We have had lots of fun over the last few months thinking about how to share timely assessment information with parents and caregivers. We pulled out Julia Atkins (What, Why, How) model to surface our beliefs (What) about assessment, the principles (Why) surrounding those beliefs to make informed decisions about the assessment practices (how) we might use. What became apparent was we believe the learner needs to be at the centre or heart of any assessment practice. Hattie's top effect size (1.4) is self grading - how are we utilising this knowledge in our current practices?
Much of our dialogue of late has been to question how the mid year summative call on achievement is presented to learners and parents. We asked a group of year 5-8 students about what they liked about their previous School reports. One individual said 'I like the general comment because it says nice things about me'. That made me think should students have to wait until half way through the year and the end of the year to hear nice things about themselves? Another comment from a year 6 child was 'I like to know if I am where I should be'. You can't argue with that, however why again should students wait till half way through the year to know if they are on track. We have listened to parent voice too to understand what they want to know and how they like that information presented. The general consensus is I want to know if my child is where they should be, putting effort, had friends and is happy at School.
So how timely is our assessment information to parents? Is it ok for parents to wait several weeks for the hard copy portfolio to go home at the end of a term?
Recent changes to the way we report to parents is the inclusion of next steps and ways parents can help their child at home. The challenge is to ensure these types of conversions last beyond the event of sending the report home or co-constructing 'ways to help at home' at a student/parent conference. We believe the space for such reporting needs to be online. All three relevant parties have a view and edit capability to add to the report. If a hard copy of the report is required it can be simply printed. If the conversation needs to continue it can continue and more next steps and ways home is supporting the learning added as time goes on.