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Catholic perspectives ineducation

Data management

Howdoschoolleaders andteachersutilise NAPLANdatato supportstudent learning?

Leadership, mentoring and professional development

Government Policyandthe phenomenom oflarge cohorttesting

Introduction Thefigureaboverepresentsinthecentrecircletheresearchquestion.Surroundinginthefour circlesarespheresofinfluenceassociatedwiththeresearchquestionasidentifiedinthescholarly literature.Thedesignoftheconceptmapintendstosuggesttheinterrelatednatureofthese influencesandwillbeaddressedinthispaperasthekeythemesassociatedwiththeresearch question.Withineachthemewillbeidentifiedstrandsforexploration.

ThemeOneCatholicperspectivesineducation 1.1TheMissionoftheChurchandEducation In considering this research problem, the relevant context is the Catholic School. The Catholic Church has a rich history in education dating back to its very origin in the historical and religious person of Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ who for Christians is the resurrected Son of God. In the ChristianGospels,JesusisreferredtoasRabbiwhichisHebrewandmeansTeacher.Innearly50 places in the four Gospels, the term Teacher is attributed to Jesus. This understanding and belief hasinspired menandwomen throughoutthepasttwenty centuriestodevote theirlivesto teaching inJesusname,(JohnPaulII,1979).Jesusisthefoundationofthewholeeducationalenterpriseina Catholic School (The Catholic School, p 34). This reality must permeate the whole business of education in a Catholic School. In 1988, Baum & Ortas for the Congregation for Catholic Education emphasised this understanding in guidelines for reflection and renewal regarding the religious dimensionoftheCatholicschool. In a Catholic School, everyone should be aware of the living presence of Jesus the Master who, today as always, is with us in our journey through life as the one genuine Teacher, the perfect Man in whom all human values find their fullest perfection. The inspiration of Jesusmustbetranslatedfromtheidealintothereal.Thegospelspiritshouldbeevidentina Christianwayofthoughtandlifewhichpermeatesallfacetsoftheeducationalclimate. (p.42)

The characteristics of an authentic Catholic education are essential considerations and context for the contemporary developments in education specific to the research problem. The emergence of computer aided delivery of data in society and particularly in education challenges Catholic educatorstodiscernand embraceappropriatelydataandtechnologytoenhancethesacredmission ofCatholicschools.

EducationwasanimportantfeatureofpreChristian civilisationsandmuchofthesecularthinkingof Socrates, Plato and Aristotle resides in educational philosophy today. Christian education, in the Catholictradition,buildsontheintrinsicvalueoftheindividualandsocietyembeddedin thesecular understanding of education. A Catholic education is defined by its universal and encompassing formation of the whole person. Utilisation of data in a Catholic school necessitates strengthening thisformation. In 1991, Pope John Paul II describes the goal of the Catholic School (as cited in Laghi & Martins 1997). The Catholic School sets out to be a school for the human persons and of human persons. Thepersonofeachindividualhumanbeinginhisorhermaterialandspiritualneedsisatthe heart of Christs teaching, this is why the promotion of the human person is the goal of the CatholicSchool. (p.9)

Thisgoalneedstobeaconsistentreferencepointandmoralguidetotheexplorationoftheresearch problem,illustratedbytheeminenceofthistheme. 1.2 The importance of the relationship between the teacher and the student in a Catholic School

An essential element of a Catholic perspective of education is the role of the teacher and their relationship with each student. In 1965 the Second Vatican Councils declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis, was made. The nature of this relationship was highlighted by PopePaulVI. Teaching has an extraordinary moral depth and is one of mans most excellent and creative activities, for the teacher does not write on inanimate material, but on the very spirits of

human beings. The personal relations between the teacher and the students, therefore, assumeanenormousimportanceandarenotlimitedsimplytogivingandtaking.Moreover, wemustrememberthatteachersandeducatorsfulfilaspecificChristianvocationandshare an equally specific participation in the mission of the Church, to the extent that :it depends chieflyonthemwhethertheCatholicschoolachievesitspurpose. (p.25) The importance of the teachers relationship with students is also found in contemporary research most notably Hattie (2003), Rowe (2006), and Hargreaves (2009). As explicitly stated goals of Catholic education, this perspective applies to the research problem in the context of the Inner WesternRegionoftheArchdioceseofSydney. In referring to the Sydney Archdioceses Foundation documents, such emphases are evident. The Vision Statement (Catholic Education Office, Sydney [CEO Syd], 2009) and the Privilege and the Challenge (CEO Syd, 2009) reflect on the vocation and role of the teacher in the Catholic School and speakdirectlytotheimportanceofqualityrelationshipsbetweenstudentsandteachers. The Vision Statement identifies the following which illustrate the desired emphasis on relationships inSydneyCatholicSchools.Schoolcommunitiesareinvitedtoexaminecritically The extent to which students experience school as a place of hope and promise for their future(p.12) Howsuccessandfailureareunderstood(p.14) HowtheMediaStudiesandICTareintegratedintotheteachinglearningprocess(p.14) Thewaysinwhichtheyfosterthedignity,selfesteemandintegrityofeachperson(p.17) The Vision Statement also states that the Sydney Catholic Education Office is committed to the development of schools which provide loving, caring and secure environments, recognise the

dignity of each person and foster life giving relationships within the school community. (CEO Syd 2009,p.17) WithintheGospels,thedocumentsofVaticanIIandsubsequentwritingsfromRomeandtheSydney Archdiocese, the centrality and importance of relationships in an authentic Catholic education are consistentlyemphasised. 1.3 The Declaration on Christian Education (Pope Paul VI, 1965) highlights the importance of Catholic School teachers working to ensure they have the means to effectively educate young people in knowledge and love of the Faith and in secular learning. From a Catholic perspective teachers who are excellent practitioners, open to innovation and change are essential in achieving the purpose of Catholic education. Pope Paul VI (1965) asserted that teachers must remember that it depends chiefly on them whether the Catholic School achieves its purpose. As well, teachers should be prepared for their work with special care, having the appropriate qualifications and adequate learning, both religious and secular. Pope Paul VI instructs that all teachers be skilled in the art of education in accordance with the discoveries of modern times and above all they should work in closecooperationwiththeparents. This same emphasis on innovation and engagement with contemporary educational theory and practice is present in the Sydney CEO Vision Statement. Describing the commitment of Catholic Schools to the development of the whole person the Vision Statement invites schools to examine critically the curriculum offered to the students and its relationship to their needs, the recognition given to the variety of learning styles of students and their processes for teaching and learning, assessingandreporting.(CEOSyd2009,p.17) ContemporaryandInnovativeTeachingProfessionalism

