Term 2 Update

With change of staff and lack of contribution from Japanese and Maori, the Department investigation into using Language Perfect to improve external examination outcome through better control of Level 1 vocabulary is currently not being pursued.

Spanish Level 1 students did not use LP greatly last term, as there was no units of work that fitted this model. Students were learning interculturally, creating maps of Spain and learning grammar structures to complete NCEA portfolio requirements.  There was no specific topic of study as covered by Language Perfect, and as students had already covered verbs, it was decided to leave LP until term 3 and then do an intensive review of most language categories at Level 1 before school examinations.  This will generate data which can be used to pinpoint areas to focus on in Term 4 before external examinations.

Maori Level 1 students are struggling to such an extent with the level of language required that the teacher has decided to drop the inquiry down to Years 9 and 10 in an attempt to instill a wider range of vocabulary earlier in the language learning process.  This extension means different levels of data analysis and outcomes, but the teacher still plans to contribute to the dept TAI by end of year.

Japanese Level 1 students have had their third teacher, as their first teacher is on maternity leave, the LTR teacher left for Japan mid year, and their latest teacher is a first year teacher, so will not be contributing greatly to the dept TAI. Although he may be able to continue with the data collection, he is still familiarizing himself with the LP program and the students and there is limited time for PD available to bring him up to speed on setting HW and tasks, although I willl try.

It must be noted that the time required to manage multiple TAIs, in particular cross departmental ones, means that most are not done well.  It would be more productive to encourage teachers to focus on individual practice and learn to manage individual TAIs with the required level of evidence, data collection and analysis, and measurable outcomes before again attempting a department based inquiry, in particular in such a fragmented department as languages.  The one teacher in the dept. without senior classes, who has selected a single area of practice and is completing an inquiry cycle based on this is having reasonable success in effecting long term change in teaching practice.

Reflection on Lang Dept TAI Term 1 2015

Problems – student surveys

Student surveys not completed by all students (6 out of 12). Survey analysis below. This analysis shows that most students feel they can learn up to 20 words a week, they feel that vocab learning is very important in learning a language, however are only mildly interested in actually learning a new word when presented with it. The preference was for learning words in context with learning words individually close behind (as done with LP) Most students found a variety of learning methods best, with use of cognates, guessing, and context trumping looking up words. Most students mentioned using words in sentences as essential for learning, with only one mentioning LP as a useful tool for learning and remembering vocabulary.


The second survey looks at a specific topic and Lang Perfect learning modes. It shows that students prefer Spanish to English (this is the easiest mode), that only 1/3 of students are using the aural mode effectively (hearing and repeating the word); that most students feel that 15-20 minutes a day on LP is required for learning; and Language Perfect being the perceived most effective mode of learning (closely followed by teacher, word reference and context).


Problems – letter home

There was no opportunity given for parental response. In future it would be a good idea to give parents a survey link to gain their response and also to provide student login details and link to LP learning site so that parents can have a go themselves.  This would be more conducive to gain their understanding  and support for student learning outside the classroom.

Problems in delivery and completion:

  1. tests not working on ipads initally
  2. student absences were consistent and prolonged in this term
  3. teacher had to learn how to set up homework tasks and tests
  4. student have not yet adopted the rhythm of practice then test on Friday
  5. student resistance to independent learning meant poor task and especially test completion
  6. Attempted to set up similar cycles with other senior levels including VCL.

Problems with department collaboration:

Time – there is no time allocation for yet another PD requirement from us, which means that all other dept business is either neglected or we have to allocate other meeting times to attempt to work through the research requirements for this inquiry.

Numbers – we are a small and fragmented group of specialist teachers, therefore not everyone is taking part in the TAI although they were involved in initial planning.  In effect half of the dept staff have withdrawn to do inquiries in other departments where they teach the majority of their classes or to do an independent TAI. This left two language teachers attempting a dept TAI with little ability to delegate or share responsibilities.

