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Nina De Rosa (ABC News/Patrick Bell)

Catholic schools in Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese say strong NAPLAN results recorded this year are due, in part, to a newly adopted teaching approach. Source: ABC News.

St John Vianney’s Primary School in Waramanga uses the Catalyst program as a teaching method — incorporating direct instruction and an emphasis on regular review.

“The more practice and the more they verbalise information, the easier it is for them to be able to pull it back at different times and apply it to different situations,” teacher Leah Malpas said.

“Learning is reviewed regularly, the kids are having a refresh of the concepts, and are able to draw on the information and the concepts a lot more [easily].

“The kids have a clear idea of what we are studying and there’s no room for confusion.”

The school is among those operating within Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn, which transitioned to the Catalyst teaching approach about four years ago.

The change was spearheaded by Catholic Education Canberra-Goulburn director Ross Fox, who said he came to the view that traditional teaching methods were not working.

St John Vianney’s assistant principal Nina De Rosa said the new model had made a “great difference” and the results could be seen in the school’s NAPLAN scores.

Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sit the national NAPLAN test, which focuses on critical foundational skills and allows comparisons between schools.

This year, ACT students across the board outperformed their peers in the other jurisdictions in almost all assessment categories.

NAPLAN has also been revamped, and under the new approach, students were assessed against four levels of proficiency based on previous years of schooling: “exceeding”, “strong”, “developing” and “needs additional support”. 


Canberra’s Catholic schools celebrate strong NAPLAN scores as ACT students perform better than national average (By Niki Burnside, ABC News)


Catholic schools show way as new ‘explicit teaching’ approach reaps NAPLAN rewards (RiotACT)