In The Privilege and the Challenge (CEO Syd, 2009), teachers are challenged and expected to be professionallycompetentbydemonstratingthebehaviourslistedbelow, creating a nurturing and stimulating learning environment which is learnercentred, academicallychallengingandinclusive. recognising ongoing change in the teaching/learning process through selfdevelopment in contemporarypedagogy,educationaldevelopmentsandpractices. reflectingcriticallyandengagingincollegiallearningtoenhanceprofessionalpractice. developing quality instructional programmes and procedures, evaluating their effectiveness andreportingstudentprogresstoparents. developingarangeofpedagogicalpracticesandapplyingthemtoreinforcestudentlearning. understanding the nature of the learner and learning processes and tailoring teaching programmestomeetthediverseneedsofthestudents. exercising professional responsibility in engendering a love of learning and developing lifelonglearners. (p.18) Therecentdevelopment,innovationsandgrowthinthenatureandaccessibilityandmanagementof student performance data relates directly to the professionalism of the 21 Century teachers from a Catholic education perspective. The imperative to be at the forefront of change in educational practice and process in the broader educational landscape demands a Catholic perspective on the issueofutilisingNAPLANdatatosupportteachingandlearningintheCatholicSchool. The three elements of the Catholic perspectives theme within the context of the research problem willbeessentialreferencepointsinconsideringtheassociatedissuesthroughoutthispaper.



Inaddressingtheresearchproblemitisclearfromtheliteraturethatanessentialelementtoexplore is the concept of school leadership are the associated activities of mentoring teachers and professionaldevelopment.Thisthemewillbeoverviewedfromtheseperspectives. 2.1 Leadership

Schoolleadershipisconsistentlyidentifiedasamajorcontributiontothesuccessoflearners.(Hattie, 2006) and (Leithwood, Day, Sammons, Harris & Hopkins, 2006) assert empirically that this is most apparent in the influence school leaders have on their teachers, who in turn most influence the learning in the classroom. In reviewing the literature, a host of school improvement models are proposed.(Fullan,2006),and(Fullan,HillandCrevola,2009)promotedatadrivendecisionmakingin a paradigm described as Breakthrough where with the creative use of data, personalisation, precision and professional learning are fostered as core functions of leadership emanating from the moralpurposeoftheschoolasthecentrepiece.IllustratedinFigure2theBreakthroughFramework captures essential elements of the learning paradigm and discuss the role data its nature and appropriateinformingofassessmentforlearningaredescribedin detail. ExpertInstruction Systems are detailed with the appropriate use of various data and an emphasis on performance data. Further elaboration of this paradigm involved the Building of Critical Learning Instructional Paths whereusingdatetodriveinstructionisdiscussed.


Based on empirical research in relation to primary school literacy practice, the authors assert that thekeytotransformationoflearninginschoolsliesintheintelligentuseofdatatodriveinstruction. The paradigm of leadership and school improvement discussed is closely aligned to the exploration oftheresearchproblemaddressedinthispaper. (Crowther, 2008) has done extensive work with Australian schools in the area of leadership. Based at the University of Southern Queensland, Crowthers IDEAS model for school improvement has been employed in one third of this Regions schools. The IDEAS framework focuses on the actions of initiating, discovering, envisioning, actioning and sustaining. Crowther promotes the concept of parallel leadership and capacity building in schools. Six key dynamics of capacity building are representedbelowinFigure3 Figure3:Thesixdynamicsofcapacitybuilding

To facilitate these dynamics, Crowther promotes five principles of engagement. Firstly teachers are identifiedasthekeyandprimeactorinaffectingchangeattheclassroomandschoollevel.Secondly, Crowthers evidence underscores the importance of professional learning in professional revitalisation.Thirdly,thecreationandmaintenanceofanoblamecultureisessentialtothesuccess of the IDEAS process. The fourth principle of engagement is attitudinal and is described as success

breeding success. Finally, the principle of alignment of school processes is promoted as a fundamentalandcollectivewholeschoolresponsibility. The role data plays in the IDEAS process is a key feature and the various data gathering inventories developedareinterrelatedwithaclearlineofsighttostudentlearning.SimilartotheBreakthrough model of Fullan, Hill and Crevola, Crowthers IDEAS requires school leaders to become confident in promoting the use of data within a parallel leadership model, which is an imperative of the current NationalPartnershipreformsforLowSESSchoolCommunities(SSNP,2009). (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) promote the Covey inspired learning model Understanding by Design. Basedonbackwarddesignprinciples,learninggoalsandplansareestablishedinthreekeystages. Firstly, desired results are determined by examining national, state and region content standards and curriculum expectations. School educators in developed countries are consistently presented with the problem of excessive expectations in regards to content within the real time available to teachers and students. Wiggins and McTighe assert the need for clarity around priorities. The choices made at this point are readily facilitated by data and herein lies the coherence with the research problem being addressed. In the second step, teachers are encouraged to think like an assessor (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005 p. 36) as they determine the acceptable evidence required in establishing the achievement of the goals. The nature of this evidence needs to validate that the desired learning has been achieved as distinct from content to be covered or as a series of learning activities. The third stage requires teachers to plan the learning experiences and instructional activities. Whilst the concept seems relatively simple, providing system wide or school wide leadership with backward design principles and practice presents challenges in regards to professionaldevelopmentandacultureofadherence.

