Thursday, 21 Nov 2019

The next step in the Progressive Achievement (PAT) approach: linking data with practice

Which were the PAT Teaching Resource Centre's most downloaded tools in 2019? We share them here with you – completely free.

You've administered your PAT assessments and explored the results, and a detailed picture of the learning needs of students in your classroom is beginning to emerge. What now? The next step in ACER's Progressive Achievement (PAT) approach is to link assessment data with teaching practice. In other words, what do your students need – and how can you help them on their learning journey?

The PAT Teaching Resources Centre is a treasure trove of lesson plans, teaching activities, and annotated questions mapped to the Australian Curriculum, making it easy for you to identify specific resources to help each individual student demonstrate progress.

To demonstrate the power of PAT to improve learning, we're sharing with you the most popular resources downloaded by teachers in 2019. Enjoy!

And the winner is:

This maths concept builder, 'Newman's error analysis', was our most frequently used resource, and with good reason; despite its classification as a maths tool, it has broader applications across subjects as a way of working out where students may be going wrong in the process of answering questions.

Problem solving is one of the four proficiencies in the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and increasingly recognised as a key 21st century skill crucial for the workplace of the future, but it is notoriously difficult to build this skill in the artificial environment of the classroom. Newman's work showed that about 50 per cent of incorrect answers are down to a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem – and that’s before the student even gets to the ‘maths’ in the problem. Her error analysis gives teachers a structured, proven method of unpacking what students are thinking, and of identifying where they’re going wrong.

It’s perhaps not surprising to see this resource topping our ‘most popular’ list; it’s an old favourite that experienced educators might enjoy revisiting, but it also appeals to early career teachers keen to try something they may have heard or read about elsewhere.

Our silver medallist:

The 'Identifying which operation to use in a word problem' concept builder was our second most downloaded resource. Maths word problems are a powerful way to build a student's confidence with mathematics and this exercise uses flashcards to explore synonyms and antonyms of the four maths symbols (+, –, x, ÷) through methodical analysis and class discussion. This popular resource can be modified to suit lower grade levels, too.

Taking bronze:

The reading teaching activity 'Using different words - extension' is designed to teach students to use different words to say the same thing - or to reword information by replacing key words with synonyms. (See what we did there?) We know that educators find practical teaching activities like this extremely useful in a classroom setting, but why did this particular resource do so well? Our assessment developers say it covers a key concept while the extension adds an extra dimension to the discussion; that is, working as groups to find sentences that mean almost – but not quite – the same as the original and sorting them accordingly.

Runners up:

In fourth and fifth place respectively, more reading teaching activities: 'Summarising key ideas – extension' and 'Expressing similar meanings'. As their names suggest, they guide teachers in helping students learn the skill of identifying a text's meaning and paraphrasing in as few words as possible, and using different words. They're close in theme to our second place taker, despite relating to a different domain – a reflection, our researchers say, of the relevance of these core skills across subjects.

Honourable mention:

Our professional support videos on how to improve reading comprehension were accessed heavily in 2019, indicating that time-poor teachers enjoy a short, sharp 'how to' video as much as anyone. Part six discusses the importance of vocabulary, and gives a good insight into what you can expect from the series.


Like what you see? Why not try the PAT Teaching Resources Centre completely free for 30 days? (Available to schools that have not previously trialled the PAT Teaching Resources Centre.)

Find out more.