This audio paper summarises four evidence-based practices to improve student literacy and numeracy outcomes at school.
1. Intervene early and maintain the focus.
2. Know what students can do and target teaching accordingly.
3. Have clear and transparent learning goals
4. Focus on teacher professional learning that improves the teaching of literacy and numeracy.
The paper also examines the research on the importance of literacy and numeracy skills to individuals and to society more broadly, including employment outcomes, the economy, social inclusion, health, and other variables.
This course allows educators to engage with contemporary literature on literacy and numeracy and connect it to their own practice.
Mode of delivery: online
Accredited hours: 1.5
myPL course code: RG03814
Themes: literacy and numeracy
Learn more about the Literacy and numeracy publication.
Assessing Literacy and Numeracy (ALAN) is a suite of applications developed as part of the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy 2017-2020.
The ALAN portal directs staff to online tools including PLAN2, Best Start Kindergarten Assessment (BSKA) and Best Start Year 7.
For more information on how to use ALAN applications, visit the ALAN helpdesk site.
Full report Executive Summary
Evaluator company/business: Erebus International
URL or PDF: Download the Report of the Evaluation of the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan 2012-2016 (PDF, 2.93MB) and Executive Summary (PDF, 519kB)
Summary: The Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan 2012-2016 was developed to address the widespread inequalities in learning outcomes known to exist from the earliest years of schooling in NSW schools serving low socio-economic status communities. This report presents the findings of an evaluation of NSW Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan 2012-2016. It examines the extent to which student literacy and numeracy improved, factors that may have led to any improvement, and the extent to which any improvement achieved was cost-effective.
The Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan 2012-2016 was developed to address the widespread inequalities in learning outcomes known to exist from the earliest years of schooling in NSW schools serving low socio-economic status communities. This report presents the findings of an evaluation of NSW Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan 2012-2016. It examines the extent to which student literacy and numeracy improved, factors that may have led to any improvement, and the extent to which any improvement achieved was cost-effective.
This paper examines evidence-based practices that can be implemented by schools to enhance literacy and numeracy performance. Educating students in literacy and numeracy is a key responsibility of schools as literacy and numeracy are ‘foundational skills’ that underpin the subsequent development of more complex skills. Literacy and numeracy skills also underpin workforce participation, productivity and the broader economy, and can impact on social and health outcomes. Individuals without these skills are at risk of not being able to participate in the workforce or engage fully in social and civic life.
Intervene early and maintain the focus
Research shows that access to quality early childhood education programs makes a significant and long-term difference to children’s development in many areas, including their cognitive development. Early intervention needs to be followed by continued high quality learning experiences to maintain efficacy. The first three years of school are a peak window within which children develop the literacy and numeracy skills that they will carry into upper primary and secondary school.
Know what students can do and target teaching accordingly
There is a wide range of learning achievement amongst students in Australian schools. Targeted teaching can lift the performance of students who are many years behind and also challenge students who are already well ahead of year-level expectations. In order to implement targeted teaching effectively, teachers need accurate information about what students know and are ready to learn next. This information can be acquired through the use of formative assessment which has been shown to have a significant effect on learning across the spectrum.
Have clear and transparent learning goals
Research shows that having clear and transparent learning goals at both the school and classroom level leads to improvements in learning achievement. Evidence shows that students who experience explicit teaching practices perform better than students who do not. Explicit teaching practice involves teachers clearly showing students what to do and how to do it, rather than having students discover or construct this information for themselves. Well-defined learning continua or progressions support explicit teaching by enabling teachers to understand what is to be learned and to determine accurately students’ current learning achievement.
Focus on teacher professional learning that improves the teaching of literacy and numeracy
High-quality teaching is the greatest in-school influence on student engagement and outcomes. Quality professional learning increases teaching quality. Research indicates that professional learning is most effective if it deepens teachers’ content knowledge and knowledge about how students learn that content; is supported by the wider school community and is seen as part of achieving whole school goals; and is linked to clear and relevant goals that are related to student outcomes.
The information on this page is also available as a one-page summary (PDF, 162kB).
The Connected Communities interim evaluation report (PDF, 2MB) presents qualitative and quantitative findings regarding the implementation and achievement of key deliverables at the midpoint of the five year Connected Communities Strategy. The evaluation aims to answer how well the model has been formed and implemented across schools, as well as outcomes and impact of distinct components of the strategy.
Authors: Alison Wallace, Ania Wilczynski, Chloe Harkness, Amanda McAtamney
Evaluator company/business: Urbis Pty Ltd
URL or PDF: Download the National Partnership on Literacy and Numeracy - External Evaluation of the Selected NPLN NSW Programs: Taking Off With Numeracy (TOWN) final report (PDF, 1.97MB)
Summary: This evaluation set out to determine the effectiveness of the numeracy program, TOWN and the extent to which it met the goals of delivering evidence based teaching strategies in numeracy, strong school leadership and whole school engagement. TOWN was implemented in 41 schools around NSW for Years 3-6 students. The evaluation involved school visits, an online survey of teachers, stakeholder interviews, and an analysis of student outcome data. The evaluation clearly demonstrated that TOWN had a positive impact on schools and delivered numeracy outcomes for teachers and, in some cases, students.
Author: Janette Bobis
Evaluator company/business: University of Sydney
URL or PDF: Download the report on Count Me In Too - The learning framework in number and its impact on teacher knowledge and pedagogy (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Summary: The aim of this study was to determine the impact of teacher professional learning on teacher knowledge of the Learning Framework In Number (LFIN) from the Count Me In Too (CMIT) numeracy project. Three primary schools were purposively selected and a case study of each school was compiled. Data from surveys, interviews and school documentation were collected. The overall results of the study indicated that there was a diverse range of knowledge of CMIT and the use of LFIN in schools.
Evaluator company/business: The National Literacy and Numeracy Evidence Base – National Partnerships
URL or PDF: Download the report on Targeted Early Numeracy (PDF, 252kB)
Summary: The aim of the evaluation was to assess the effectiveness of TEN at enabling teachers to assist Foundation/Kindergarten to Year 2 students' numeracy skills through small group instruction and explicit teaching strategies. Program participants were monitored using measures of student progress against the kindergarten, year 1 and year 2 targets and multiple data collections were made to monitor the proportion of students at risk of not achieving minimum grade expectations in number skills. The program resulted in an overall reduction of 60 per cent of students considered at risk.