(Hargreaves & Shirley, 2009) have devised an approach to educational change which is relevant to the research questions. This represents a comprehensive vision in which student performance data plays an important role as a factor in a range of essential elements which include strong leadership at government, sector, regional and school levels. The proposed model is derived from extensive research on past practice in OECD countries school education since the end of the Second World War. Capturing successful elements of different phases in education in this period, Hargreaves and Shirley also identify inhibiting characteristics of previous ways of learning and organisation. The confluence of ideas contained in this work with the Australian Governments educational agenda as discussedinthenextthemedeemithighlyrelevanttotheresearchissue. Reflecting an assonance with National educational goals as stated in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment , Training and Youth Affairs, [MCEETYA], 2008), Hargreaves and Shirley promote The Fourth Way as a guide forschooleducators.Theyassert The Fourth Way is a democratic and professional path to improvement that builds from the bottom, steers from the top and provides support and pressure from the sides. Through high quality teachers committed to and capable of creating deep and broad teaching and learning, it builds powerful, responsible, and lively professional communities in an increasingly self regulating but not self absorbed or self seeking profession. Here teachers define and pursue high standards and shared targets, and improve by learning continuously throughnetworks,fromevidence,andfromeachother. (p.107)



In the context of the research problem, teacher mentoring, monitoring, and professional development are interrelated influences that receive attention in the scholarly literature. DeCourcy (2005) asserts that data can only act as positive change factor if the school Principal perceives data as an authentic lever to achieve desired outcomes. Based on ten years of work with Catholic Secondary Schools in New South Wales in cooperation with the NSW Catholic Education Commission, DeCourcy has analysed NSW HSC student performance data in a systematic and accessible manner. Each year the process has become more refined and expert professional developmentopportunitieshasbeenprovidedforhundredsofschoolleadersandmiddlemanagers. The analysis provides school principals with clear data relating to teacher effectiveness and as DeCourcy suggests, provides a clear objective basis for professional discussion and sharing. In regards to the research issue, the DeCourcy analysis is relevant as it has established an enthusiasm for student performance data among secondary school Principals in this Region and NAPLAN data fromstudentsinyears7andYear9isbeingcomprehensivelyintegrated. DeCourcyidentifiesfourkeyquestionsforPrincipalstoaskteachersinthisanalysis.Thesequestions aresimply. 1. Whathaveyoubeendoingandwhy? 2. Howitisgoing? 3. Howdoyouknow? 4. Whatdoyouplantodonext?

DeCourcyexplainsthemethodology. The third question demands that the teacher engage with the analysis in order to substantiatetheiranswertothesecondquestion.Thefourthquestionbecomestheanswer; the following year to the first question. There is not room in this sort of analysis for blame thestudents responses, unless the teacher can hypothesis a distinctive characteristic of the particular group of students. If she/he can, the dealing with it becomes the answer to the fourthquestions. (p.4) The constructive manner in which DeCourcy presents the possibilities of leverage for Principals in regards to teacher performance, does not address how such accountability measures can engender negative sentiments and erode teacher morale as reported in the UK and the US, (Alexander, 2010), (Shepard, 1991), and (Cizek 2006). Relevant to the research problem is the use of NAPLAN data for teacher monitoring similar to DeCourcys popular approach with the NSW HSC. This element of the theme requires careful examination in the NSW context. Large cohort testing in the past fifteen years has been well received from an educational view by teachers (Wasson, 2009), yet the reporting of the NAPLAN results on the My Schools website has provoked considerable controversy and unrest within the profession, (Gavrielatos, 2010), (Watt, 2010). The recent Grattan Institute Report (Jensen, 2010) identifies through an OECD designed survey of teachers across the country in alleducationsectorsthefindingthat91%ofrespondentsconsideredthattheirschoolPrincipaldoes not take steps to address persistently underperforming teachers. Jensen also discusses the importance of aligned school improvement and evaluation processes with teacher evaluation processes.Jensensevidencedemonstratesmoresuccessfulstudentoutcomeswherethisalignment exists.

Professional learning and professional development are identified in the literature as critical to the role of data in schools. (Timperley, 2009), (Bernhardt 2009), (Fullan 2009),(Hargreaves & Shirley 2009)and(Hattie2005)identifytheimportanceofprofessionallearninganddevelopmentinregards tostudentperformancedata.Thediscussionswithinthisliteratureconsidertheincreasedvolumeof datafacingteachersandtheskillsneededtodiscernwhatis the mostimportantandrelevantto the core purpose of teaching and learning. The challenges in changing culture within schools in respect to data are thoroughly addressed as are the challenges for systems to provide efficient interactive and dynamic data management systems. Such systems need a degree of training that is purposeful, teachercentredandreferencedwithauthenticlearningbenefitsforstudents. Theme3GovernmentPolicyandthephenomenonoflargecohorttesting This theme is presented as a contextual narrative which pertains to the research problem. The key emphasesare; 3.1 3.2 3.1 Discussion of this theme has an indefinite beginning and for the purposes of the research problem, the time frame will commence with the conception and development of the OECD PISA tests. The reasonsforPISAarebestunderstoodbythefollowingexplanation. Responding to member countries demands for regular and reliable data on the knowledge and skills of their students and the performance of their education systems, the OECD began work on PISAinthemid1990s.(OECD2010). Internationalperspectives. Internationalperspectives. NationalperspectivesandRegionalimplications.

