Using the Literacy Continuum in a STEM class

During our current Professional Learning Focus my school Parramatta Marist is looking at how we can use the Literacy Continuum to formatively assess where students are at and inform teacher practices for future teaching and learning. It is anticipated that this will provide staff with a common language in terms ‘what literacy looks like’ and make our collection of student data more relevant to everyday practices.

What is the Literacy Continuum?

The Literacy continuum K–10 identifies the literacy skills and understandings regarded as critical to literacy success. It assists teachers to map student skills sets through years of schooling by identifying the key markers expected by a student in that year cluster. Furthermore, the continuum captures and connects the key aspects critical to literacy success across all key learning areas.

Below is a snapshot of the 7-10 Literacy Continuum and also our targeted area of aspects of writing.


Literacy Continuum Snapshot

Aspects of Writing

How might it benefit your students?

The fact this will be a school-wide focus will ensure that all students will be impacted by the professional learning undertaken by teachers. Furthermore, it will provide teachers who are not familiar with literacy domains with a strong foundation to impact on student learning.

It will also allow teachers to take ownership of their assigned classes and populate our data wall. Because the continuum focuses on assessment for learning can revisit their classes throughout the year and move students along the continuum.

Parramatta Marist Data Wall

What are the potential challenges?

The potential challenges involves communicating to teachers a common understanding of how the continuum is interpreted. Also, ensuring that teachers revisit the continuum throughout the year to inform practice and not just during term 1.

Below is a snap shot of our school admin system which has an interactive continuum built into student data.  We will collect and synthesis this data over time to target student and teacher practices. This is also a potential challenge because you will need the data to be current in order to make appropriate judgements.

Student Record with Literacy Continuum Markers

What do you plan to do with classes?

My plan for the use of this literacy continuum is to target my year 9 STEM class. At present students are working on an Engineering Fundamentals unit and a research report looking at the history of engineered devices would be appropriate.

Students from my class last year commented that like to be challenged as shown by the video diary entry below:


Therefore, I would like my research task to target the following aspects:

  • Use of problematic knowledge
  • Incorporate coherent structure
  • Use a sophisticated vocabulary of engineering related words.
  • Appropriate use of referencing.

Finally, I will share my student scripts with my Professional Learning Team and have conversations on student learning to hopefully help improve my teaching of literacy aspects and learning that takes place in my classroom.

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