Assessment and learning partnerships
The influences of teaching practices on student achievement
This research analysed large-scale student achievement data, and linked these with teacher strategies, materials and resources associated with developmentally appropriate teaching interventions in reading comprehension and numeracy.
This information informed the teacher resource bank available through this web site to assist teachers to employ strategies and materials to scaffold students' learning at all levels of the developmental continua.
In partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne has produced a set of materials to support teachers in their development of appropriate teaching strategies, learning activities and materials to help scaffold students' learning.
This work follows on from work on the ARC Linkage project, Assessment and Learning Partnerships, which examines the collaborative use of student assessment data in schools to inform teaching within a developmental approach to learning and teaching.
Among the goals of the ARC Linkage project is an investigation of the implications of shifting from a deficit or remedial model of teaching to a developmental approach to improving student outcomes. Based on the work of Vygotsky, a developmental approach focuses on students' readiness to learn (i.e. their zone of proximal development) and individual differences in their capacity to respond to scaffolding of their learning. For further information about Vygotsky see 'Overview of Literacy Learning/ Scaffolding learning – Vygotsky, Bruner and Rogoff'. The teaching strategies, learning activities and resources created for this partnership are similarly underpinned by the theories of Vygotsky.
The materials were assembled over a three-year period, from 2010 to 2012, with input from teachers and specialists from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Teachers were involved in workshops examining existing data on developmentally targeted numeracy and reading comprehension teaching strategies to build understanding and to inform subsequent action. Follow up sample strategy writing workshops based on a process described by templates refined in the teacher workshops were carried out as well as validation of the strategies. The project team would like to thank these teachers and specialists for their valuable input into creating these resources.
- Professor Patrick Griffin, Director, Assessment Research Centre
- Associate Professor Esther Care, Deputy Director, Assessment Research Centre
- Michael Francis, Teaching Specialist, Assessment Research Centre
- Danielle Hutchinson, Teaching Specialist, Assessment Research Centre
- Alejandra Arratia Martinez, Research Officer and Doctoral Candidate, Assessment Research Centre
- Carolyn McCabe, Literacy Expert, Catholic Education Office Melbourne
- Tony Flack, Latrobe Valley Teaching and Learning, DEECD, Victoria
- Phil McKenzie, Research Officer, Assessment Research Centre
Reading comprehension working group
- Angela Savaglio, Dandenong South Primary School
- Christine Backman, Drouin Secondary College
- Faye Walters, Araluen Primary School
- Janet Gale, Camberwell Primary School
- Julienne Legione, Billanook Primary School
- Kate Mitchell, Auburn Primary School
- Lauren Clapperton, Drouin Secondary College
- Malissa Nicol, Alberton Primary School
- Marcia Lane, Auburn Primary School
- Michael Puddy, Mt Evelyn Primary School
- Simon Prior, Buxton Primary School
- Renata Tirabassi, Preston Girls Secondary College
- Skye Cameron, Yarra Hills Secondary College
- Sue Wernert, Tallangatta Secondary College
Numeracy working group
- Carole Mayes, Tyabb Railway Station Primary School
- Emma Slater, Tyabb Railway Station Primary School
- Hugh Greer, South Eastern Victorian Region
- Helen Warnod, Camberwell Primary School
- Jacqui Veal, Tallangatta Secondary College
- Joan Keil, Stratford Primary School
- Karen Dierickx, Yarram Secondary College
- Meredith Clegg, Hume Central Secondary College
- Martin Heppell, Auburn Primary School
- Michelle Reid-Metcalf, Kurnai College
- Nyssa Beebe (nee James), Kurnai College
- Philip Comport, Mt Evelyn Primary School
- Peggy Mourelatos, Camberwell Primary School
- Vanda Camm, Mt Evelyn Primary School
Guides and templates
The guide, available below, provides important background information and context for using the strategies and templates for reading comprehension and numeracy. It is recommended that all teachers read this guide prior to using strategies and resources.
