Do conventional report cards give parents a true description of a child’s learning? If not, what would improve them?
This was the driving question behind yesterday’s #edchat conversation. I assume that ‘conventional report cards’ vary in different educational contexts around the globe. And I’m sure they have much in common in the attempt to reduce the exciting, messy, complex process of learning to something tiny and uniform that fits into an envelope.
Can you hear the learner’s voice in your reports?
It never ceases to amaze me how many people think that teachers can ’cause learning without the student’s help,’ as Dylan William says in this great little clip about metacognition.
The most telling part of my school’s reports is the student reflection. It reveals a great deal, not just about the learner but about how the learning takes place…
Some snippets from our current Year 5 and 6 report reflections:
Compare these, which focus on ‘work’ and ‘results’…
‘I worked really hard… and in the end it all paid off because I got an A.’
‘I have improved immensely in spelling. I got 41 out of 50 however, I still think there is room for improvement.’
‘In maths I don’t think I am living up to my potential, as I am not getting the results I would have liked to.’
‘I think I need to work on listening to instructions more carefully.’
… to these, which focus on learning…
‘This year I have extended my knowledge, matured and have shown that I can overcome anything if I really focus and concentrate on all the obstacles that are in the way of my destination – succeeding and doing my utmost. I think that I am a curious and open minded learner. ‘
‘In Inquiry, I’m like someone running and picking up speed and momentum. Last year, finding a big question was so baffling but now it’s simple. These last three inquiries have been so absorbing, I have been like a sponge waiting for more knowledge to absorb into my brain.’
‘Throughout primary school you do units of inquiry. At the beginning of this semester, I thought that I was locating facts and presenting them. In this semester, I have learned not just facts but deeper understandings and meanings. I have also improved my creativity in linking ideas in units of inquiry’.
‘I have learnt many skills about writing speeches and how they are not just a read-out narrative, how to raise my voice when talking about something important, speak in a different tone or to move my hands in certain way to get people’s attention. I still think I need to improve on my writing skills and how to convert thoughts into words and get them on the paper.’
Can you hear the learner’s voice?
Related post: 10 ways to encourage student reflection