InBrief summarises the results of the census of students in NSW Government schools undertaken on Friday 3 August 2018, and the census of NSW non-government schools undertaken by the Australian Government Department of Education.
General capabilities: A perspective from cognitive science uses insights from cognitive science to explore the most effective ways of supporting students to develop key capabilities such as critical and creative thinking.
• This paper contributes to the conversation about how school systems can best support their students to develop the capabilities they will need to thrive in the future.
• The debate to date has been hampered by a lack of clarity about key terms and concepts, and a range of assumptions that are not supported by evidence.
• Cognitive science research shows that developing capabilities such as critical thinking is dependent on having content knowledge.
• As such, general capabilities need to be developed through a deep and rich knowledge of content in each of the curriculum learning areas.
The publication is accompanied by a professional learning protocol to support educators to consider the implications of this research for practice in their schools.
The publication complements the findings from the department's Education for a changing world report: How to teach critical thinking by Professor Daniel T Willingham.
For more information on cognitive science and the insights it offers for education, read CESE's Cognitive load theory resources.
This literature review summarises the gifted education research base. It synthesises the best-quality available research into the learning characteristics of gifted students. It also provides summaries of the research on effective practices in gifted education for schools and teachers.
Gifted students need more challenging learning with greater depth and complexity
Gifted students can have a level of cognitive function typical of students several years older, with high levels of fluid thinking, reasoning and working memory function. Teaching programs, feedback, deliberate practice, and opportunities to access advanced learning are all necessary to help gifted learners achieve at a high level and develop their talent over time.
Gifted students are found in all social groups
Many students from disadvantaged backgrounds underachieve because of fewer opportunities to learn and develop their talent. Gifted students can also have a co-existing disability, which means they require support for their disability as well as talent development to help them reach their educational potential.
Lack of adequate challenge can contribute to social and emotional challenges
Key social and emotional challenges for gifted students include boredom, disengagement, and perfectionist-type behaviours. Challenging school learning experiences, along with positive social relationships and a supportive school environment, can help gifted students thrive.
Gifted students benefit from explicit teaching and well-structured learning
Like all students, gifted learners require scaffolding and structure in learning to help manage the demands of cognitive load. Explicit teaching and guided inquiry are just as necessary for gifted students as for all students. Gifted learners may be able to move through structured and scaffolded activities at a faster pace, and then can benefit from problem solving and applied tasks.
Specific strategies are also needed to help gifted students achieve their best
There is strong research to support teaching practices that help align the challenge, complexity, depth and pace of learning with the learning needs of gifted students. This can done through evidence-based effective strategies such as curriculum acceleration, extension and enrichment learning experiences.
• In 2017,
- over 100,000 children were enrolled in a preschool program before starting school
- more children attended preschool for 15+ hours a week
- preschool enrolments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children increased (by 26.3% since 2016).
- Around half of teachers delivering a preschool program were university trained.
• More early childhood services are meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard (70% in 2017 compared to 44% in 2015).
• In 2017, the proportion of students achieving in the top two NAPLAN bands in numeracy and reading has increased for all cohorts, compared to 2013/14 baselines.
• High school retention rates are improving for all students, but especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
• In 2017, the average school attendance rate in NSW was 94% for primary students and 91.1% for secondary students. Attendance rates are lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and the gap increases in secondary school.
• Students can study VET in school as part of their HSC – in 2017, around 30% of HSC achievers also received a Certificate Level II or above qualification.
• In 2016,
- just over half of Year 12 leavers went onto to study a Bachelor degree
- the main destination for early school leavers was apprenticeships (27.8%)
- male early school leavers were six times more likely to enter an apprenticeship than female early school leavers
- female Year 12 leavers were more likely to enter a Bachelor degree than their male counterparts.
• The proportion of 20-64 year olds with a Certificate III or above has increased.
• The proportion of 25-34 year olds with a Bachelor degree or above has increased.
• The median ATAR of HSC students transitioning to Bachelor degrees was 79.2 in 2015, down from 83.0 in 2008
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and low-SES students remain underrepresented in the higher education sector.
• The number of overseas students enrolling in NSW universities continues to increase.