Itisclearthatdemocraticallyelectedgovernmentsindevelopednationswereturningtheirattention to the economic benefits and costs of publicly funded education. As a sizeable expenditure line in theannualbudgetstherehasbeenlegitimateconcernfromgovernmentsandtheirconstituentsthat costly education systems are not delivering adequate learning outcomes for students. (Hanushek, 2005) has completed an analysis of spending on US education over the past 40 years and concludes empirically that despite a fourfold funding increase in real terms, the average level of attainment in US schools according to their National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) represents modestyetinconsistentgainsinmathsandreadingandadeclineinscienceandwriting. In various states across the US and in education sectors throughout the developed world, the 1980s and early 1990s saw a growth in large cohort testing directly linked to accountability and targeted achievement levels in basic literacy and numeracy. This phenomenon is relevant to the research problem as it richly informs the context and its influence on the research problem will be a line of inquiry. The phenomenon of large cohort testing has had an influence on teachers behaviour,(Cizek, 2001) and (Sheppard, 1991). Cizek acknowledges the dissonance existing with the broader communitys embracingoflargecohortorhighstakestestingandthephilosophicalresistancetosuchtestingbya significantproportionoftheteachingprofessingintheUnitedStates.HoweverCizekemphasises10 positiveconsequencesoflargecohorttesting.Henominates 1. 2. 3. 4&5. 6. Anincreaseintheprofessionaldevelopmentforteachersinregardtopedagogy. Betterinformedinclusionofstudentswithspecialneeds. Increasedknowledgeamongteachersandeducationalleadersinrelationtotesting. Increasedabilitytocollectanduseinformation. Increasedinformationforparentsconcerningeducationaloptionsfortheirchildren

7. 8 9. 10.

Establishingtransparencysystemsforeducatorsandgovernments. Increasedintimacywithteachingdisciplinesbyteachers. Improvedqualityoftestsinschools. Increasedachievementlevelsamongstudents.

These assertions based on empirical evidence provide a stark contrast to the findings of Sheppard (1991) based on a study with US teachers. Key findings relevant to the research problem include a number of negative perceptions that have some correlation to the teaching and learning within the classroom. For example, the large cohort high stakes testing was correlated with measurement driven instructional practices and an acknowledgement that teachers believe there was too much teaching to test content and test format. As a result, the majority of teachers in this research believed important non tested content was clearly suffering because of the focus on the standardised large cohort testing. Associated with this finding was the erosion of learning time due to specific preparation for and conducting of the tests. Of particular relevance to the research problem addressed in this paper, is the degree to which controversial testing practices were highlightedbyteachers.8%ofteachersdisclosedtheyhadencouragedpoorperformingstudentsto be absent on testing days and 6% changed answers on student scripts to correct responses. Rephrasingquestionsforstudents,givinghintsforcorrectanswersandallowingstudentsmoretime tocompleteanswerswerepracticesreportedbyapproximately20%ofteachers. TeachersreportedinSheppardsstudythatthegreaterdegreeofuseofthedataforaccountability andperformanceappraisalofschools,teachersandPrincipalsbyexternalbodiessuchaseducation districts,regionsorgovernment,thegreatertheincidenceofcontroversialteachingpracticesand measurementdriveninstruction.

FromtheUnitedKingdomexperienceoflargecohorttesting,theCambridgePrimaryReview providesfindingsrelevanttotheresearchproblem.(Alexander2010),emphasisestheimportance ofthisreviewasitisthefirstofitskindin40yearsintheU.K.Alexanderishighlycriticalofthe exaggeratedclaimsbysuccessiveBritishGovernmentsandMinistersonthepositiverolelarge cohorttestinghasplayedinraisingstandardsinthecountrysPrimaryschools.Alexanderadroitly alignsthesimplisticlanguageofpoliticsagainstthedeeperunderstandingofeducation.The argumentsputforward,basedonextensiveresearchechoperspectivesintroducedthemeoneof thispaper. Alexandernotesthefollowingfindingsfromthereview. TheCambridgeReviewsevidenceshowshowthepursuitofanarrowconceptofstandardsatthe primarystage,inwhichtestscoresinliteracyhavebeentreatedasproxiesforthequalityofprimary educationasawhole,hasoverthepast13yearsseriouslycompromisedchildrenslegalentitlement toabroadandbalancedcurriculum.Wealsoconsideritpossiblethatbecausestandardsinthe basicsandtheavailabilityofabroadandbalancedcurriculumhavebeenshowempiricallytobe linked,thenarrowingofthecurriculuminpursuitofstandardsinthethebasicsmayhavehadthe oppositeresulttothatintended,depressingstandardsinthebasicsratherthanraisingthem.As collateraldamagegoes,thatsprettyspectacular. (p.6) Mansell (2007) also provides an avid critique in the British large cohort testing regime. Both Alexander and Mansell support the need for large cohort standardised tests but provide empirically based arguments for the need to be clear as to the educational purpose of these tests. Mansells work examines the perversion of the integrity of the tests by the overt demands placed on them by the politicians and policy makers who are invariably serving other masters for purposes disassociatedwiththedynamicsoftheclassroom.Mansell(2009)statesthefollowingargument.

In last years Select Committee inquiry into exams, the Government was the only one of 52 respondents to defend the current system. Ranged against it in recent years have been the select committee itself, the Childrens Society, the Royal Society and a host of other scientific organisations, the Cambridge Universitybased Primary Review, at least one major exam board, teachers unions and many others. Even Ofsted and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority have highlighted problems. The central argument is that holding teachers to account for their pupils performance through a series of narrowlyfocused, often predictable, test has damaged childrensdeeperunderstanding. (retrievedfromwww.independent.co.uk) The international perspective on large cohort testing contains an array of literature. The U.K. and in particular,theEnglishexperiencehasrelevancetotheresearchproblemaddressedinthispaperdue to the Sydney Archdioceses relationship with Her Majestys former Inspector for Schools, Mr Ian Gamble who was a key figure in the establishment of the Ofsted School Review and Improvement processes. Gamble was engaged by the Sydney Catholic Education Office as a critical friend and chair of an external review of the Sydney Catholic Schools System in 2004. Gamble has provided continuedsupportfortheSydneyCEOinarelationshipthatcontinuesin2010. 3.2 The OECD PISA Test has highlighted the disparity existing in Australian schools which is largely aligned to the students socioeconomic status based on the income of their families, the level of educationoftheirparentsandotherfactorssuchaslocationparticularlyremotenessandindigenous influenceoridentity,(McGaw2006). NationalPerspectivesandRegionalimplications.

