Curriculum

Reporting & Assessment

At Armadale PS, we work tirelessly to provide students (and their families) with detailed and timely information on their learning journey and how they will be supported to grow. This document provides an overview of our formal reporting and assessment processes and is designed to help parents understand how to access information about their child’s academic progress. In conjunction with ongoing personalised conversations during class time, we want to ensure our students are always receiving advice on how they can continue to develop key knowledge, skills and the disposition to enable learning.

Learning Tasks

This year we began continuous reporting of student learning using Compass Learning Task. Student progress is posted online during and/or at the completion of each Big Idea (for parents and students to access). Teacher judgements are made on what the students know, what they do and ways of being. Assessment is based on each Big Idea. The big idea underpins our pedagogical model of Know, Do, Be. We use the Know, Do, Be model to develop a programme of inquiries. These inquiries are important as they are investigation into important ideas, identified by the school, in line with the Victorian Curriculum.

To access Learning Tasks, login to compass and click on ‘View Academic Reports’ (left of the screen). By selecting the ‘Learning Tasks’ tab, you will see all of your child’s assessment.

 

Semester Reports

Semester Reports are released twice a year (at the end of term 2 and 4). At Armadale Primary School, we aim to describe your child as a learner. Is your child able to draw upon several strategies to solve a problem? Can your child give reasons for the way in which he/she chose to tackle a problem? Can your child connect their learning to the real world? Can your child determine the efficiency of strategies used? Most importantly, does your child know what he needs to know, do and be in order to grow?

When you read your child’s report, please consider the role you play in shaping his/her perception as a learner. What you say to your child indicates what you value. Current educational research has shown that this approach to reporting is a more effective way of promoting effort, driving self – confidence, as well as acknowledging hard work and a willingness to persist when facing academic challenges. All children are capable of academic progress and growth and we need to work together to support that this is done effectively.

Semester reports can be accessed via Compass. Again, select ‘View Academic Reports’ once you have logged in. Your child’s Semester Report (as well as ones from previous years) will be available to download as a PDF.

 

Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences

Two sets of conferences are conducted each year- early in term 1, and again towards the end of term 2. Conferences are conducted for all students. Teachers will be available for 15 minute conferences. Students are expected to attend together with their parents. These valuable conversations make a significant contribution to maximising students’ academic performance, as well as celebrate successes and discuss strategies for moving the learning forward. As such, it is critical that parents access both ‘Learning Tasks’ and Semester Reports prior to the interviews. Parents make bookings online through Compass and will be notified when the system has been opened.

The Big Idea

Armadale Primary School, as defined in the Strategic Plan, is to be an exemplary learning community. We place the highest value on developing the whole child with the skills, knowledge and dispositions for a lifetime of inquiry. We strive for a culture of excellence for all learners with a nurturing and inclusive community to create a sense of belonging.

The school provides a comprehensive curriculum with a strong focus on literacy, numeracy and learner agency. The way we organise the learning for our students is underpinned by the proficiencies of understanding, problem solving, fluency and reasoning. To promote a deep understanding, we place importance on providing our students with learning opportunities that enable them to apply concepts in different ways and apply their learning between content areas. Hence our pedagogical model has the child at the centre and learner agency is at the core. We use the Know, Do, Be model to develop a programme of inquiries. These inquiries are important as they are investigations into important ideas, identified by the School, and require a high level of involvement on the part of the students. We refer to these inquiries as Big Ideas.

What is the Big Idea?

The Big Idea is a statement summarising an important idea. The idea must:

  • be transferrable within and sometimes across disciplines
  • call for high order thinking, such as analysis, inference, evaluation and prediction and cannot be effectively unpacked by recalling of facts alone
  • be thought-provoking and intellectually engaging, often sparking discussion and debate.
  • raise questions and spark further inquiry

and

  • recur over time (can and should be revisited again and again)

 

What do we need to consider when designing for the Big Idea?

  • We need to consider the different dimensions of the learner as a person
    • Head – what our learners need to know and understand (disciplinary knowledge)
    • Heart – the attitudes and motivations to learn (feelings, dispositions, values)
    • Hands – what our learners need to be able to do (skills, capabilities, proficiencies)

 

How do we connect the Victorian Curriculum to the Big Idea?

The Big Idea will have a theme directly linked to at least one of the following Learning Areas:

  • The Humanities (Civics & Citizenship ;Economics and Business; History; Geography)
  • Science
  • Technologies

The Big Idea Design must also be considered through a capabilities lens. Key teacher questions are devised during the design stage which will reflect:

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Ethical Understandings
  • Intercultural Understandings
  • Personal and Social Learning

The Big Idea Design must also consider at least one of the Cross-curriculum priorities:

  • Sustainability
  • Learning about Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
  • Learning about Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander traditions and cultures

How long is spent on a Big Idea?

This is dependent on the level of engagement of the students but a Big Idea usually takes 7-10 weeks to unpack. The Big Idea is unpacked through English, Maths, Investigations for Prep-2, and Educational Research Projects for Years 3-6. In Year Level Teams, teachers use the Armadale Primary School planning template to design weekly learning experiences with specific learning intentions that are aligned to the Victorian Curriculum learning continuum.

Literacy

Weekly planning reflects the Big Idea design. The English Planner requires teachers to plan Reading and Viewing, Writing and Speaking and Listening through Language, Literature and Literacy. Our Instructional model of ‘Whole, Small, Individual, Whole’, is specified in the planning template and teachers are aware of the need to plan experiences that are ‘low floor high ceiling’. Emphasis on addressing the learning needs of the individual is at the core of decisions made which is why we use the Victorian Curriculum Scope and Sequence in English as a learning continuum.

