Establishing an Inquiry Focus - Who are my learners?

 In my last blog post, I chose reading as the subject of my inquiry focus. This was the obvious choice due to trends in our overall cluster data, reading data for years 7-10 and our school wide reading data. 

I began to consider the aspects of my previous inquiries that I wanted to build upon, particularly my learning from 2020. I have also begun to draw upon the inquiries of my colleagues;  I have began going over past MIT projects and CoL inquiries to identify similar foci. So far I have been looking at the work of Amy Tofa, Angela Moala and Dot Apelu who have had similar inquiries to mine in the past. 

While I have chosen a focus on reading based on the cluster and school wide data, it is now time to consider this focus in the context of my classroom. What change am I hoping to see in student learning?

As I previously discussed, both cluster and school wide data illustrate students becoming 'stuck' around the reading ages of 8-9.5. As such, I will start with a target group who are at this level, although ideally I will use an intervention with the majority of the class. 

My target group:

B1 is a year 8 boy reading at 9 years. He has had a few years of low PAT test results (stanine 2 or 3) and has made minimal progress. He does have a positive attitude towards reading and enjoys sharing his ideas about a text with others. In his recent PAT test he scored a stanine 5, it would be interesting to conduct further tests to see if this was an unreliable result.

G1 is a year 7 girl reading at 9 years. English is her second language and she finds vocabulary questions particularly challenging. She has not made accelerated progress in the last couple of years, which has caused her to remain behind. She achieved stanine 3 on her latest PAT reading test.

G2 is a year 7 girl reading at 9.5 years. She has strong oral language skills and enjoys discussing her ideas about a text. However, she has also made slow progress in the last couple of years, causing her to continue to read below the expected level. While she has good decoding skills she reads slowly and takes a while to consider the answers to comprehension questions. She achieved stanine 3 on her latest PAT reading test.

B2 is a year 7 boy reading at 9 years. Like the others, he has made slow progress in the last couple of years. He is an extremely reluctant reader with low confidence. He is able to decode but struggles with comprehension. He achieved stanine 3 on his latest PAT reading test.

G3 is a year 8 girl reading at 9 years. She enjoys reading but has made slow progress over the last couple of years, getting 'stuck' at this level. She is eager to share her ideas and has a positive attitude toward her school work and confidence in her ability. She achieved a stanine 1 in her latest PAT test.

B3 is a year 7 boy reading at 9.5. He is very similar to B2 - he is a reluctant reader who has very low self confidence. He struggles to unpack new vocabulary but decodes well. He achieved a stanine 4 on his latest PAT reading test.

From what I already know about my target group, it is important that my intervention be engaging while accelerating their progress quickly. These students all need to make significant progress to get back on track. As getting 'stuck' at this reading level is a cluster-wide finding, an effective inquiry that makes significant shift with these students would be helpful to many of my colleagues. 


  1. Hi Danni, it would be interesting to see your profiling of your target learners to see what has been happening for them during their time at school. Also a good start to have a chat with your target learners (you might done so already) to find out their student voice about reading, topics of interest, challenges they find about reading...

    Are the students in mixed ability groupings? How many group discussion times do you plan to have with your target learners each week and how long are these group discussions? How are they in other subject areas? Just some questions to think about.

    I am looking forward to following your inquiry. He waka eke noa.


    1. Kia ora Amy,

      I love the questions you have brought up - no wonder why I enjoy following your inquiries! I think collecting student voice is a fantastic next step for me.


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