Professor Barry McGaw is a key figure in the relationship between the OECD and the Australian National scene. McGaw has held the position as the Education Director within the OECD and much of his observations and direction have influenced Australian Government Policy. The other influential figure to be considered in this area of Australian Educational policy is the Deputy Prime Minister,theHonourableJulieGillard. Gillard has been the lead architect in what the current Labour Government has termed the Education Revolution. Gillards thinking has been arguably shaped and inspired by New York Citys schools chancellor, Mr Joel Klein. In a radio interview on ABC National (2008), Joel Klein illuminates much of Gillards thinking. In reflecting on the transformation in New York City schools in the previous six years, Klein identifies school and student focus on results in large cohort standardised testing as the most influential transformative change factor which he claims is based on extensive empiricalresearch.ThealignmentofsuccessfulschoolresultsandPrincipalcontractsisidentifiedas a major strategy influencing and motivating improvements in student learning outcomes. Klein explains in the New York experience that teachers were also made accountable using test results and in extreme cases Principal and the whole staff were removed from schools in extreme cases of underperformance. Klein explained that in six years, he had closed 70 schools and reopened new andsmallerschoolsinthesamebuildings.Graduationratesinthesenewschoolsroseinsomecases from 30% to 80%. This discussion involved reporting student and school performance according to social advantage factors, and the strength of such public accountability for teachers, claiming the transparency focusesthemind,itsacatalystforaction.(Klein2008retrievedfromwww.abc.org.au) A major element of the judgements on school performance in New York City is based on individual student learning growth which is the intention for the second iteration of the Australian My Schools website.

Klein advocates setting broad targets for schools and systems and investing autonomy and trust in the people on the ground in the schools to ensure the targets are met. This devolution of authority and responsibility is relevant to the research problem as the Sydney Catholic School System has a historicalandtheologicalpredispositiontothisfeatureofKleinsapproachwhichisbestillustratedin the Catholic Social teaching principle of Subsidiarity, (Revum Novarum, 1891). The degree to which the principle is exercised in the Archdiocesan System of Schools is a creative tension and applies to considerations relevant in the research problem. A final key point made by Klein is the need for schools and educators to become confident in the use of complex data management systems that areintimatelyrelatedtothelearningprocesswitheachchild. On the national agenda, there is substantial coherence with the Klein view of educational reform. An overview of key government documents in Australia provides the evidence. In the 2008 MCEETYA Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MDEGYA) two goals are identified. Firstly that Australian Schooling promotes equity and excellence and secondly that AllyoungAustraliansbecomesuccessfullearners,confidentandcreativeindividuals,andactiveand informedcitizens.(MCEETYA,2001,p.3) TheDeclarationalsoidentifiesthreecorechallenges (i) (ii) ImprovededucationaloutcomesformanyindigenousAustralians. Higher representation among high achievers by students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. (iii) ImprovedretentionratesofYear12completionorequivalent.

Relevant to the research issue is the stated commitment to promote world class curriculum and assessment in Australian schools. Of particular note is the explicit reference to assessment. The Declarationhighlightsthefollowingactions.


A rigorous and comprehensive assessment of student progress that draws on a combinationofprofessionaljudgementofteachers,testingandnationaltesting.


Enabling teachers to use information about student progress to inform their teaching.


Enabling students to reflect on and monitor their own progress to inform their futuregoals.


Assisting teachers to use evidence of student learning to assess student achievementagainstgoalsandstandards. (p.14)

AlsoassociatedwiththeresearchproblemistheDeclarationsfocusonstrengtheningaccountability and transparency for schools, students, parents, families, the community and the government. The essentialingredientinthiscommitmenttoactionisdataandinformationforallstakeholders. The Declaration is foundational to the ongoing developments of NAPLAN, SMART, the Australia Curriculum and the Education National Partnership Agreements. Each of these initiatives has an inherent focus on student performance data and is therefore relevant in documentation, process and practical implementation in relation to the research question. The Archdiocesan and Regional responsestothesedevelopmentsaredynamicandinnovative,informedbypolicyandresearch. In Sydney Archdiocese, the Year 6 Religious Education Test was introduced in 1999 and in 2010 the Year 8 Religious Education Test will be conducted for the first time. Both tests involve cohorts of approximately 5500 students. Accountability of a different nature is being applied in the case of thesetests,butthemethodologiesoflargecohorttestingemployedthroughouttheworlddoapply. The Sydney Catholic Education Office has entered a partnership with the University of New South Wales Educational Testing Centre in the design and delivery of the RE tests. This partnership has

evolved due to the increasing popularity of the test across Dioceses throughout Australia and the desire to ensure the validity of the test instrument from a broader and experienced educational testingperspective. Theme4DataManagement In considering the purpose of the research, an investigation of the professional literature identifies threekeyandrelevantthemes.Theseare 4.1Systemisingandmanagingthewealthofreadilyaccessibleschooleducationdata. 4.2 Datatoinformrichfeedbacktostudentstoenhancetheirlearning. 4.3 Datatoinformteacherseffectivepedagogy. 4.1Systemisingandmanagingthewealthofreadilyaccessibleschooleducationdata. With the advent of computer aided technology and the phenomenon of large cohort testing throughout countries in the developed world, teachers and educational leaders are confronted with anarrayofdatainregardtoallfacetsofschoollife.Earl(2005)describesthesituation. In the past several decades, a great deal has changed. The 21st century has been dubbedtheinformationage.Therehasbeenanexponentialincreaseindataand information, and technology has made it available in raw and unedited forms in a range of media. Like many others in the society educators are trying to come to grips with this vast deluge of new and unfiltered information and to find ways to transformthisinformationintoknowledgeandultimatelyintoconstructiveaction. (p.1)

The challenges in making sense of the data and ensuring its relevance in informing school improvement on a range of fronts are sophisticated, often competing and potentially confusing to the point of overwhelming for stakeholders. Bernhardt (2009) suggests a broad view of a schools data and emphasises the interrelatedness of the multiple measures of data. This concept is relevant to the research problem and as the manner in which schools use NAPLAN results to reflect upon or inform other practices and realities in the school setting. Bernhardts multiple measures of data include four main points of inquiry. Demographics, perceptions, student learning and school processes.ThesearerepresentedbelowinFigure4. Figure4:MultipleMeasuresofData

