Weekly Reflection – reporting doesn’t have to suck

Fort Awesome, Harvard Yard

Image by drgandy from Flickr

My twitter feed has been quiet of late and there is one simple reason for it.

Reports.

At best most teachers tolerate writing reports as a bureaucratic necessity and at worst they see it at a medieval torture device due to rigid formatting requirements and the lack of sleep that go hand in hand with report writing season.

If I spend an hour analysing data, thinking, writing, drafting and proofreading for each child adds up to 30 hours on top of normal teaching duties as well as the multitude of other tasks bureaucratic that pop up at the end of the school year. If you happen to teach students who are at an age where they transitioning to another part of the education system, there will be reports to fill out to add to the paperwork.

Aside from the legally mandated statements about a child’s progress against National Standards, my school has been experimenting with reporting to parents. This experimentation has left us with a lot of wriggle room to try out  Instead of ticking boxes my syndicate has put a greater emphasis on qualitative feedback. Sure this has has been more time consuming for me as a teacher however the process has been less painful because I have more ownership in the product.

Alongside my comments the students have written their own comments about the year on a google form, selected a picture from the class flickr account and next week will film the final part of their video time capsules which will be included as a QR code on the paper report. Sure it’s a mishmash of old and new technology and the report is not standardised to the whole school.

We don’t all learn the same and we don’t teach the same.

So why should school reports the same?

I’m sure that there are a lot of educators that view reports as a relic of bygone era where communication between parents and teachers was largely limited to official bits of paper going home at mandated times of the years. These days I will phone, email and text parents about concerns and also victories in class.

Nevertheless the end of the year marks a milestone. Reporting for me is part of the process of taking leave of the time I spent with my students. I found it rewarding thinking about how my students have grown in this last year. This is particularly the case for my Year 8s who I have taught for two years.

Like many things in life reporting is what you make of it.

Our jobs as educators is try to find the awesomeness in every kid and nurture it.

Reports are time to see how we’ve both done in progressing towards that goal.

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About Stephanie

Stephanie is a teacher of a fabulous class of year 4s students. She goes to the gym and geeks out in Singapore.

Posted on November 24, 2013, in RTC 11 - Assessment, RTC 4 - Professional Learning, RTC 8 - Akonga learning, weekly reflection and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Mary-Anne Murphy

    Kia ora Stephanie.

    I was in the webinar you spoke at this afternoon… great stuff!

    If I may, I would like to add to your reflections in the spirit of fostering collaborative dialogue and learning.

    I wonder where most of our current means of reporting resides.
    Are they a summative account of the assessments and comments based on the teacher’s interpretation of how well the student has learned?
    Are they a mix of a collection snippets of evidence that show the students learning progress alongside summative comments for the teacher?
    Or are they a window into a world of the learner that shows the warts n’ all and includes comments from the student, teacher and their peers in both ongoing and summative form?

    Bottom line…. students need to be actively engaged in the assessment. of their learning.

    So; who are reports for? Who is doing the reflecting and thinking? Is this one-sided; or is this a truly collaborative approach? And lastly; how might we build reflection into student learning opportunities so that it is an integral part of the learning; thus embracing the ultimate concept of “Assessment AS Learning”?

    Nga mihi nui
    Mary-Anne Murphy

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