground in how to effectively meet the Learning Progressions requirements and use this tool to enhance learning outcomes. These specialist supporting roles are performed by experienced teachers who are highly accessible because they do not have a teaching load themselves.

Members who believe they are not receiving the support above should contact their organiser.

Mark Northam
Assistant Secretary