For John Culley, the principal of Frankston’s Mahogany Rise Primary School in Victoria, the AEDC has set a critical benchmark to measure improvement.
Results across all domains improved dramatically between the first and second round of data collection, particularly in the domain of language and cognitive skills.
Nine years ago, John became the principal of a small school in a low socio-economic area. While his position has presented challenges, it has also been rewarding.
“Data really helps us track our progress at Mahogany Rise Primary School,” John says. “The AEDC data in particular forms a critical part of understanding where we fit against local, state and national measurements.
“It allows us to work with local early learning centres and make interventions earlier. We’ve been able to plan and think through how we can make some positive changes that will have the biggest impact on students coming into the school.”
The school introduced an Oral Language programme, which is currently running at both the local early learning centres and within the school. This has meant that student development can be tracked as they transition through to the start of school.
To other teachers and principals, he stresses the importance of a national instrument that provides a rich source of information. “The AEDC gives us a very valid database for future early childhood education planning,” John says.
“It can highlight excellent work that is being done as we see improvement following each census - it’s a really good thing to celebrate. The AEDC also motivates us to see what else we need to be doing.”
John is hopeful this year’s census will continue to show positive change. “For our teaching staff and the early learning centres, it would be a reward for all the hard work.” John says.
“Evidence provided by more holistic assessments like the AEDC gives you hope that you can bring significant change to student wellbeing.”