Over the last term we have been investigating current and future reporting possibilities, specifically the manner in which we can provided timely and continuous feedback on student progress rather than point in time comments on semester reports.
To gather information, we received feedback from parents who attended one of two forums held in August, from Heads of Department and faculty staff, and from Years 7 to 12 students who attended a forum with Dr Brohier and Mrs Sauer. We have unpacked this information with Curriculum Leaders and with the College Leadership Team.
The feedback has been invaluable and has provided the impetus to further investigate the future implementation and use of continuous online reporting. This type of reporting refers to online access of results and comments that coincide with key summative assessment dates. Results would be progressive and comments focusing on strengths and areas that need improvement. Online reporting would complement 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 that could be derived from providing continuous online reporting to our students and their families. These include:
- Timely feedback – feedback and results are 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 will be specific to an individual student’s progress and learning needs.
- Parents can 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 provides parents with the ability to identify and support action toward improvement prior to the next assessment.
- 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 web-based programme.
Student connections between their plans, their actions, their grades and feedback is also seen as 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 programmes.
While we are extremely proud of our current reports, we know that effective ‘real time’ feedback has a massive impact on student learning. As such it is only right that we make every effort to ensure that they receive it in the best method possible. Obviously our journey towards continuous online reporting is in its infancy, yet as progress is made, we will continue to inform the College Community.
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