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An Integrated Approach to Lifting Student Achievement at MRGS (Reflective Summary)

  An Integrated Approach to Lifting Student Achievement 

At Mt. Roskill Grammar School, we want all of our students to be successful powerful learners who are active and responsible citizens. To this end, we have taken a multi-directional approach to raising student achievement. This is because we believe students achieve best when they:

  • have access to quality responsive teaching;
  • get opportunities to actively participate in real learning experiences and;
  • receive accurate information and feedback on their learning and achievement.

VLN Diagram

Supporting Teachers with a Lead Team:

A layered Professional Learning Model with distributed leadership  has been set up at the cluster. An E-Learning Lead Team continues to lead and support teachers towards best practice in e-Learning techniques. The Lead Team has become an important and effective catalyst for change in improving pedagogies across the school.


Developing an interactive LMS, "iLearn":

The school's moodle LMS known as "iLearn"has continued to be an important online learning space for students and teachers. Students and teachers access information, reflect together and contribute to learning conversations. We have seen rapid growth in iLearn as a learning space. 


Supporting Students with Tracking and Mentoring:
In  order to support students to set and advance achievement goals, the school has employed ICT tools to provide every senior student with clear and timely NCEA achievement information. Then every teacher has selected targeted students with whom they will initiate data informed conversations about their achievement and mentor them, co-constructing ways to achieve their specific goals. It is intended that families and whanau will also be brought in on these important mentoring conversations. It is this new and emerging development that this reflective summary focusses on.


Integrating the elements:

Raising student achievement is a complex activity and requires initiatives to have a unity of purpose. Recent advances in e-Learning at the MRGS cluster, led by the E-learning Lead Team have resulted in improving pedagogies as teachers have been supported to reflect together and work collaboratively to trial and embed a variety of new practices that utilise ICT tools and e-Learning techniques.

Also the structures that support these new pedagogies and extend learning beyond the classroom are now in place and becoming part of the way we do things at the school:

  • iLearn use has more than doubled in the last six months alone;
  • Every student at the school now has a school email address that is linked into the LMS;
  • A parent portal is under construction to allow information about achievement and engagement to be shared with families and whanau to further support learning.

We believe that a carefully constructed and data informed schoolwide process to engage students and their families in learning goals and plans is the next step in ensuring that the advances in pedagogies and technologies bear fruit in student achievement.

Tracking NCEA achievement and Mentoring Students to Support Learning and grow the Learning Community.

In 2011, we noticed a decline in our 2010 Level 1 Literacy rates, which had fallen below levels previously observed and below the national average. During 2011, the progress of students in Year 11 was tracked and students who were at risk of not achieving the literacy requirement were identified and interventions put in place. This year we observed a 15% increase in literacy rates from the 2011 results. Because of this, we have embarked on a programme of academic tracking and mentoring that employs ICT tools to inform students and their families about the status of their NCEA achievements throughout the year. In addition, all teachers will target groups of students for mentoring conversations and support. We intend that the information and the conversations will extend to families and whanau as our ICT environment develops.

A Tracking Sheet to clearly represent relevant NCEA Achievement Information.

Late in 2011, senior leaders met to discuss how NCEA information could be presented to students in a form that would allow them to visualise their achievements to date and to help them to formulate achievement goals. From these meetings, an NCEA tracking sheet was designed and linked to an ms access database with background tables exported from the school's SMS. The tracking sheets have simple graphics that show key milestones (eg. 80 credits for certificates, 14 for subject endorsements etc.) so that students can see how close they are to achieving key goals.

A Year 11 Sample Tracking Sheet: A Year 13 Sample Tracking Sheet:

Click on image to download pdfYr 11 Sample Tracking Sheet

Click on image to download pdfYr 13 Sample Tracking Sheet

 Using the data in a mentoring conversation about learning.

The tracking sheets were introduced to the staff first and then all the form teachers presented the tracking sheets to students who worked through an  activity designed to help them into understanding it clearly.

The teachers were then invited to think about how learning conversations could be initiated using the tracking sheets to inform goal setting and set up a mentoring relationship. Short videos were presented in a staff professional learning session. These improvised mentoring conversation video clips were constructed to stimulate discussion and reflection on the possible desirable and undesirable aspects of such conversations.








Next Steps:

  • All teachers will hold mentoring conversations with 2 to 3 Year 11 students (by booking them on the database).
  • The NCEA tracking sheets will provide the evidence base of these conversations.
  • We intend also to put each student's tracking sheet securely onto iLearn, so that they can be accessed by family and students outside of school time.
  • A Whanau hui will be held to get feedback from the whanau on the mentoring process for Maori students.
  • In future cycles we will extend the mentoring process to include families and find ways to extend the conversations on our school's LMS, iLearn.
  • Staff and students will fill out a reflective survey after the first iteration of this process is trialled.

Measuring success:

We believe that this process of tracking and mentoring will integrate and galvinise all of our e-Learning initiatives by assisting students to think with clarity about their own achievement, know how to set achievable goals and work with the school and their families to access all the tools available to give momentum to their learning.

Because of this, we predict that this process will contribute to improved outcomes in our NCEA achievement data and to our vision of producing successful, powerful learners who are active and responsible citizens.

To date, we have received very positive feedback from staff and students on the purpose of the process and on the design of the information on the tracking sheets.

We look forward to collecting more evidence of the successes of our e-Learning community and reporting the detail on the VLN. Stay tuned...