Within Bernhardts conceptual framework of data, the measure of student learning is most relevant to this research, with informed reference to demographics, school processes and perceptive. Whilst this theoretical framework attempts to capture the breadth and interrelatedness of school data, a schools demonstrable capacity for competent data use in fields ranging from data literacy and associated collaborative inquiry to highly developed leadership and facilitation skills by schoolprincipalsandleadershipteamsiscritical,(Love,2009). Love also promotes the success of Data Teams in schools who have worked to identify and address student learning problems. In the vastness of student performance data, Love has conceived a pyramidofdatasourcesthathighlightthefrequencyandlocationofdatameasurementinamanner thatemphasisestheprimacyoftheclassroomlearningexperiences. Love emphasises the need for schools to build a High Performing Data Culture. Associated with the research problem to be addressed in this paper, is Loves insistence on teachers drilling down into data. Lookingmoreandmoredeeplyatonestudentlearningdatasourcetoderivethegreatest possibleamountofinformation,thedrilldownmovesthroughsequentiallayersofanalysis, fromtheaggregated,disaggregated,standanditemleveltoananalysisofstudentwork. (p.56) As stated in the previous chapter, the research problem is in the context of an increasingly Information and Communications and Technology (ICT) rich environment in this Region of the Archdiocese. The increased accessibility of Computer Technology for teachers is a feature of Data

Management that has the potential for agile and dynamic analysis. In 1998 the British Government established the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, (Becta). (www.becta.org.uk). Thisgovernmentsponsoredbodyceaseditsworkafterthe2010Britishelections.IntheBectareport of 2009, titled Harnessing Technology Review role of technology in education and skills there is analysis of the role of technology in personalised learning experiences. Relevant findings from the researchconductedacrossschoolsintheUnitedKingdomincludethefollowing; 1. 50%ofCollegesbelievedtechnologywasstrengtheningpersonalisationoflearning. 2. 53% of teachers reported that technology led to more effective assessment of learning 3. 60%ofteachersbelievedtechnologysavedtimeinreportingonstudentsprogress 4. 74%ofteachersfelteffectiveinusingICTforassessment 5. 56%ofteachersfelteffectiveinusingICEforpersonalisinglearning 6. 70% of Colleges expressed confidence in the impact technology was having on learning 7. 90%ofCollegesusetechnologyforassessments 8. 75%ofCollegesareconfidentthattechnologyaddsvaluetolearnersassessment. The report is rare in its evaluation of teacher attitudes in a high stakes, large cohort testing regime suchastheUK.TheBectareportunderscoresthereadinessandconfidenceofteacherstoembrace technologyifitcanefficientlyenabletheircorepurposeofimprovingstudentoutcomes. Within this theme of systematising and managing data, the role of technology needs to be considered. DeCourcy (2005) and Wassan (2009) identify and utilise computer aided technology in theiranalysisoftheNewSouthWalesHigherSchoolCertificateandNAPLANrespectively.DeCourcy

states, What is effective is valid analysis of data, presenting the results of the analysis in an engaging way, targeting professional development to support use of the analysis and then engaging teachersinprofessionaldevelopmenttosupportchangesinpedagogy.(DeCourcy,2005,p.7) Wassan (2009) is one of the chief architects of the SMART data analysis package that was initially a tool for the New South Wales teachers to analyse the state based BST, ELLA and SNAP assessments. NowworkingwithACARA,WasseniscurrentlydevelopingSMART2forNAPLANtobeutilisedacross Australia. Wassan asserts that large cohort testing such as NAPLAN can have a positive impact on student outcomes when assisted by sophisticated diagnostic tools for the analysis of individual, group, school and system performance, ( p. 2). The use of technology is a vital element associated withtheresearchproblemandonetobeexploredasamajortheme. 4.2 FeedbackforStudentLearning

The second strand within the theme of data management examines the role of data in the provision of feedback by teachers to students. Within the data rich educational context of the 21st Century, the relationship between student performance data and constructive feedback for each students learning is an issue receiving comment in the professional literature and at a State and National level. Fullan (2009) identifies a series of components in achieving a Breakthrough in public education systems in which all students are well served in regards to their learning. He identifies three componentswhichformamoralpurposeineducation,asrepresentedinFigure5.


The component relevant to this strand of the research is precision as it demands the use of data in providing clear, relevant and constructive feedback to the individual student. Sadler (1989) argues the importance in the learning process of objective, external formulation of successful performance by the student which can stand alone from the teacher whilst also being enriched by the teachers judgement and variously contextualised assessments (as cited in Fullan 2006). Love (2009) also underscores the motivational element of student enquiry into their own data from external assessments and tests. This emphasis on feedback to the student is at the very heart of teaching andaconsistentfeatureofgoodteachingtheworldoverthroughouthistory.Fullan(2009)describes the21stCenturyteacherinthedevelopedworldas sufferingfromDRIPsyndrome,meaningtheyare data rich, but information poor. The challenge identified in this strand of the theme of Data Managementcentresaroundtheintelligiblemannerinwhichteacherschooseanduserelevantdata as feedback to students to promote learning. Hargreaves and Shirley (2009) focus on this question from a variety of perspectives throughout their book entitled The Fourth Way. Drawing on experiences from the United Kingdom, the Unites States and other member countries of the OECD, Hargreaves and Shirley conduct a historical reflection of the school educational journey of the developed world since the end of World War II. The Fourth Way is a sign post for the present and

the future. In regards to the role of data and student feedback, Hargreaves and Shirley discuss the subtlety and dexterity required by educational leaders and teachers in using performance data with students. Student performance data must be used intelligently, invitationally and inclusively(p.38). Whilst they argue the value of teachers intuition in regards to feedback and judgement of student performance, the value of the objectivity inherent in external testing data is assertedwiththebenefitstoteacherandstudentemphasised. Fullan, Hill and Crevola (2006) focus on the issue of feedback for student learning in the context of Assessment for Learning, also known as Formative Assessment. In their discussion promoting the creationofExpertInstructionalSystemsinschools,theteacherasexpertrequirescasespecificdata that relates to the situation at hand( p.47). It is argued that such data provides the teacher with feedback on their instruction whilst for the student the data enables them to monitor and improve their learning. Fullan, Hill and Crevola cite other empirical studies that have supported the importanceofformativeassessmentwhichinthecontextoftheresearchproblemprovidesinsight. ... the case for making assessment for learning or formative assessment the centrepiece in the design of instructional systems was made by Sadler (1989) many years ago. Paul Black and Dylan Williams (1998a 1998b) have demonstrated that powerful evidence has existed formanyyearsregardingtheeffectivenessofimprovedformative assessmentasameansof raisingstandards. (p.48)

