Staff at Paramatta Marist High School (NSW), Parafield Gardens High School (SA), East Loddon P–12 College (Vic), Craigmore High School (SA), Como Secondary College (WA) and Mount Rowan Secondary College (Vic) discuss how they identify students in need of literacy and numeracy intervention within an MTSS framework aligned with AERO’s guidance.
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Duration: 4:12


Adam Hendry, Assistant Principal: Learning and Achievement, Parramatta Marist High School: We need to know who our learners are and the profiles that they have so that we can better plan for those students. And we have noticed in recent years a real growth in students with needs coming into our school. In order to do that, when they do their orientation in late Year 6, we do some testing, so we get a sense of those students. We also send out staff to all the primary schools that we can to collect all the information that we need on our students. Because at the end of the day, it's important that we understand where our students are at and we want to establish a baseline.

Christine D’Arcy, Senior Speech Pathologist, Parafield Gardens High School: There are 2 different ways that we identify students who need a tier or tiers of intervention. The main one is our Transition Literacy Screening Program. I go out to our feeder primary schools and I do screening that looks at their language and reading skills. The other way we identify students is through the enrolment process. Through that interview process, students identified with low literacy levels are flagged with me. So armed with all of that data, we can then clarify what their learning support needs are and plan, resource and timetable how many Tier 2 intervention classes we’ll need, and make sure that they get the appropriate tier of intervention.

Sally Fleming, Literacy Leader and Head of English, East Loddon P–12 College: It's made a real difference to us to have adopted literacy assessments over the whole school that we're all doing at the same time. So, the data transfers across year levels, it transfers between classes, teachers are all talking about the same data, and especially for a small school, it allows us to have much richer conversations about why this kid scored this on this day and how that compares to other kids. And we can talk together about exactly what the test is showing us and how we can help those students and identify the stages that they're at.

Melissa Saliba, Senior Speech Pathologist, Craigmore High School: Sometimes students might be identified as having a reading comprehension difficulty, but when you break it down, it comes back to them not having the strong decoding skills to read the words to comprehend it. Or on the flip side, we might find that some students might have great decoding skills, so GRASP wouldn't be suitable intervention for them. We try to strengthen the ability for that teacher to provide an intervention that is targeted to the needs of the students.

Zachary Healey, Intervention Teacher, Como Secondary College: We have other diagnostic tools that come from the curriculum resources, which we use to also provide more specific data as well about where to start the students. They might be able to start with an EA outside in a higher level of the program or in a lower level of the program, depending upon those diagnostic results.

Janette Bandjak, Senior Leader, Literacy, Craigmore High School: Because we collect data regularly throughout the term, we need a structure that allows us to discuss that data in a timely fashion. What we're all about is closing the gap. We don't want to have to wait for weeks in order to start the process. We want to make sure that that's happening as soon as possible. Waiting for our formal meeting times throughout the term wouldn't be effective for us. We have structured our intervention – our physical spaces – so that many of our HR are located together in the same office. It gives us that really timely opportunity to talk about data, talk about students straight away, without having any sort of delays.

Belinda Melvin, Literacy Learning Specialist, Mount Rowan Secondary College: Ultimately, it really comes back to the data. If your data is suggesting that your students need this intervention, then they need the intervention. I just think that, you know, size of the school shouldn't dictate – or where it is or who the students are – should not be dictating what kind of intervention looks like. It should purely be, 'This is what our data says, this is how we can help these students to progress'. And that's really as simply as it should be.

Keywords: multi-tiered system of supports