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Each school was able to identify the key findings for their school and community context which then, in turn, fed into six key overall cluster findings:

  1. Belief System (Hebersham PS)
  2. Dynamic Inter Connectedness of Learning-Identity-Culture (Blackett PS)
  3. Culturally responsive/integrated pedagogy- planned units of learning (Hebersham PS)
  4. Comprehensive Data Analysis, Representation, Reporting and Linking to Learning (Doonside PS)
  5. Language, Numeracy and Learning (Doonside PS)
  6. Professional dialogue and shared experiences across different contexts- impact on professional learning (Hebersham PS, Doonside PS, Blackett PS)

Strikingly, for both Hebersham PS and Doonside PS there has been an evident progress in Aboriginal numeracy learning outcomes as identified in the high stakes assessment of Year 3 students through 2010-2012 NAPLAN trend data.

How do we know?

From 2010 to 2012 the cluster has structured and recorded teacher-student-community successes around the following three categories.

  1. Objectivity- evidence based

    The collection of NAPLAN Numeracy data for Year 3 Aboriginal students provided trend data that was investigated from 2009-2012. Best Start data for Aboriginal Kindergarten students was collated at the beginning and end of each year to identify progress and growth in student numeracy outcomes.

  2. Subjectivity - teacher wisdom, anecdotal experiences, student engagement

    This involved a number of research tools. A teacher survey focussing on three areas- mathematics pedagogy, understanding of Aboriginal students and the teaching of mathematics with Aboriginal students was administered in 2010 and 2012. Anecdotal experiences and notes were recorded by all staff involved in the project. Through observation, interviews and digital recordings, teacher development, student engagement and community participation was tracked and documented throughout the learning journey. Each school principal played an important part in supporting and promoting the project with their school community.

  3. Community – acceptance and engagement

    This is shown through the actions of community members involved in each school. Aboriginal Elders now have a greater presence in curriculum development and implementation within the schools. Members of the Aboriginal community are more actively engaged in their school and the learning of their children. Aboriginal parents feel more valued in the schools as evidenced by their ongoing participation and engagement.

Where to from here? How do we keep on knowing and growing?

Each school has put practices in place to enhance the mathematics learning of Aboriginal students. These are now ingrained into school culture and programs. They will continue to develop and strengthen. The Professional Learning Community that has formed amongst the Aboriginal Educators and teaching staff from the individual schools and cluster group continues to be foundational in evolving the collective knowledge of “good practices” to enhance Aboriginal students learning in mathematics specifically and across all subjects in general.