Problems with support :

  •  We have been given no support in planning an effective TAI. As a result we have undertaken a difficult and time consuming research process, which may or may not benefit further learning.  Collaboration with other departments to see what they were doing (beyond an idea in a template) would have been effective in helping formulate a better enquiry in terms of practicality and outcomes.
  • The time frames have been tight, with constantly changing criteria and expectations.
  •  It would have been much better to start with an individual teacher inquiry to be documented and appraised
  • There have been no templates provided for effectively appraising this TAI so we have adopted an example provided by Lucia Ju.

Reflection and conclusions

  1. Due to only two teachers being involved we have resolved to focus only on Y11 use of Language Perfect and feed the results of this inquiry into department to consider LP use at other levels in 2016.
  2. In consultation with colleagues, found that while Maori had not yet started the TAI learning cycle due to an injury and late start in teaching this term, Japanese had chosen to do both homework tasks and tests in class. This ensured completion at least by attending students, and provided better data.  We have concluded that we will all allow students time in class for tests and/or review/homework tasks.  As we are tasked with creating independent learning habits, I will make clear to students the expectation that they learn the vocabulary with LP before the test.
  3. Tests will therefore now be administered in class at the beginning of class each Friday.
  4. Surveys will also be completed in class for future terms.
  5. A further letter home with analysis of LP, opportunity to trial it personally, and a survey link to encourage parental support and understanding should be sent in Term 2.
  6. Data analysis for each student should be shared with them – via projector in class. Students should be aware that their attitudes and learning regarding vocabulary are being investigated to motivate them to participate more.

Data Analysis Dept TAI Term1 2015

https://www.educationperfect.com/controlpanel/#page=UserTaskManager Data from Lang perfect – see also data post

Data analysis

Completion data is 0 for one student without internet access and two students currently on exchange in Chile.

Completion is low, with only two students with over 50% completion of both homework learning tasks and tests.

Students who completed homework tasks generally scored high on tests, up to 100%. This reinforces the platform as an appropriate tool for vocabulary learning. This is borne out  by first student portfolio submissions, where students with high levels of completion and attainment obtained higher levels of achievement in spoken and written tasks.

Individual student data is also available on Language Perfect which shows clearly that many students did not attempt tests, although they completed homework tasks.

‘Not started’ data reflects duplicate tasks as there were some issues with learning how to set up tasks and complete tasks on the site on the part of both teacher and students.  In addition, students were not able to access tests on their ipads, a fact which LP staff neglected to inform me of. Fortunately, when informed of this anomaly, LP posted an app fix within a week so that from week 4 students were able to complete these tasks on their devices.

More specific information regarding difficult words and student success rates are available here. This shows that while most students attempted the homework tasks, the tests were accessed by only a few. This was due to the tests being offered for a limited time.

Individual student data is also available on Language Perfect which shows clearly that many students did not attempt tests, although they completed homework tasks.  However, for the tasks and tests they did sit, words they did not succeed at are highlighted, giving teacher insight into which words are more difficult for each student. This is also provided for the class as a whole  in task completion reports. An example is given below for the -er verb review homework task. This data will allow me to review the most difficult words in class after the test with different activities

Here are the top 11 questions your students found the most difficult:

Question Title Students Attempted Question Number of Attempts Average Accuracy (%)
empezar a => to begin 6 25 52%
aparecer => to appear 8 29 55%
resolver => to solve 7 21 57%
temer => to be scared 6 29 58%
parecer => to seem 6 18 61%
perder => to miss 7 29 62%
envolver => to wrap 7 24 62%
caber => to fit 7 23 69%
traer => to bring 9 40 70%
valer => to be worth 8 40 70%
devolver => to return something 7 27 70%



Y11 Data Term1


This task completion data shows poor student completion of both homework tasks and tests set.



This data shows tasks set and when, with overdue submission at times exceeding any completion when due.







Y11Term1LangPerfStudentResults_15 This excel spread sheet provides data on individual student task attempts, completion and achievement. This data shows that while most students attempted most tasks, they did not all complete them and only 10-20% achieved 100% in any task.

