This year has proven to be anything but a normal one when it comes to learning.
Students have transitioned between school and home-based learning, NAPLAN has been cancelled and the threat of further disruption to learning remains in NSW.
During all of this uncertainty, students at The Illawarra Grammar School (TIGS) have benefitted from a redesigned approach to personalised learning.
This new approach has been led by TIGS' Head of Junior School, Geneva Clayton, who has "a big passion for using data to inform decisions".
New reading and spelling programmes have been introduced, ability-grouped literacy and mathematics classes formed and a new assessment tool is tracking individual academic progress.
An optional Kindergarten screening tool has also been introduced which helps assess school-readiness and begins the process towards individualised learning.
"We want to ensure that learning is incredibly intentional and targeted, with each child understood and a programme designed specifically for them," Ms Clayton said.
"With the absence of NAPLAN this year, our innovative MAP assessment tool lets us see how students have grown and map out their next steps. It allows teachers to continually monitor each student's learning needs and progress.
"Targeted instruction is provided to address skill gaps and we have students who have mastered concepts working up to two-years above their grade level."
She added the innovative changes introduced at the West Wollongong independent school were in line with priorities identified in the Gonski 2.0 report including differentiated learning which offers students personalised pathways to ensure maximum learning growth every year.
The NWEA MAP Programme is a suite of assessments and tools to accurately identify areas of opportunity and growth for students' academic development.
The MAP suite provides timely insights to educators, based on extensive research, to measure how much students have grown, what they're ready to learn and the skill gaps they need to master.
"The tool was designed by teachers for teachers," Ms Clayton said.
"It is an incredible tool. It is a tool that allows our staff to better understand the students but also to really drill into the content itself and have a better understanding of what needs to be included in their program to target that learning for students.
"I feel we are ahead of the game.......and it is not just the tool, it is about what happens after that."
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