Implementing the National Accelerated Literacy Program in Northern Territory: Findings of questionnaire, focus group and observation of teaching practice

Year: 2009

Author: Bartlett, Claire, Robinson, Gary, Lea, Tess, Morrison, Perry, Rivalland, Judith

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This is the first of two papers on outcomes of the evaluation of the National Accelerated Literacy Program (NALP) in the NT. NALP was an attempt to rapidly improve literacy outcomes for Indigenous students in 100 schools in the Northern Territory by implementing a method of teaching known as Accelerated Literacy (AL). The authors present findings of the evaluation of the implementation of NALP (2006-2008), focusing on the degree to which the implementation program was effective in changing teaching practices according to the requirements of the Accelerated Literacy method. The evaluators conducted a survey of practitioners, focus group interviews with teachers and coordinators in schools and systematically observed AL teaching in 68 classrooms in 36 schools. It confirms that within four years, NALP had achieved the implementation of AL in a large number of NT schools such that teachers and principals in close to the target number of schools had been engaged in the process of change. However, notwithstanding this progress in implementation of the program in NT schools, the results of this evaluation suggest that by early 2008 there had been uneven success in changing teacher practice to achieve the levels of teaching of AL to desired standards in classrooms. The evaluation questions whether the policy commitments were always insufficient to support and sustain the implementation of AL to appropriate levels in terms of quality and completeness of systemic support.