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Educators share successful strategies for literacy and numeracy at Teach Learn Share

Report

Teach Learn Share is a national website helping educators and education systems to share their most effective approaches to literacy and numeracy teaching and learning in Australia. The site (www.teachlearnshare.gov.au) contains reports of successful literacy and numeracy strategies implemented in a diverse range of school settings, and provides links to relevant research in the areas of literacy and numeracy. The strategies were submitted by teachers, schools, academics and education systems.

Each report on the site documents the key features of the strategy being applied, as well as results, lessons learned, and the next steps planned. The reports also document the research methodology underpinning the strategy, and offer links to resources and additional reading. Reports can be downloaded as PDF or Word documents.

While all contributors share the goal of improved student learning outcomes, growth in staff professional learning has been a parallel goal, and for many schools has provided the impetus for sustaining the initiatives recorded on the site.

Experienced literacy and numeracy educators and researchers assess each submission against required Standards of Evidence to establish the effectiveness of the strategies and the validity of the underpinning research. The aim is to provide a solid base of innovative practice for an online community that links people with ideas that provide inspiration for local action. The site currently houses 58 strategies from every State and territory, with more to come.
 

The need to lift literacy and numeracy levels in Australia

Teach Learn Share has been created at a time when the education community is focusing intently on the issue of how to lift the numeracy and literacy levels of Australian students.

The recent ACER report Measure for Measure (Ainley & Gebhardt 2013) identifies an overall decline in student achievement in the period 2000 to 2012. While it found a small improvement in Year 4 mathematics levels since 1994. and a small improvement in Year 3 reading levels from 2008 to 2012, there was a fall in the reading and mathematics levels of Australian 15-year-olds, particularly with regard to high-performing students. The report also noted a growing divergence between the performances of students in disadvantaged and relatively well-resourced schools.

These findings follow an earlier report from the COAG Reform Council, Education 2011: Comparing Performance across Australia, which identified little overall improvement in reading and numeracy between 2008 and 2011, despite improvements in year 3 for reading and in year 5 for numeracy.  (COAG Reform Council 2012)

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-2012 reported recently that more than two-fifths (7.3 million) of Australians aged 15 to 74 have literacy skills below the level needed to function in today's society. (ABS 2013)
 

Some ideas for using the Teach Learn Share site

On the site readers can search for strategies addressing particular areas of interest. The strategies described in the reports reflect the varying needs and capacities of the schools, student and teacher cohorts, as well as the resources available to them. However, each strategy is described in sufficient detail for a school to evaluate how to translate or adapt it to meet their own context. Contact details for key people involved in each strategy are included in the reports.

As well as searching by key word, educators may readily identify the material most relevant to their needs through the multiple options for filtering searches. Reports relating to numeracy can be searched under the topics of

  • calculating and estimating
  • recognising and using patterns and relationships
  • using fractions, decimals, percentages, ratio and rates
  • using spatial reasoning
  • using measurement
  • understanding number.

 Reports on literacy are searchable under the topic headings of

  • comprehending texts through listening, reading and viewing
  • composing texts through speaking, writing and creating
  • text knowledge
  • grammar knowledge
  • word knowledge
  • visual knowledge
  • phonemic awareness
  • oral language
  • spelling.

Searches may be limited by the target audience (educators, students or parents). Other filters include year level, state or territory, and school sector. A precise set of geographic descriptors allow searches to be limited to reports about metropolitan, regional, rural, remote or very remote areas. In demographic terms educators can limit searches to indigenous students, ESL students, low ESL students, students with disability, students at or below the National Minimum Standard, and gifted and talented students. The value of these finely differentiated filters will increase as the database grows.

The list of search results displays the title of the report and the introductory lines of a summary that accompanies each report.
 

The Smarter Schools National Partnership for Literacy and Numeracy  

The Teach Learn Share site was established in 2011 as part of the Australian Government’s Smarter Schools Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership. The Partnership (2008–12) contributed to achieving the National Education Agreement (NEA) objective that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy. It supported metropolitan, rural and remote schools across states and systems in implementing and monitoring many of the research-based strategies subsequently recorded on the Teach Learn Share site.

Further information is available from teachlearnshare@esa.edu.au, or contact the site's help desk on 1800 076 331. 


References

Ainley & Gebhardt, Measure for Measure: a Review of Outcomes of School Education in Australia. ACER 2013  

Australian Bureau of Statistics Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-2012 This page last updated 26 March 2013

COAG Reform Council, Education 2011: Comparing Performance across Australia, 2002.

KLA

Subject Headings

Literacy
Numeracy
Teaching and learning
Educational evaluation
Curriculum planning