Thursday, March 4, 2010

Progress report templates released to school boards

The e-mail about this came in on Monday and was promptly tucked away-- one of the other hats I wear on the job is municipal politics and there are budgets underway and meetings virtually every night of the past two weeks. I'll link to the drafts later today (that e-mail is on a separate computer than the one I'm typing this at). The drafts are all posted here as PDF files.
I did notice, however, that the Globe and Mail picked up the topic and ran with it Thursday.
Perhaps the biggest change is that the new fall report card is now called a progress report card, and it does away with letter grades. Instead students will be rated as "progressing with difficulty," "progressing well" or "progressing very well."
"Parents, teachers and the ministry all agreed that there might be a better way to report a student's progress after those first few weeks of school," said Minister of Education Leona Dombrowsky.
A common parent complaint was that there was little formal testing in the first weeks of the school year, and letter grades often didn't provide a complete or accurate depiction of how their child was adapting to the classroom.
"The new fall progress report card emphasizes a student's development and provides feedback to a parent on whether their child is progressing well or if they are having difficulty," said Ms. Dombrowsky. "It will also include teacher comments about a student's learning that are personalized, clear and meaningful." 
I've opined on this previously when the progress reports were first announced earlier this school year. I believe these reports can be as informative as a more traditional letter-grade report card, but the usefulness would largely depend on the teacher completing them and the parent reading them.
They'll be in place for September 2010.


RetDir said...

If there is one thing that has been a theme for my entire career it has been looking for a better report card. In elementary schools, there is no substitute for student led conferencing - scrap the report card and get dialogue happening between students, teachers, and parents.

Anonymous said...

Not much to add except to RetDir's
"scrap the report card and get dialogue happening between students, teachers and parents"

I would rewrite that to say "scrap the report card and get meaningful dialogue happening between students teachers and parents."

Sounds easy but unless the dialogue is relevant and clear without the added eduspeak that we're all familiar with that sometimes(not all the time) means very little.

That dialogue must also contain discussion about measuring achievement responsibly as part of closing the gap of accountability.

Respect from all three is necessary to. Sometimes dialogue and discussion can do as much to turn folks off of each other than it can to work effectively for the student.


Anonymous said...

ok - I wrote a really great response to RetDir and it simply disappeared.

I wanted to say that I would add the word "meaningful" to RetDir's last line about dialogue.

If it's not relevant and presented in a clear way that parents can understand and see for themselves the progress or challenges their child is having the dialogue will be very one-sided.

Some trust and respect barriers between parents and educators needs careful attention too.

Too often the parent is tied up in eduspeak that really, while trendy or politically correct says nothing too much of importance about how a student is doing.

That discussion must include some clear indication of how the student is being measured and how at the end of the school year a parent can see achievement at some level.

We don't want to go back to the day when neither teachers or parents knew when the student was going to learn what and how they could tell. Remember open-concept, pods and clusters by age and not grades? All trendy at the time but I have a brother who came through the system and still can't read well. He's 50 years old.


Education Reporter said...

We were always a "grades first" family, however as I was identified in Grade 3/4, my parents had yearly identification, review and placement committee meetings with the school from that point forward.
By the time I was in the senior grades of high school I sat in on these meetings, and eventually attended them without my parents.

I always found them to be more useful. I think I may have been grounded once or twice when younger after an IPRC meeting due to my, er, lax approach to certain subjects.

I would think/hope that if a parent is overwhelmed by eduspeak they can just ask people to speak in plainer English.


Anonymous said...

Yikes! - Looks like my original post that seriously had disappeared has shown up with about a 10 minute delay from when I posted it.

My apologies for the duplicate ER....I can't explain technology.