Home' Teacher : May 2010 Contents 26 TEACHER MAY 2010
Using the PAT Reading and PAT Maths
assessments gives us current, whole-
cohort data about our students' levels of
achievement in a range of specific areas.
This information assists classroom teach-
ers with planning learning activities and
teaching lessons that meet individual stu-
dent's learning needs.
Early in the school year, it sheds light
on what students can already do well and
where there maybe misconceptions in their
levels of understanding. In addition, it pro-
vides teachers with a snapshot of the range
of levels of ability within their classes.
The graphical information becomes a
vehicle for collaborative work with col-
leagues in terms of how best to provide
differentiated curriculum to meet the
needs of all learners.
We approach the testing program as
assessment for learning with a view to
using the information derived from it most
constructively and in a timely sense. T
Andrea Dart is Head of Curriculum
at Overnewton Anglic an Community
College in Melbourne.
Haileybury is a school that strives for aca-
demic excellence. To achieve this as edu-
cators, it's imperative that we understand
the learning needs of each individual.
The PATs in the areas of mathematics,
reading and spelling provide a clear pictu re
of a student's capability. This information
then allows our teaching staff to ensure
their academic programs address individ-
uallearning needs. Where appropriate, this
information can also become the basis of
discussion with parents who, in partner-
ship with our educators, can address the
learning needs of individual students.
The tests also allow us to track the stu-
dents' academic growth from year to year.
We're able to compare their standardised
scores to give us a picture of their progress.
By looking at class and year-level data we
can also gain a picture of the progress of
these cohorts. In particular, this can facili-
tate discussions with teachers around the
progress of students or classes.
Victoria Hazell is Assistant Dean of
Studies at Haileybury College, an inde-
pendent school in Melbourne.
TO ADDRESS THE LEARNING NEEDS OF EACH STUDENT, YOU NEED TO
TAKE A SNAPSHOT OF THE RANGE OF LEVELS OF ABILITY WITHIN YOUR
CLASS OR CLASSES. ANDREA DART AND VICTORIA HAZELL EXPLAIN.
to provide im mediate and timely infor-
mation to teachers about the current
level of achievement attained by their
students in a particular curriculum area
to monitor student learning over time, and
to allow for comparisons of student
achievement with other students and
with expected or average performance
of students across Australia.
At the core of these tests are measurement
'scales.' The scale is the device that allows
the developers of the tests to describe a path-
wayofachievement in a particular area ofthe
curriculum -- maths, reading comprehension,
vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, sci-
ence, and so on. The test itself is the objective
instrument which teachers use to assess their
students' achievement at that point in time.
Just like NAPLAN, where there's one
sc ale for maths but different test for m s for
whole suite oftestforms that canbe usedat
different year levels and with the same year
level for pre-testing and post-testing. This
allows teachers and schools to use the tests
as a way of monitoring student achieve-
ment in a variety of ways and for a variety
of purposes at the individual, class and
whole-school level. It also allows teachers
to monitor individual progress across the
years of school.
For example, teachers can use the tests to
gauge the achievement levels of individual
students in their class to provide a basis for
targeted and differentiated teaching and
learning strategies. At a class, year or whole-
school level, the tests can be usedto identify
areas of school strength and weakness or to
monitor the effects of school-wide strategies
for improving literacy and numeracy.
Future developments for PAT
A major new development for the PAT series
is the online rollout planned for 2010. PAT
Maths is now available in a no-fuss elec-
tronic format through the iAchieve online
testing platform. For the first time schools
will be able to use a directly comparable
online assessment as an alternative or sup-
plement to PAT paper-and-pen testing.
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