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Initial results positive for Literacy Programme

Initial results positive for Literacy Programme

West Coast primary school students’ achievement in literacy is equal to any in New Zealand, according to the first round of data gathered by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland.

The research, undertaken as part of The West Coast Development Trust’s Literacy Programme, shows that West Coast primary schools are generally performing well in literacy and their students are meeting their educational milestones.

President of the West Coast Principal’s Association, Matthew Bateman, is delighted with the results. “This research validates the fact that West Coast schools are doing an excellent job. It also gives us a benchmark for future improvement - we can use this information to build on what we’ve already achieved.”

Developed in conjunction with the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland, the Literacy Programme received a $1.73m grant from The Development Trust to help boost the reading and writing skills of West Coast children.
The programme is led by Professor Stuart McNaughton and will be implemented over the next three years, targeting children from Year 1 through to Year 8 as well as children at early childhood centres.

Around 1800 students from 33 primary schools throughout the region were involved in the first stage of this research. It focussed on language and literacy levels on entry to school, achievement after one year at school, and reading comprehension at Years 5 – 8.

Overall, the literacy achievement levels on the West Coast in all the focus areas approximate those across the country in every year level. While there are some differences between girls’ and boys’ achievement, and between Mâori and other students, on average these different groups achieve the expected targets for their year level.

There are, however, pockets of lower achievement that need to be addressed as well as significant differences between children in their language and literacy knowledge on entry to school. Given these results, the focus of the Literacy Programme will be on how to improve teaching and learning in specific areas of reading comprehension in the middle school years, and reading and writing in the first year; and how to enhance the transition between early childhood education and Year 1 teaching.

Michael Trousselot, chief executive of The Development Trust, is very encouraged by the findings from the first stage of the Programme. “The overall results suggest that a strong platform already exists in our schools for building on literacy levels. Our next challenge is how to get into the top quartile of performers in New Zealand. I have no doubt that with our fine teachers, our ‘can do’ attitude and with the expert guidance of Education West Coast and the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, we’re on course to achieve this.”


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