Over the past two years, we have been investigating current and future reporting possibilities; specifically the manner in which we can provide timely and continuous feedback on student progress rather than point in time comments on semester reports.
Changes to Semester Reporting Processes at the College
To gather information, we received feedback from parents who attended forums, from Heads of Department and faculty staff, and from Year 7 to 12 students who attended a forum with Dr Brohier and Mrs Sauer. We unpacked that information with curriculum leaders and with the College Leadership Team.
The feedback was invaluable and provided the impetus to move toward the implementation of continuous online reporting for our students. This type of reporting refers to online access of results and comments that coincide with key summative assessment dates. Results are progressive (meaning students will see rolling totals and grades) and comments focussing on strengths and areas that need improvement. Online reporting will complement current semester reports; however, these would take on a new format, with final subject comments not included.
Continuous online reporting is strongly supported by research. The availability of timely, quality feedback is acknowledged to be one of the most significant determinant of success for learners. A reporting system that provides continuous feedback online, accessible not only to students but also parents, will allow students to continually evaluate and improve performance with the support of their teachers. Hattie’s (2011) Visible Learning, which analyses global evidence on student achievement, identifies that the most significant contributor to student learning is quality, timely, feedback. Dylan Will (2011) states that feedback should focus on what needs to be done in order to improve, and how this can be achieved.
The College sees there are a number of tangible benefits derived from providing continuous online reporting to our students and their families. These include:
• Timely feedback – feedback and results provided online within a defined period after a key task is completed and assessed, enabling the students to act on feedback immediately to inform future learning.
• Feedback is specific to an individual student’s progress and learning needs.
• Parents will view results and comments for key assessments at the same time as their child, receiving information in ‘real time’ rather than at two points within a year. This will provide parents with the ability to identify and support action toward improvement prior to the next assessment. Parents and students will receive an alert when results and comments are available.
• Builds on authentic communication between a teacher, student and their family, providing a greater sense of shared responsibility.
• No “surprise results” at the end of a semester. Parents and students are aware of results and grade progress prior to the end of each semester.
• Access online anywhere, anytime, via a secure link to be made available on the Somerset Portal, during Term 1.
Student connections between their plans, their actions, their grades and feedback is also an important part of the continuous reporting process. Their increasing ability to articulate their learning as more than just a response to the unit studied, will see them develop into a resilient, self-motivated and limitless learner. We believe the focus will move from “how I went’ to ‘how I learn’, which is a significant focus of our International Baccalaureate and Senior QCAA programmes.
While we are extremely proud of our current reports, we know that effective ‘real time’ feedback has a massive impact on student learning. At our 2018, Scholar’s Day Mr Bassingthwaighte announced the College would be introducing continuous online reporting into Year 6, 7, 8 and Year 11 in 2019. Over the coming week’s students and parents will continue to receive updates and hear about opportunities where further details will be unpacked. Subject teachers and House Tutors will also work with students to help them access this new system and support them in using the information provided in a positive and beneficial manner.
We are certainly excited to be taking this next step and look forward to rolling it out into Years 9 and 10 in 2020.
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