August 2023

Principals and teachers throughout Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn are delighted in the 2023 NAPLAN results achieved, which are testament to high impact teaching practice implemented through the Catalyst program, which was launched in October 2020.

Notably, Year 3 and 5 students at CECG schools as a whole outperformed the national averages in both Reading and Numeracy. These results show the Systems progress towards achieving one of the Catalyst approach’s bold goals of “every student a competent reader”.

Catholic Education Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn Director, Ross Fox, attributes the results to high quality classroom instruction. “If we get that right, 90 to 95 per cent of students should reliably progress. And for those students who may still need further help and support, the program places high priority on early intervention.”

Mr Fox said that the results were being quantified to provide an evidence base on the new approach, supporting research already undertaken by the Snow Foundation, early in 2023, which showed improvement in performance against expectations in reading.

Sts Peter and Paul Primary, Garran, has seen a significant improvement in their NAPLAN results, credited to the implementation of a Science of Learning based teaching approach. This year’s NAPLAN results have shown the efficacy of the explicit method, Principal Cameron Johns told the Canberra Times.

“The results are very pleasing and it’s certainly an indication of the great work that the system has put into schools,”

“I do think it’s evidence that it’s working,” he said.

Meanwhile, at St Vincent’s Primary School in Aranda, NAPLAN results across reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy were higher than the ACT, NSW and national averages. In Year 3, 41 percent of students excelled in reading and 52 percent were rated as strong readers.

Acting principal Monique Egan reads with year 3/5 students, Mila, Liz, Ryan and Bjanuka at St Vincent’s Primary School in Canberra. Picture: Martin Ollman. Image credit: The Australian

In an interview with The Australian, Acting Principal, Monique Egan, said “We believe our strong performance is a result of the change in pedagogy we have undergone in recent years. We set very high expectations and we revisit the same idea over and over again and do multiple checks for understanding with students’ understanding every lesson.”

In addition, the explicit teaching methods have not just delivered higher academic standards, but also has led to happier and more engaged students, “and when you have more focused kids, you get more learning done.”

Ms Egan has a Masters in Cognitive Science and is delighted to see the ‘brain science’ underpinning the Catalyst framework delivering impact in the classroom.

St John Vianney’s Primary School in Waramanga was featured in an ABC news article celebrating the strong NAPLAN scores for Canberra Catholic Schools. Assistant Principal, Nina De Rosa, expressed her excitement at the “great difference” the Catalyst teaching approach has made, saying,

“I think our results still shine because our children are happy to learn and they’re achieving at their level”


Featured news articles

NAPLAN 2023 results proves science of reading, explicit teaching works, St Peter and Paul Primary School principal Cameron Johns says, The Canberra Times
Read online (subscription required)

$662bn debacle: one in three kids fails NAPLAN literacy, numeracy, The Australia
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Canberra’s Catholic schools celebrate strong NAPLAN scores as ACT students perform better than national average, ABC News
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Catholic schools show way as new ‘explicit teaching’ approach reaps NAPLAN rewards, Riotact
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