Communicating Student Learning
"Communicating Student Learning" is used to describe inquiry projects, funded opportunities, a follow up to changes in new B.C. curriculum and just what it says – communicating student learning to parents and guardians. The accepted standard of reporting to parents has been three formal report cards that are written by a classroom teacher with inserts included for students receiving English as an additional language and/or resource support. These reports also include two other conference times which could be: parent -teacher conferences; three-way conferences with the parent, child and teacher; and student led conferences with the parent and child. These reporting opportunities have also been summative in nature and the teacher provides information about grades or achievement to date. In some cases, the student had an opportunity to share some information.
The new curriculum in British Columbia puts the student front and centre. I have been teaching core competencies (communication skills, creative and critical thinking, as well as personal and social identity and responsibility) for my entire teaching career, as have my colleagues. The difference is the shift of the spotlight from mastery of curriculum content to teaching what many pedagogical experts refer to as "the four C's" – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Yuval Noah Harari advises students that in the future "[m]ost important of all will be the ability to deal with change, learn new things, and preserve your mental balance in unfamiliar situations" (2018 p.266). For this reason, assessment practices in school are shifting so that students are taught to reflect on themselves as learners and strategize how they will improve.
You will note differences in reporting at University Hill Elementary this year as teachers more fully involve students in:
· asking big questions
· problem solving
· developing a plan to find answers
· communicating their learning to their peers and their families
· assessing their work
· planning for what the next steps in their learning will be
The Ministry of Education has a deadline for implementing new reporting processes throughout British Columbia for September 2019. Five communications with parents and guardians will continue. Many teachers will be exploring optional ways to provide a more comprehensive picture of student learning this year. This will include:
Two formal report cards using the template designed by the Vancouver School Board in conjunction with teachers participating in the Communicating Student Learning Inquiry Groups. These reports will go home with information that focuses on growth, student learning and student voice. They will not include letter grades. The will include inserts from Resource teachers, Individual Education Plan updates and English language learning reports.
Report #1 goes home January 31, 2019
Report #2 goes home June 26, 2019
Two conferences times with parents and communicated by the classroom teacher.
November 7th and 8th – 2 pm dismissal
March 6th and 7th – 2 pm dismissal
** Information will also be supplied by resource teachers. Parent attendance will be mandatory.
Additional opportunities that your classroom and resource teacher(s) may select to report learning may include:
· Celebration of Learning – Students share process and the learning with family
· Student self and peer evaluation
· Phone calls home reporting on student achievement
· Journals or emails reporting on student achievement
· Sharing of portfolios created and stored in the classroom
· Sharing of online portfolios, participation in collaborative processes using tools such as FreshGrade
Teachers will be customizing what reporting will look like in their classroom and communicating this information to families. Tea Time with the Principal is on the 1st Friday of the month at 9:15 am. This would a great time to talk about new reporting practices. Bring your questions and join me for a cup of tea or coffee. Childcare is not provided but I do have books, blocks and lego for preschool play.