WHILE schools took stock of their NAPLAN results this week, St Mary's Catholic Primary School had extra cause to celebrate its reading and numeracy scores.
Principal Kerrie Basha received a letter from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, which publishes NAPLAN results on the My School website on behalf of the federal government, saying the school had demonstrated "substantially above average gain" across the two areas in 2018.
NAPLAN tests students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy.
Year 3 improved on 2012 numeracy levels by 11 per cent, while year five students improved by 7 per cent.
Year 5 also rated higher or substantially higher than the national average across all five tested areas, compared to 2012, when writing was the only above average area.
The school was also measured against other schools with similar students and based on what its students scored in year 5 compared to year 3.
Mrs Basha said NAPLAN was only one measurement and the school did not teach to the exams, but it was welcome confirmation the school was on the right track.
"In year five in numeracy, we were substantially above average in the top three bands and in year 3 we were above average as well," she said.
"A few years ago we put in a whole-school-based program for mathematics that ensured we were all using the same language and skills base, which was built upon stage by stage."
She said one of the school's teachers attended a mathematics course at the Queensland Education Leadership Institute where she returned with extra ideas the school had been able to implement.
While electronic devices might compete with books for students' free time, Mrs Basha said the school conducted boot camps for both students and parents on appropriate usage, the library was located in the middle of the school for a reason and teachers led by example.
"Sometimes the reading is online because that is a way of learning, but it hasn't got that romance that comes from holding a book and learning how to care for a book," she said.
Mrs Basha said staff kept their own data to monitor student learning and they would continue to try and build on last year's results.
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