The transition from primary school to high school is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for many students and a key milestone in their learning journey. It’s sure to create a mix of emotions as students contemplate the new learning environment they are about to step into. What will my new school be like? Will I make new friends on my first day? Will I like my teachers? Am I ready?
That last question is one to consider further.
In our recent blog How to spot learning gaps and get your child back on track, we explored the learning gaps that may develop from a variety of factors, including remote learning resulting from extended lockdowns during the COVID pandemic.
Thankfully, these learning gaps can be identified through independent assessments providing insights to help get students back on track with their learning. However, it can take some time to close gaps in skills and knowledge through focused and dedicated strategies. The time required to do this may be feasible for most students, but what about those in their transition years? Specifically, the students transitioning from Year 6 to Year 7.
Year 6 students with learning gaps caused by at home learning may not only have these gaps to address, but also the potential knowledge and skills gaps developed in primary school – all before starting high school next year. That’s not an easy task!
Why does the skills and knowledge gap exist?
According to research by the Centre for Independent Studies, parents of over 40% of students across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria believe their child may have fallen behind while learning at home during the pandemic. This is a reasonable assumption, as students have lacked the consistency and stability of classroom learning for months at a time.
New data from Australian teachers reveals that 73% of the teachers surveyed claim that COVID-19 and remote learning has impacted students’ progress, with over 80% observing negative impacts on learning.
These impacts are heightened for students who have or are transitioning from Year 6 to Year 7. This skills and knowledge gap may be compounded by the different levels of students within a primary school classroom, with teachers unable to cater learning activities to the various levels of progress. This wide gap is especially felt in mathematics due to the hierarchical nature of the subject and the negative impacts of student anxiety associated with the subject.
Adding to the challenge in transitioning from Year 6 to 7, is the difference in the level of difficulty of assigned tasks and the teaching styles for students only a few weeks apart in their education.
The slope to disengagement
It is critical to address these impacts as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of a negative experience for their transition into high school. Why is this so important? Well, data from the Attitudes to School survey (offered by the Victorian Department of Education) highlights that after students begin Year 7:
- Students are consistently less engaged in their schooling
- Absence rates rise
- Student connectedness to school declines
- Declines in academic outcomes
Once students become disengaged with their learning, it becomes more difficult to re-engage with their education and get them back on track. For strategies on how to spot these learning gaps and help your child catch up before they make the transition, read our previous blog on learning gaps.
High school readiness: helping your child prepare
Is your child ready for the transition to high school?
There are several key skills students need as they enter high school education. These skills include the ability to think critically about various types of information, the ability to analyse fictional and non-fictional content, and an understanding of how mathematical formulas are related, applying them to real world scenarios.
If you are unsure of whether you child possesses the fundamental skills for high school, book a High School Readiness Assessment with us today. The assessment will:
- Uncover the areas of proficiency and measure any misconceptions
- Highlight the reasons behind any deficits
- Reveal the untapped potential of a student
- Measure where your child is at academically
After the assessment, you will receive detailed feedback of your child’s results, a comprehensive report outlining strengths, weaknesses and reasons behind any deficits, and a special offer on your enrolment with Global Education Academy.
It’s a key step to help your child start Year 7 on the right foot!