Tutor Learning Initiative lifts the numbers at Emerald Primary School

Targeted support helps lift numeracy learning outcomes for students.

Emerald Primary School in Melbourne's south-east is one of many Victorian schools focusing on lifting student engagement and performance in mathematics this year.

Lifting numeracy outcomes is a key improvement strategy for 2022 Annual Implementation Plans, and schools are using the Tutor Learning Initiative to support student learning growth.

Principal Emma Clark said Emerald Primary School used end-of-year report data, online assessment tools and school-designed numeracy skill tests to identify students who needed extra support.

The students from across grades 1 to 6 now have 3 focused sessions with tutors each week and sit regular 'mini tests' to track their progress against individual learning plans. The third session is a whole grade level targeted support class, where students are grouped according to their needs.

Tutor Tara Porter said it was heartening to see the difference the program is making, with students mastering skills and making progress where they previously struggled.

'There has been a huge mindset shift; their confidence and the ability to give problems a go instead of dissolving into tears were big wins,' Tara said.

'A lot of the program is about wellbeing, with the kids having small wins in a safe group and seeing that confidence flow back into the classroom.'

Louise Boocock, one of the Tutor Teachers for 2022, said the program had been so popular, they still have students asking if they can join.

'The kids love to celebrate with us and share how happy they are with their learning,' Tara said.

'I had a grade 6 girl come up to me recently and say: "So, it turns out, I am smart!".'

Engaging with teachers, parents and carers to get the best outcomes

Emma attributes their success to a strong professional learning community approach, where teachers and tutors share ideas and collaborate in weekly meetings.

Each week, the group discusses improvements they can make to the program and how to link tutoring activities to what is happening in the classroom.

'Sharing practice has also allowed us to upskill other staff with techniques to help students who may be struggling,' Emma said. 'It has kept things dynamic and moving.'

Assistant Principal Carice D'Rozario explained that with the help of take-home tutor packs, the school has also kept parents and carers in the loop. The pack includes:

  • an introductory letter about the program
  • information on their child's focus area and goals
  • a learning plan
  • work sheets
  • ideas for games they could play to practise skills and support their children.

Advice on how to focus on numeracy in TLI programs

Tara shared advice for other schools on how to get the best out of the program.

'Get specific, don't try to do everything, focus on an essential skill they have a gap in,' Tara said.

Louise added, 'Make improvement achievable and measurable, so the kids have little successes that can lead to more success later.'

Professional learning webinars

Tutors, school leaders, and teachers are invited to attend professional development webinars or access recordings as outlined on the TLI webinar calendar (education login in required).

In preparation for an upcoming webinar from Sarah Buckley, Senior Research Fellow, ACER and Dr Catherine Pearn, Senior Lecturer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, you can access recordings of their previous sessions on Maths Anxiety and Fractions and Assessment.

Previous session recordings

Register for Maths Anxiety – Session 3

Join Sarah and Catherine for this third session, which will give tutors and teachers the chance to reflect on their progress in working with students.

Date: Wednesday 4 May 2022
Time: 3:45 pm
Platform: online (Webex)
Cost: free.

Register on Arc on the Maths Anxiety – Session 3 webinar page.  

All professional learning webinars from 2021 and 2022 have been recorded and are available for tutors to access on the TLI Arc Channel.

Find out more 

For more information, refer to Tutor Learning Initiative Professional Learning and the Tutor Learning Initiative Hub (Education log in required) on Arc. Note: The TLI Hub does not display well on Internet Explorer.

For further enquiries or technical support for the TLI Hub, email: tutor@education.vic.gov.au