The example of the English Planner shows how each Year Level plans on a weekly basis. Time to deliver this plan is: Reading and Viewing 240 mins; Writing 240 mins; Speaking and Listening is embedded within these areas.

In Years 2-6 the English Planner is accompanied with a Spelling Planner. Spelling is explicitly taught for 3 x 30 minute sessions a week. Our Instructional Model of ‘Whole, Small, Individual, Whole’ is embedded in the planning template. Analytic and synthetic teaching of spelling is supported in the template and the 3 spelling sessions are divided into the study of regular words, spelling rules (a focus on the 6 rules and the 7 syllable types), and irregular words. Guided discovery is the technique used by the teachers to support our learner to discover, invent and explore spelling. The spelling template offers further clarity into this technique.

Our Assessment Schedule for reading, writing and spelling supports our weekly planning and drives whole, small and individual instruction. These schedules are employed as follows:

  • Reading Assessment Schedule
    • Reading Interview (once a term)
    • Alphabetics & Vocabulary assessment (3 x a year)
    • Running Records (2 x a term)
    • Student self assessment – How I see myself as a reader (once a term)
    • Reading Comprehension TORCH (2 x a year)
  • Writing Assessment Schedule
    • Two Writing Student Assessment Tasks (SATs) are completed each term and assessed on a school designed rubric. The rubric is aligned to the Victorian Curriculum F-10 Levels. The criteria addresses the 6 traits of writing Ideas: voice, organisation, sentence fluency, word choice, conventions and spelling & presentation.

Maths

Teachers plan mathematical learning experiences on a weekly basis. These experiences are linked to the Big Idea however, teachers use the 6 Numeracy Focus Areas as a framework for exploring mathematical concepts within the year. These focus areas are specified in the DET Numeracy Toolkit, https://numeracyguidedet.global2.vic.edu.au/numeracy-focus-areas/ . The 4 proficiencies (understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning) are used as a lens for each learning experience. The planning template ensures that 240 minutes is allocated for weekly mathematical sessions.

The Numeracy Focus Areas are:

  • Developing number sense
  • Exploring patterns and relationships
  • Using proportional language
  • Understanding and using geometric properties and spatial reasoning
  • Understanding, estimating and using measurement
  • Exploring chance and data

Assessment for maths is based on the following criteria:

  • Assessment FOR learning. Teachers use inferences about student progress to inform their teaching (formative assessment)
  • Assessment AS learning. Students reflect on and monitor their progress to inform their future learning goals (formative assessment)
  • Assessment OF learning. Teachers use evidence of student learning to make judgements on student achievement against goals and standards (summative assessment).

Health & PE

Physical Education sessions aim to develop students’ general fitness and game skills to allow a broad range of physical development. A major component of these sessions is to develop students’ ability to work in teams and their understanding of good sportsmanship.
Our intention is to get as many students active and engaged in sport as possible. The aim of the program is for less emphasis on winning and results, and more emphasis on having a go and having fun. Armadale Primary School provides students with the opportunity to participate in school sporting events throughout the school year.

a. F-2 Junior Sports
b. 3-6 Swimming Carnival
c. 3-6 Athletics Carnival
d. 3-6 Southport District Interschool Sport Days
e. F-6 Swimming Program

This gives our students the opportunity to showcase their skills in a supportive and engaging atmosphere.

Interschool Sports is for students to learn about new sports, develop relationships and teamwork skills, develop and display good sportsmanship and most importantly to have fun.

Throughout the year, students will be given opportunities to carry out self and peer assessments.

The Arts

The Arts are highly valued at our school and we recognise that the Arts play an important part in a child’s wellbeing. We endeavour to instil curiosity in all areas of the Arts – Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Drama and Media – and provide a rich variety of experiences for our students to explore and enjoy whilst at Primary School.

Students learn through active participation and are encouraged to use their imagination and express their ideas through a variety of media and art forms.

We provide a range of opportunities for all our students to visit galleries, attend musical performances, and concerts and engage with artists in our community.

Experimentation and creativity is encouraged and students are supported to explore their ideas when experimenting with different materials and techniques. We also provide opportunities for students to develop their critical and creative thinking skills through robust discussion and practical sessions.

Students are provided the opportunity to present their work to others and perform throughout the year in a variety of forums, including productions, school performances, special concerts and events.

We offer a range of extra curricula sessions including our School Orchestra, Choirs and instrumental lessons, as well as lunch time Art clubs.

Languages / Italian

All students from Prep to year 6 attend a one hour session of Italian every week in a dedicated learning space.

Students are exposed to the Italian language and culture through a number of authentic resources (posters, images, artefacts,) as well as a variety of ICT and online resources including YouTube videos, songs, voice clips and images.

Theme-based learning activities are linked to the Big Idea where possible, and students participate in whole class, small group as well as individual activities.

Sustainability

Armadale Primary has adopted a whole-school approach to sustainability. Students learn about sustainability through an integrated curriculum which includes topics such as water, biodiversity, conservation, recycling and energy.

‘They investigate real-world issues and develop solutions that make a difference in our school and community. Students enhance their knowledge of sustainability through questioning, research and taking action to reduce our school’s environmental footprint. 

 Armadale students are committed advocates for sustainable living and take responsibility for improving the school’s environmental footprint through the school Green Team, gardening groups and by participating in Stonnington Council’s Sustainable Schools Program and Green Schools Network.’