Monday, 16 August 2021

Reporting to Parents on Student Progress and Achievement

Term Two 2021 Review Summary

The SchoolDocs team received over 1500 pieces of feedback in response to last term’s scheduled review of Reporting to Parents on Student Progress and Achievement. It was great to see so many users engaging with this topic – as noted by schools and community members alike, reporting to parents is a requirement under National Administration Guideline (NAG) 2, and is a crucial mechanism in forming productive home–school partnerships.

We’ve included references to the NAG in our new topic but are aware these will be repealed in 2023 to make way for the new National Education and Learning Priorities (NELPs).

We’d like to remind schools this topic is fully tailorable and our Model topic is a sample, with prompts, to guide you. Almost all schools have a tailored version of this topic but there were commonalities in the feedback, outlined below.

Formal parent interviews and student-led conferences

Some reviewers noted formal parent interviews and student-led conferences have different functions (reporting on progress vs. celebrating student achievement), and a combination of both may be more beneficial than favouring one over the other. Conferences give students an opportunity to take ownership of their own work but parents also said they’d like an opportunity to talk to teachers without the student present.

In both approaches, there was a sentiment that meetings needed to be well-organised (given their brevity), and mediated by the teacher to be meaningful, with a focus on collaboration and positive interactions. Schools’ reporting schemes should provide a balance of reporting on progress and on achievement.

For high schools, parents noted having time with subject teachers gave a more comprehensive picture of student progress and achievement compared with speaking to form teachers only.

In response to feedback, we’ve reinstated wording about formal parent interviews in our new Model topic.

  • Schools may want to consider the timing of reporting methods and how they work together. For example, interviews/conferences could coincide with written reports to give meetings a focus, interviews may be more useful earlier in the year to discuss goals/issues, and student-led conferences could come later in the year when students have settled in class and made some progress towards goals. A number of reviewers pointed out that the timing of sessions is not always manageable for working parents, so schools may want to offer an alternative to accommodate more families.
  • Check your topic to ensure any dates specified are correct.

Written reports

Reviewers emphasised a need for concrete data, authenticity, and ease of access to information in written reports. While some parents enjoyed infographics, others preferred more individualised and specific comments related to their child’s learning.

Again, a holistic approach and considerations of timing were at the forefront, as parents noted discrepancies in assessment data versus reports, and summative reports were perhaps received too late in the year for families to provide constructive support.

We’ve noticed an increase in schools using various digital reporting systems (Spotlight, Educa, etc.) and a move towards real-time reporting. Schools using digital platforms may want to provide access help for families and whānau to ensure their community is supported in engaging with these tools, and interpreting the information available. This can be done through your newsletter or website. You may also want to notify parents as platforms are updated. For clarity, schools utilising multiple platforms may want to add a brief summary of the kind of information parents can expect to find on each (e.g. written reports vs. portfolios of achievement vs. everyday communication).

In response to feedback, we’ve updated our sample/generic topic to include:

  • an option for schools to include wording about reviewing and moderating reporting practices to ensure consistency across the school
  • a stronger description of written reports (i.e. literacy and numeracy assessment information, teachers drawing on a range of evidence to build a comprehensive picture of students’ learning (NAG 2)
  • wording about the school contacting parents if a student is identified as needing additional support. Schools may want to add detail about how parents can arrange appointments with the teacher.

We can update your topic at any time; consider our updates and your own school’s implementation feedback and email us any updates.

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