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Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(2), 485-501.
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Working above standard in literacy and numeracy in primary school

Noella M. Mackenzie, Lena Danaia, Amy MacDonald and Debra Ann Metcalf
Charles Sturt University, Australia

Despite an historical recognition that research is lacking on the occurrence of school students' academic regression after a period of over-achievement, there continues to be little research conducted into the phenomenon. In particular, there is little research that examines the phenomenon from the perspective of students. The Working Above Standard Project (WASP) explored what was happening for students at a rural Victorian primary school who were, at the time of the study or at some stage in their primary schooling, identified as "working above standard" (WAS) in literacy and/or numeracy. This mixed method study was initiated by the school, and two staff members formed a research team with three university researchers for 12 months in 2017. Phase 1 involved the identification of students who had at some stage been identified as WAS in literacy or numeracy using analyses of data that the school had collected for student monitoring purposes. Analysis of student data led to the identification of twenty students in year 6 as meeting the WAS definition, and these students were invited to participate in a qualitative online survey. Three factors were found to be important to the students in the WASP: social interaction and friendships; teachers; and having a sense of belonging to the school through art, drama and sport.
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Authors: Dr Noella M. Mackenzie is an Associate Professor in Literacy Studies, School of Education, Charles Sturt University, Albury NSW. Her research focuses on literacy teaching and learning and in particular writing acquisition. Noella's research is driven by her passion for literacy education and equity.
Email: nmackenzie@csu.edu.au

Dr Lena Danaia is an Associate Professor in Science Education, and Sub-Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Arts and Education, School of Teacher Education, at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst NSW. Lena is an experienced mixed methods researcher who investigates students' and teachers' experiences in STEM education.
Email: ldanaia@csu.edu.au

Dr Amy MacDonald is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Mathematics Education, School of Education at Charles Sturt University, Albury NSW. She is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award research fellow for 2018-2020. Amy's research focuses on the mathematics, and STEM, experiences and education of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and primary school children.
Email: amacdonald@csu.edu.au

Debra Ann Metcalf BPsych (Hons), Assoc MAPS, PhD student, is currently an Associate Lecturer in Psychology at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga NSW. Research interests include academic self-efficacy and factors affecting executive functions of the brain.
Email: dmetcalf@csu.edu.au

Please cite as: Mackenzie, N. M., Danaia, L., MacDonald, A. & Metcalf, D. A. (2019). Working above standard in literacy and numeracy in primary school. Issues in Educational Research, 29(2), 485-501. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/mackenzie.pdf

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Created 14 Apr 2019. Last correction: 14 Apr 2019.
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