I read an inspiring blog the other day that got me thinking about assessment and reporting.
Assessment is all part of what we do . . . the process . . . embedded in our practise.
Finding out what students know before we start teaching something make so much sense. Having that data at our fingertips so we can make decisions about what we need to teach and what students already know.
Formative assessment through the teaching process, making observations, taking notes, creating and completing checklists. Having conversations with our students, asking questions and provoking them to question and develop their thinking so they can consolidate their understandings.
Asking students to complete summative assessments tasks towards the end of a unit so we can determine where their understanding is now.
So why when the word 'reports' is mentioned do teachers 'cringe'?
Why are hours spent discussing how much teacher 'don't value' writing reports?
To be honest, I find this quite irritating.
As a teacher I want to be able to share with the parents of each of the children in my class in many different ways. I have the privilege of being part of their child's learning journey every single day. Parents place trust in me to be the significant adult for their child.
Some parents can be more high profile at school. Others are rarely seen inside the school gate. It isn't up to me to judge why parents can or cannot be at school. It is up to me to have the ability to share authentically about a child. I am not saying a formal written report is the only way, or even the best way, but I am saying it is one way!
Yes it takes time, but my students are worth it! They work hard, we work hard together and as formal written reports are one aspect of how we provide feedback to parents I want to honour what my students have been doing by sharing it with their parents.
In my school we write reports every 6-7 weeks this year, I love it! It more closely aligns to my belief that we should be providing regular timely feedback. We also have Open House, Three Way Conferences and Student Led Conferences and we are 'piloting' a Digital Online Portfolio tis year. I believe we are trying to connect and report more authentically. Yes it takes time, it should time time and we should value the time spent.
So don't 'cringe', don't complain. Value the opportunity to talk (write) about your student as an individual - think about it as a conversation with a parent - talk to them! Will your students know you are talking about THEM . . not just ANY student in the class?
Celebrate the fact that you and your students work hard! They are so worth the time you give!
Reports tell a story .. they are part of each student . . long after you have forgotten them they will hold that report - see your name . . remember you; and maybe, just maybe, they will remember something awesome about having been in your class.