This technical report outlines the rationale and methods used by CESE's Statistics and Analysis unit to develop a new way of analysing test results, which is based on identifying relative achievement of students when compared to other students who had received the same overall results in a NAPLAN assessment.
The new methodology and the reporting options outlined in the report are aimed to improve the way teachers and schools use the test data, in particular online test results.
Homebush West Public School has an effective approach in preparing students for secondary school
The school, in the inner west of Sydney, places a strong emphasis on preparing its students for the transition to secondary school. This case study looks at their ‘middle school’ approach, where Year 5 and 6 students are introduced to secondary school structures and routines to prepare them for the transition.
‘Middle school’ helps emphasise the important transition the students will face
When students reach Year 5, the concept of ‘middle school’ is introduced. The students are given more responsibility and are provided opportunities to step into leadership roles. There is also a focus on teaching students to be more responsible for their own learning, including setting learning goals and participating in peer and self-assessment.
The approach allows students to experience secondary school structures and routines
This involves individual student timetables that require students to change classrooms, classmates and teachers according to subject and ability. The students say that this approach allows them to build relationships with more than one teacher and get used to differing teaching approaches and teacher expectations. It also creates opportunities for students to continue making new friends across the cohort.
The staff at Homebush West collaborate, engage in reflective teaching and foster a culture of high expectations
With their unique ‘middle school’ approach, the staff at Homebush West recognise the need to continually refine practice and to be able to differentiate learning to meet the needs of all Year 5 and 6 students. They also attest to the high levels of organisation and communication that are needed to facilitate this approach. They have a constant focus on high expectations, helping students to recognise the opportunities of secondary school and feel confident and excited about the transition.
This course is part 2 to the Cognitive load theory course. It allows educators to engage with practical strategies to implement cognitive load theory. Participants will be asked to reflect on these strategies and relate them to their own practice.
Mode of delivery: online
Accredited hours: 2
myPL course code: RG04611
Themes: cognitive load, explicit instruction
Learn more about the two Cognitive load theory publications.
The 2017 post-school destinations and expectations annual report (PDF, 3.3MB) presents key findings from the 2017 survey of secondary students' post-school destinations. Over 6,995 young people shared their experiences with the research team. Surveys were completed by early school leavers and Year 12 completers across government and non-government schools. The report also presents the findings from a longitudinal follow-up with 2,704 students who responded to the survey in 2014 and 3,342 students who responded in 2016.
The 2017 post-school destinations technical report (PDF, 3.5MB) outlines the project background and overview, survey methodology, questionnaire design and data processing undertaken by the Social Research Council (SRC) to produce the annual report. It also includes materials used by SRC to undertake the project.
The post-school destinations report provides information about:
• post-school education pathways, attainments and destinations of young people in NSW
• factors that drive engagement, retention, education achievement and pathway choices for young people in NSW
• findings from longitudinal follow-ups with students who responded to surveys in 2014 and 2016, and Year 10 students in 2017.
Over 13,000 early school leavers and Year 12 completers across government and non-government schools completed surveys in 2017.
The NSW Department of Education and NSW Skills Board have collaborated on the annual survey since 2014.
Further education and training was the most common post-school destination
The majority of Year 12 completers (69.9%) and early school leavers (55.4%) were in some form of education and training six months after leaving school. However, the proportion of Year 12 completers entering some form of education and training has continued to decline since peaking in 2015, and the proportion of Year 12 completers and early school leavers entering VET also decreased in 2017.
Post-school destinations differ between Year 12 completers and early school leavers
The main post-school destination among Year 12 completers continued to be a Bachelor degree (50.1%), however Year 12 completers identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander had lower rates of entering a Bachelor degree (23.9%) than other Year 12 completers. The main post-school destination for early school leavers continued to be an apprenticeship (30.0%).
Reasons for leaving school early varied
The most common self-reported reasons for leaving school early continue to relate to wanting to pursue employment and career opportunities, school ‘not being for them’ and not liking school or teachers. Less frequently cited reasons included not coping at school or failing subjects, finding school boring, wanting to study elsewhere, ill-health and being bullied.
Impact of mobile digital devices in schools (PDF, 2MB) - a literature review on the impact of non-educational mobile digital device use on student wellbeing.