Fullan, Hill and Crevola identify four factors closely associated with data and feedback for student learning which provide a constructive perspective to the research problem. These factors are listed below. 1. Asetofpowerfulandalignedassessmenttoolstiedtothelearningobjectivesofeachlesson, which give the teacher access to accurate and comprehensive information on the profess of each student on a daily basis and which can be administered without unduly interrupting normalclassroomroutines.

2. A method of allowing the formative assessment data to be captured in a way that is not time consuming, to analyse the data automatically, and to convert it into information that is powerful enoughtodriveinstructionaldecisionsnotsometimeinthefuture,buttomorrow. 3. A means of using the assessment information on each student to design and implement personalized instruction; assessment for learning being a strategy for improving instruction in preciseways. 4. A builtin means of monitoring and managing learning, of testing what works, and of systematically improving the effectiveness of classroom instruction so that it more precisely respondstothelearningneedsofeachstudentintheclass. (p.49)

IntheAustraliancontext,DavidAxworthy(2005)identifieskeycharacteristicsequalinthelarge cohorttestingregimeforvalidityinteacherseyes.Axworthysworkisofimportancetothe researchinthispaperasthecredibilityofdataiselementarytoanyconstructiveuseofdatato supportteachingandlearning.Axworthyidentifies i) The direct and explicit linkage between each test item and a corresponding element of thecurriculum. ii) iii) iv) Theinvolvementofclassroomteachersinthepanellingofitemsforconsideration. Thetriallingofsampleitemsinactualclasses. Theuseofteachersasmarkersandtheassociatedlearningthatgoeswithit.

Axworthy, similar to DeCourcy (2005) and Wasson (2009) highlights the importance of presentation of data to class teachers and emphasises the need for the data for large cohort testing to be presented in such a way as to encourage appropriate questions being asked that lead to a triangulation of assessment evidence. The triangulation involves teacher observation and school based assessment. The same principle of externality of data provided by Hargreaves, Shirley and

Fullan as a catalyst for reflection and evaluation of more intimate and familiar data is applied by Axworthy. In England, Kirkup, Sizmer, Sturman and Lewis (2005) conducted a large scale study designed to investigate how data was used to promote learning in schools. The findings of this study are closely linkedtotheresearchproblemandemanatefromamoreestablishednationaltestingregime. The study sought to identify good practice in the effective use of data to improve learning. An importantobservationforthestudywasthatgoodpracticeemergedfromtheusetowhichthedata was put rather than specific systems or tools. A recurrent theme was that data only becomes effectiveifitstimulatesinthecontextoftheclassroom. Hattie(2005)hasabodyofworkthatpromotessignificantinsighttothisstrandofthethemeofdata managementinrelationtotheresearchquestion.Hattiesempiricalworkondeterminingthestrong influences on student learning readily applies to the use of data for feedback questions directed to actual learning. Hattie insists that the discussion about using data needs to be set clearly on student learning. Of all the influences published in his 2003 research, teacher feedback of an instructional nature and teacher feedback specific to assessment are identified as the strongest. (Rowe, 2006) supports this assertion and links the findings to further research he completed on the manner of pedagogywhichleadstothenextstrainofthisthemeintheresearchproblems. 4.3 InformingPedagogy

The research problem and exploration concerns two of the major influences on the quality of teaching as identified by Hattie (2005) and Timperley (2005). As discussed in the previous strand, the literature identifies the importance of data in providing precise feedback within the framework of formative assessment. NAPLAN is a formative assessment tool distinct from a summative assessment tool, however as discussed in Theme 3, this distinction has been blurred by the political influences in publishing NAPLAN data. The third strand of the theme of data management concerns themannerinwhichthedatacansuccessfullyinformdecisionsregardingthepedagogyemployedby

classroom teachers and encouraged or developed by educational leaders. This emphasis is key to theresearchproblem.Thedistinctionbetweenpedagogyandstudentfeedbackprovidestwolenses for the research which are consistent with the emphases identified in the literature. Providing feedback to students is a key art of successful teaching as identified by Hattie (2003) and Rowe (2006). Reflection upon discussing and designing pedagogy or instructional approaches is another legitimate lens supported by Hattie and Rowe, who isolate and report empirically instructional quality and direct instruction as the third and fourth ranked influences on student learning, (Hattie 2003,Rowe2006)).Intakingthisapproach,thedefinitionofpedagogyincontemporaryeducationis adopted with the nuance on the activity of the teacher in the instructional phases of the learning process. Timperley (2005) addresses the issue of using data for improving teacher practice and her work is valuableinrelationtotheresearchquestion.Basedoninternationalresearchandextensiveworkin NewZealandSchools,Timperleyhasdesignedaprofessionaldevelopmentprogrammewhichis focused on the interpretation and use of assessment information, building relevant pedagogical contentknowledgeinliteracyanddevelopingleadershipforthechangemanagementprocess(p.2). Timperley indicates that this programme has delivered student achievement gains in reading and writingattwicetheexpectedratewithevengreatergainsamonglowachievingstudents.Timperley observes that educators have, known more about the potential for using assessment data to improveteachingpracticeandstudentlearningthanhowtodoit(p.1).

