Dungowan Public School’s NAPLAN Success Reflects ‘benefits of small schools’ in Educational Results

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Dungowan Public School’s staff and students believe that tiny schools can achieve academic achievement through specialized teaching styles. According to a rural education researcher, small country schools significantly benefit kids from underprivileged communities. NAPLAN testing begins across the country on March 13.Orlaigh McLoughney, a year 5 student at Dungowan Public School in northern NSW, is confident about her NAPLAN test next week.

Orlaigh is one of eight pupils participating in year 3 and 5 assessments at a school with only 31 students, which is comparable to larger classrooms.
She stated that with so few students, she received enough of assistance from her teacher.

“I feel like I know more, and I’m not as worried as I was at the start of the year,” she told me.
According to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Dungowan Public School outperformed the Australian average in year 5 writing, spelling, and numeracy in 2023.
While the school did not satisfy ACARA’s 11-participant criteria for full comparison data, principal Kerri-Anne Hubble stated that the statistics demonstrated the value of smaller schools in targeting individual student needs.
“I don’t believe we missed out. “All of our students have laptops, and we have fairly reliable [internet] service,” she said.

“Our students essentially receive one-on-one [teaching], and we can guide them through the NAPLAN process in an easy environment, sitting in their own classroom, where they feel at ease and can do their best.”

Phillip Roberts, a rural education researcher, stated that small country schools made a significant difference for pupils in disadvantaged communities. Dr. Roberts is an associate professor of curricular inquiry and rural education at the University of Canberra. He explained that, while NAPLAN data often showed regional and rural schools to be around a year behind metropolitan schools, the difference was attributable to the fact that many non-metro pupils were starting school on the wrong foot academically.

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