Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Baseline Data

The target group for my inquiry is my Year 11 Physical Education class. The reason I chose this class is due to student perception that this subject is purely practical and involves no theoretical component. Therefore a lot of practical orientated students opt to take Physical Education due to the hands-on nature they experienced in junior school. Now, the presumption is that practical orientated students have lower literacy levels due to the nature of how they learn. So I wanted to gather some data in regards to literacy levels to see if this was true. The data I could draw on was each student's end of year E-AsTtle reading/writing results from 2016.


After reviewing this snapshot I realised the vast range of abilities in my class. Their literacy levels ranged from 2P to 5B which is 10 sub-levels. Being able to cater for a vast range of abilities is going to be a challenge but also bringing students writing up to speed to be able to achieve at Level 6 of the curriculum. I quickly concluded that there was a problem with writing among my students. There could be numerous reasons for such low literacy levels. The underlying reasons I have hypothesised are:

1. Underlying issues at home- home life/sickness/family issues- forces them to stay at home.
2. Psychological issues and lack of self confidence- because they are so far behind they don’t want to be at school.
3. Lack of support structures in place to help students progress-those with low literacy.
4. Low attendance rates lead to further drops in literacy levels.
5. Low attendance- Students miss out on key content to help with achievement outcomes.
6. Making resources visible and accessible.

Of the reasons that I have hypothesised, I believe that attendance is an issue that is beyond my control. I can follow all the necessary steps to help a student attend regularly but sometimes its beyond my help. What I can control in my class is building students self efficacy in their writing, making resources visible and attempting to put structures in place to help improve literacy levels. One aspect I have identified that is important in writing success, is students self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a persons belief they have in their ability to complete a task. I conducted a survey on my class and asked them how they rated their confidence in practical lessons compared to theory lessons. In this survey I used the term 'confidence' instead of 'self-efficacy because I did not want to confuse my students. If you are a confident in performing a task, you generally have high self-efficacy.

It is clear to see that students have a lot more confidence in practical lessons compared to the theoretical aspects of the course. I believe this is the reason students select Physical Education as an option in the senior school because of the practical component. Students are generally confident in their practical ability and can perform tasks with freedom. However, this confidence displayed in the practical environment of the gymnasiums is not transferred to the classroom. Students rate their confidence levels a lot lower when it comes to performing written tasks in the classroom. I believe this is because of the low self-efficacy they have in their writing. Students believe they lack the ability to complete written tasks. This can stem from previous occasions where they have had negative experiences with writing tasks which adds further doubt in their ability. So in order to increase student's self-efficacy I need to find innovative ways to help lift their self-belief in their ability to write confidently and with freedom.

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