Research into Quality Practices in Reading in Queensland Independent Schools

Year: 2018

Author: Cameron, Gregor

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Reading is considered a foundation literacy skill underpinning all learning areas (Australian Government, 2016). Data obtained from the 2017 NAPLAN National report indicates that Boys and Indigenous students are consistently underperforming across all grade levels, in all five NAPLAN tests. Yet within the layers of NAPLAN data there exist high value-added Independent schools that are making a difference. These schools are reversing trends and obtaining significant gains leading to improved student learning outcomes.In 2018, this qualitative case study, identified 13 out of 212 Independent schools who obtained significant gains in NAPLAN reading when compared with both the Queensland and Australian average gains for all schools. The focus of the study was Year 3, 5 and 7 NAPLAN, data from the period 2013 to 2017. Schools can perform to a high level in NAPLAN reading, yet when analysing progress from Years 3 to 9, gains may be negative or neglible. From the 13 schools identified, eight schools agreed to participate in this study. Over a period of 3-4 months 30+ semi-structured individual interviews were carried out across eight research sites. Questions explored eight main themes. Initial responses were collated followed by a return interview to each research site. De-identified (first) interview responses were read to the group. Participants were asked to comment, elaborate and clarify. Some additional questions were asked.The central research question aimed to explore the crucial elements that resulted in the schools substantially improved learning learning gains in Reading? Data was analysed (categorised and coded) using a grounded theory, emergent, constant comparative design. It is hoped that empirical data obtained from 2018 will form the basis of continued study in 2019 and 2020, though in different curriculum areas e.g. writing and or numeracy.
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