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Teaching literacy skills to students

Teaching literacy skills to students

ACER news 4 minute read

Professional development can help teachers better support students in developing literacy skills. In this article, we share a model of assessment-informed professional development used in one of our IBT schools in India.

Language is central to learning. It is essential for communicating and for learning other subjects. For instance, poor reading skills will hinder students from reading and comprehending textbooks for other subjects, affecting their ability to learn those subjects.

Students need support in reading comprehension  

Reading comprehension remains an area of concern for students in India. This is visible in the data from ACER’s International Benchmark Tests (IBT), a competency-based assessment of student learning progress in English, mathematics, and science.

In IBT, Indian students perform better at grammar, punctuation, and spelling compared with their global peers but perform below them in reading comprehension and vocabulary. This suggests additional attention should be directed at improving reading comprehension skills.

Teacher professional development

As part of IBT, ACER India provides support to teachers to address learning gaps in key areas of a subject highlighted by the assessment. Students’ performance at each school is studied thoroughly to identify specific learning gaps. Further, teachers are guided after each round of IBT to identify the gaps, so they can become more adept at doing so themselves.

However, to support student learning, it is insufficient to only identify the gaps; they need to be addressed appropriately in the teaching-learning process. A model of round-the-year engagement with school leaders and teachers through professional development workshops and focus group discussions enables a school to support students’ learning needs in reading comprehension.

A recent intervention

This model is operating at the Golden Jubilee School in Jalna, Maharashtra, with one of the modules, ‘Developing learners’ language skills and abilities’, delivered recently.

The workshop focused on strategies to integrate language elements such as reading comprehension, vocabulary, and punctuation into classroom practices, and enhance the understanding and application of these skills. Emphasis was placed on ensuring participants were involved in hands-on activities that could be taken to the classroom. Each activity included a debrief on how the activity could be implemented in the classroom.

The module was also customised to the school’s needs, based on IBT performance discussions, and was effective, as reflected in the teachers’ feedback.

To learn how ACER can support you with teacher professional development or the International Benchmark Tests, please contact:

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