‘Not started’ data reflects duplicate tasks as there were some issues with learning how to set up tasks and complete tasks on the site on the part of both teacher and students.  In addition, students were not able to access tests on their ipads, a fact which LP staff neglected to inform me of. Fortunately, when informed of this anomaly, LP posted an app fix within a week so that from week 4 students were able to complete these tasks on their devices.

Student Reflection on Vocabulary learning

Students were asked to complete a summary of their own learning based on Language Perfect statistics provided to them at the end of each term.

Language Perfect Summary for my course Level 1 Spanish 2015


Week 2 Día de San Valentin      
Week 3 -ar ending verbs      
Week 6 -er ending verbs      
week 7 -ir ending verbs      
Week 8 Reflexive verbs      
Week 9 Daily routine      


Language Perfect Summary for my course Level 2 Spanish 2015


Week 2 Día de San Valentin      
Week 3 El amor      
Week 6 L2 Verbs      
Week 8 L2 Verbs      
Week 9        


Letter home to parents about LP

We decided that student’s vocabulary learning efforts needed support from parents, as students would be largely expected to master vocabulary content as set homework activity through language perfect, and do the tests at specified times at home.

We also wished to inform parents of what their course fees covers and bring them into the learning loop.

On reflection, it would be worthwhile also sending an email with a link to language perfect with student logon details for parents to trial themselves.





19 March 2015


Dear Parent/Caregiver,


This year, Year 11 language students are participating in an intensive vocabulary learning program using their devices. They are subscribed to an online learning platform, Education Perfect, to improve their vocabulary acquisition for NCEA Level 1. This annual subscription of $20 is paid through course fees for the year.


What is it?

Education Perfect uses a game approach to help students learn vocabulary. Students score points for consistency and accuracy.  At the same time, language students are able to hear the word they are learning again and again, which has enabled them to improve pronunciation enormously.


How does it work?

Students are set prescribed groups of words for homework, which they are to learn in a specified time by playing this game, usually one week.  There are weekly tests to gauge progress and provide feedback to students on their learning.  Students will also participate in class competitions set by their teachers and the World Championships organized by the site in May each year.


Research has shown that achievement results are directly affected by vocabulary acquisition. Please encourage your students to use this program daily at home as part of their homework routine.  We appreciate your support in ensuring full use is made this year of this online learning platform to help your students in their second language acquisition. If you have any queries please contact your student’s language teacher in the first instance.







Ms S. Oleary MA (Hons), DipTch.

Teacher in Charge Spanish

Acting HOD Languages

Orewa College





Lang Dept TAI – starting off surveys

We began our action inquiry on vocabulary acquisition through an online learning platform with student surveys.

https://es.surveymonkey.com/s/C5CS5TH is a base vocabulary survey on student attitudes to vocabulary learning using Survey Monkey, with questions similar to those below.

How long have you been  learning your L2?

What do you think your current skill level is in your L2? The CEFR or European Framework uses a scale from A1 (beginner) A2, B1/B2  and C1/C2 which is completely bilingual.

When you think of learning new languages how do you feel?.

How many words do you think you can learn in a week?

How would you rate the importance of learning vocabulary in comparison to the importance of  immersion or grammar, when you are learning a language?

Rate the different ways of learning vocabulary in your opinion.

What is the main way you have found effective personally for learning vocabulary?

Rank the skills in order of how you would use them to find the meaning of a new word

When is the best time for you to learn new vocabulary.

Describe exactly how you go about acquiring a new word and retaining it.

https://es.surveymonkey.com/s/Q5Y59MH is a survey about learning vocabulary using the online platform offered by Language Perfect.

The idea with these surveys is to provide us with pre inquiry information which we can then compare to information gained in post inquiry surveys at end of year.  Due to the nature of our inquiry we cannot pretest specific knowledge, but can test attitudes and skills.