Taxonomy for Identifying, Classifying and Interrelating Strategies – blank template for teacher use
Taxonomy for Identifying, Classifying and Interrelating Strategies – Sample
Professional Learning Team Log Template – blank template for teacher use
Suggested background reading
Charles R. Beck, (1998) 'A taxonomy for identifying, classifying, and interrelating teaching strategies', Vol. 47, No. 1 , The Journal of General Education, pp. 37-62, 37
Care, E. & Griffin, P. (2009). Assessment is for Teaching. Independence 34(2): 56-59.
Griffin, P., Murray, L., Care, E., Thomas, A., & Perri P. (2010). Developmental Assessment: Lifting literacy through Professional Learning Teams. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 17 (4), 383-397
Griffin P. (2007). The comfort of competence and the uncertainty of assessment. Studies in Educational Evaluation. 33 (1, 87-89)
Please ensure you read the Guide to Using Teaching Strategies and Resources prior to using the materials found below.
The strategies presented below have been mapped against the Progression of Reading Development created by the Assessment Research Centre. The developmental progression is empirically based, meaning it was created by analysing large-scale student data taking into account evidence about the usual pathways students take when developing skills.
Advice regarding teaching strategies for reading comprehension
The strategies presented are a means of promoting professional discourse: discourse about student developmental reading levels, discourse about the elements of comprehension, discourse about teacher content knowledge, and discourse about teacher pedagogical content knowledge. Teachers are advised to use the strategies as starting points for discussions during professional learning team meetings.
Sample reading comprehension strategies
Strategies are provided in the form of a sample professional learning team log for each level on the Progression of Reading Development from Level A to Level L on the Narrative Poetry Strand.
AusVELS and developmental progression levels for reading comprehension and teaching strategies
AusVELS is a single coherent curriculum framework for Victorian schools for years Foundation-10 which incorporates the Australian Curriculum within a framework that reflects Victorian priorities and approaches to teaching and learning.
The teaching strategies in the PLT logs are linked to the twelve reading comprehension developmental levels (A-L) on the Progression of Reading Development and as such there is not a direct correspondence to the Mode Scope and Sequence Chart for AusVELS English. Whilst the Mode Scope and Sequence Chart for AusVELS English provides the sequence of content descriptions across year levels rather than across developmental progression levels, it was not overlooked when the teaching strategies and PLT logs were being developed.
Teachers are advised to view the Mode Scope and Sequence Chart for AusVELS English (from year level 3 through to year level 9) holistically in relation to using this resource and are reminded to look at content descriptions beyond the specific year level they are teaching.
A matrix or taxonomy has been created for the levels on the Progression of Reading Development and is to be used as a prompt for teachers to critically evaluate the appropriateness of using a particular strategy to achieve the desired learning intention.
Key elements of teaching strategies: Questioning and discussion
Questioning is one element of many of the teaching strategies listed within the professional learning team logs. The method of questioning used by a teacher is important. It is not a matter of just asking students questions during or after reading – indeed "heavy handed prompting can actually interfere with the development of smooth, largely unconscious processing of text … (and) it would be a mistake to think that we are teaching processing strategies merely by asking questions." (Fountas & Pinnell 2006, p13). Given this, teachers are advised that their questioning should be delivered as part of "a productive and dynamic interchange which will show students ways of thinking about texts before, during, and after reading." (Fountas & Pinnell 2006, p13). To this end, teachers should "plan a few (but not too many) pauses during the reading, but not always to ask questions ... (and) work to make the interchange more like a conversation than questioning." (Fountas & Pinnell 2006, p13).
Conversation then is similarly a critical component of the teaching strategies listed within the PLT logs. Further commentary around the importance of talk about text can be found in a video featuring Professor Peter Freebody. In the video 'Talk Around Text', Freebody discusses how teachers can better support children in reading. He suggests that the kind of talk that takes place around texts is critical and that teachers can support students gain a deeper understanding of material by having extended conversations about texts and by modelling. Teachers could watch this video as part of a PLT meeting before exploring and discussing the strategies. Similarly the video 'Rich Talk About Text' featuring Professor P. David Pearson provides insightful commentary related to reading instruction and teachers may find it a useful resource for professional learning.
