WARRACKNABEAL Secondary College is using a new grading system to improve student learning.
The college marks its year eight students’ tests and assignments based on their improvement – ‘effect size’ – rather than giving a percentage mark.
Principal Tony Fowler said the new system had increased student motivation.
“The effect size takes into account where the students start and finish,” he said.
“The students who had been scoring around the 50 per cent mark are the ones who are leading the class in their personal growth – it builds the students’ motivation.
“This is about building the foundation skills in a lot of cases.”
Mr Fowler said the college was also assessing students more often.
He said increasing assessments had led to above-average improvements in National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy results.
“Traditionally what has happened in schools is that we get to the end of a unit and then we assess the students,” he said.
“What we are trying to do is assess much more regularly – even daily – and use that assessment to determine whether the students understand the concepts they’re learning.
“For the first time in history, we have no year seven students in maths under the national benchmark, which is tremendous.
“We are quite chuffed with our results this year – we certainly have room to move and improve but we are pleased with our growth.”
The college will increase year nine students’ English classes from 200 to 250 minutes a week next year.
“At the moment we have an imbalance because we have 200 minutes of English a week and 250 minutes of mathematics,” Mr Fowler said.
“We are just balancing that next year so that the students are getting equal amounts of literacy and numeracy.”