Many of the Grampians region’s primary schools have performed as well or even better than similar students elsewhere in the NAPLAN tests, but still lag behind the Australian average in most cases.
The National Assessment Program’s 2017 standardised test results for reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy were released this month, covering most schools across Australia.
Two primary schools with some of the best scores in comparison with students of a similar socio-economic background were Stawell West Primary School and Ararat North Primary School.
Ararat North’s grade five students scored above similar students in reading, writing and spelling, and ‘substantially above’ in numeracy.
Ararat North’s numeracy scores were also above the national average.
Stawell West’s grade three students scored above similar students in reading, writing, spelling and numeracy, and were substantially above in grammar.
Stawell West’s grade three grammar was also above the national average.
Stawell West’s grade five students scored above similar students in reading, grammar and numeracy, and substantially above in writing, which was also above the national average.
St Mary’s School in Ararat, St Patrick’s in Stawell and Marnoo Primary school were above the national average for grade five reading.
Avoca and Marnoo Primary Schools were above the national average in writing and St Mary’s was above for spelling, Numeracy and and grammar.
Marnoo was also substantially above the national average for numeracy and grammar.
Ararat North Primary School principal Rick Elliss said his school’s results were really rewarding.
“My interpretation is that the hard work that the teaching staff, inc particular, have been putting in over the past number of years is really paying off for the kids,” he said.
“The teaching staff have had a really strong focus on doing the things in classrooms that make the most difference.”
Mr Elliss said is was good to see Ararat North students comparing well with all Australian students, particularly schools with more resources.
“Our kids are by-and-large on par with those other kids or in some cases a bit ahead,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean we have reached our goal, it just means we’re in the right place in the journey to make sure every child exceeds their expectations and does as well as they can.”
Stawell West Primary School primary school principal Jim O'Brien said his school’s results were “great”.
“We put a lot of effort in, the school has, over the past four years in trying to build the results of our students,” he said.
“A lot of it comes back focusing on the individual student.
“We have a reading intervention program that identifies students that need a bit of extra help.”
Mr O’Brien said the school had brought in a maths coach for the past year.
“She has mainly worked with teachers and we have improved our maths in how we teach each lesson and all the teachers have improved their knowledge of the content of mathematics,” he said.
“I think the main part is that how our students feel about themselves and our school has improved a lot.
“When they feel welcome and the teacher knows where they are at with their learning, then they put an extra effort in for themselves.”