Timperleyassertsthatinthe21stCenturyanumber ofidentifiableconditions areessentialtoenable assessmentdatatoauthenticallyimpactinapositivemanneronteachingpractice. i. Teachers need sufficient knowledge of the meaning of the assessment data to make appropriateadjustmentstopractice ii. iii. Thedataneedstoprovideteacherswithcurriculumrelevantinformation That information needs to be seen by teachers as something that informs teaching and learning, rather than as a reflection of capability of individual students and to be used for sorting,labellingandcredentialing iv. School leaders need to know how to lead the kinds of change in thinking and practice that arerequiredforteacherstousethedata. v. Teachers need improved pedagogical content knowledge to make relevant adjustments to classroompracticeinresponsetotheassessmentinformation vi. All within the school need to be able to engage in systematic evidenceinformed cycles of inquirythatbuildtherelevantknowledgeandskillsidentifiedabove. vii. School leaders need to be able to have the conversations with teachers to unpack this meaning. (p.1) TimperleysworkhasinvolvedcloseengagementwiththeNewZealandMinistryofEducation designedAssessmentToolsforTeachingandLearningwhicharemappedtotheNewZealand Curriculum,andprovidenormativedataaboutexpectedratesofstudentprogressineachcurriculum area.AkeyfindingbyTimperleyisthatteachersneedtohaveexplicitprofessionaldevelopmentin relationtotheutilisationofthisparticulartool.Thisexperienceisapplicabletotheresearch problemasNAPLANintheNewSouthWalessettingislinkedtotheSMARTDatapackagedeveloped byEMSAD.Timperley(2009)suggeststhatpreviousassumptionsaboutteacherscapacityto constructivelyutiliseassessmentdatawerenotoptimistic.Timperleynotestheimmensechallenge

confrontingteacherswithtraditionalideasinrelationtoassessmentdataandnotestheneedfor teacherstoacquirenotonlythemechanicalskillsinutilisingdatebutalsoandmoreimportantlya deeperknowledgeofpedagogy.Teachersarethenempoweredtoinvestigatedataandits relationshipstothesuccessorotherwiseoflearningthathappensintheirclassrooms.Inthe discussionTimperelyemphasisestheimportanceofexistingconditionsforsuchprofessional deepeningofknowledgeandskillacquisitiontooccur.HargravesandShirley(2009,p.34)nominate theneedsforschoolstousedatainaholisticsenseanddiscusstheanalogyofdataassociatedwith sportsteamsandtheworldofmedicine.Centraltotheirargumentistheneedfordatatobeused asacomponentofteacherdecisionmakingandreflection. HargravesandShirley(2009)discusstheimportanceofevidenceandexperienceinrelationto problemsolving.HargravesandShirleypromoteaninteractiveandinclusiveapproachtodatathat informsratherthandictatesdecisionmakingandteacherplanning.Thereflectionsoftheseauthors arepertinenttotheresearchproblem.Theywarnagainstthesuccessfuluseofdatabyskilled teachersbecomingatemplateorprescriptivemodelforallteacherstofollowregardlessofsubject disciplineorpreferredlearningstylesassociatedwithaparticulartopicorlearningexperience.A summarystatementoftheirpositioninregardstothisstrainofthethemeofdatamanagementis capturedbelow. Educational Performance data deserve intelligent interpretation, indeed sustainable improvementdependsonit.Whenstatisticaldataprovideonesourceofinformationamong many, when educators approach the data in the a spirit of curiosity and enquiry rather than in a climate of panic and fear, and when teachers have the professional discretion to use data to justify trying innovative approaches without anxiety and intimidation, then data can play a powerful role in improving learning and increasing achievement. But data that are misleading or misinterpreted only distract us from this purpose as do data that are misused(p.39).

Hargraves and Shirley (2009) discuss the shortfalls of an over reliance on data and the pitfalls of using data without relating it to other important elements of the teaching and learning process. Teacher judgement based on experience is nominated as a key factor that must be included in any analysis of data. A further danger identified by Hargraves and Shirley is the narrowing of the curriculum and the learning experiences due to the perceived imperative for schools and school communities to achieve in large cohort tests which focus solely on narrow measures of literacy and numeracy. Hargraves and Shirley make a profound argument that is critical to the research question of this paper. Rather than gaming the system, schools in the 21st century need to be places of high moral purposewherelearningispersonalised.Inregardstotheresearchquestionthisparticularemphasis is critical. For study and research in Catholic schools in this region of the Sydney Archdiocese, questions such as these must be at the heart of a dynamic pedagogy. From this deeper understandingofCatholiceducationthisperspectiveneedstobeexploredinrelationtotheresearch questionassuggestedinThemeOne. Fullan, Hill & Crevola discuss using data to drive instruction and observe that many teachers in todays classrooms remain daunted by the degree of assessment data that is available to them. They advocate the creation of student learning profiles to enable teachers to summarise the range of assessment data that is gathered. The student learning profile is the elementary tool in sifting data so as to identify strengths and weaknesses and to determine each students stage of development. As a result it is argued that, Teachers can effectively group their students to tailor the instruction in whole class and small group learning settings. (Fullan, Hill and Crevola 2006, p 71).Thestudentlearningprofileprovidesteacherswiththetypeofinformationanddirectionwhich make personalising of learning less daunting. They promote the building of critical learning

instruction paths which enable the personalisation and precision required to better serve each students learning needs. Central to their argument is the need for data to become a part of the daily professional learning process. The locus of the data dynamic is the classroom, lead by the teacher whose capacity and quality are major influences on the effectiveness of the interpretation and resultant action. They insist that the quality teacher is a learning teacher who is engaged in a constant reflection and renewal of their teaching methods. Transforming information into knowledge through sustained interaction, teachers thus become experts over time but only under theseconditions(p.87). Conclusion. This paper has presented four major themes identified in the literature that are relevant to the research issue. Through the gathering of this information, specific lines of inquiry will be further developedinthecomprehensiveliteraturereview.

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