Fountas, I. C. & G.S. Pinnell. 2006. Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing About Reading, K–8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
Videos related to talking about texts
Talk Around Text
Rich Talk About Text
ReadWriteThink, created by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, provides instructional practices and digital resources that support effective reading and language arts instruction for all learners. It includes strategy guides that define and provide examples of effective literacy teaching and learning strategies and offer a wealth of related resources related to instruction.
MyRead - Strategies for teaching reading in the middle years, Department of Education, Science and Training, Australia
Learning and Teaching Structure for the Three Phases of Reading, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria
Literacy Professional Learning Resource, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria
Fountas, I. C. & Pinnell, G.S. 2006. Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing About Reading, K–8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
Please ensure you read the Guide to Using Teaching Strategies and Resources prior to using the materials found below.
The strategies presented below have been mapped against the Progression of Numeracy Development – Numbers Strand - created by the Assessment Research Centre. The developmental progression is empirically based, meaning it was created by analysing large-scale student data taking into account evidence about the usual pathways students take when developing skills. The numeracy progression lists nutshell statements for each level as well as a more detailed progression for each numeracy strand (number, geometry, measurement, chance and data).
Numeracy skill-level grid
The Numeracy Strategies for Skill-Level Grid takes into account a brief description of the strategies -considering the learning intention, the teaching strategies and the learning activities – for each developmental level. Strategies are organised taking into account three overlapping, flexible groups: junior years (from years 3 to 5), middle years (around years 5 and 8) and upper years (around years 8 to 10). This distinction acknowledges the different context for students even if they are at the same readiness to learn point.
Therefore, the activities are contextualised according to the year levels students are typically in, but retain the same learning intention aligned with the developmental level. For some developmental levels, however, no teaching strategies are proposed. This occurs at upper years for Levels A and B and junior years for Levels J, K and L. These are shaded grey in recognition of the fact that students at these particular year level may be outside of the typical distribution in a mainstream school and that specialist support may be desirable.This grid is designed for teachers and Professional Learning Teams to fill out and use as a working document.
Advice regarding the teaching strategies for numeracy
The strategies presented a means of promoting professional discourse: discourse about student developmental reading levels, discourse about the elements of comprehension, discourse about teacher content knowledge, and discourse about teacher pedagogical content knowledge. Teachers are advised to use the strategies as starting points for discussions during professional learning team meetings.
Sample numeracy strategies
Strategies are provided in the form of a sample PLT log for each level on the Progression of Numeracy for the Numbers strand.
Taxonomy for identifying, classifying and interrelating teaching strategies
Below you will find templates of the taxonomy for identifying, classifying and interrelating teaching strategies for the numeracy nutshell statements as well as the numeracy strands of the progression of numeracy development. These templates are designed to prompt teachers thinking in regards to strategies, and are to be used as a tool to critically evaluate the appropriateness of using a particular strategy to achieve the desired learning intention.
Some of the professional learning team logs refer to different eBook boxes, available on the Ultranet as Design Space 66512121. The list of the eBook boxes recommended is:
- Common Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
- Patterns and relationships
- Working with Numbers
- Functions and Modelling
- Quadratic and Exponential Functions
- Introducing Quadratic Functions
Research and policy publications
Griffin, P., Care, E., Francis, M., Hutchinson, H., Arratia Martinez, A., and McCabe, C. (2013) Assessment and Learning Partnerships: The influences of teaching practices on student achievement.University of Melbourne: Assessment Research Centre
Griffin, P., Care, E., Francis, M., Hutchinson, H., Arratia Martinez, A., and McCabe, C. (2013) Assessment and Learning Partnerships: The influences of teaching practices on student achievement. Summary Paper submitted to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria.
Related publications available on the Australian Research Council Linkage project Assessment and Learning Partnerships webpage
For more information about this study and resources please contact the Assessment and Learning Partnerships team:
Assessment Research Centre
Level 8, 100 Leicester St
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
The University of Melbourne
VIC 3010 Australia
This research was the result of a two year partnership arrangement between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Assessment Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. The research was funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development through their Research and Evaluation Partnerships program.