Communicating Student Learning
It is that time of the year again. Communicating student learning is important, but can also be exhausting at times. Writing report cards, preparing for student led conferences or parent teacher conferences, and doing all the assessments for these events need to be added to the already jam packed weeks of lesson planning and instruction.
Teachers know that student assessment is important in order to direct teaching so that it helps kids where they are and provides directions for improvement. On-going assessments and formal assessments both have a purpose and are valid for checking student learning. But it is sometimes difficult to fit it all in and still feel that you are able to teach effectively.
Types of assessment and their purposes
There are a variety of assessments that can be used for determining how students are doing, but they are generally categorized as informal assessments and formal assessments.
Informal assessments: These are usually on-going and based on data collected for daily/weekly activities. The data collected is then communicated to the student and parents. This information is critical if we want to provide instruction and resources that will help students to continue to move forward in their learning. Sometimes you will hear it referred to as formative assessment.
Communicating student learning can be done with phone calls, emails, weekly or monthly journals, e-portfolios of work, or in person conversations. It is important to remember to share successes as well as areas of concern.
Formal assessments: Reporting to parents provides a snapshot of learning for a specified term. It is an overall look at how students are doing in the various subjects and in their social emotional learning. Report cards and student/parent meetings are a couple of the ways this is done.
There are a variety of different types of report cards being used now depending on the location or school district. Some schools use letter grades and percentages, some use a numerical rating, some use rubrics, and some use anecdotal formats.
Student led conferences
Student led conferences are a great way to share successes and learning with parents and still have a meeting with the teacher. I started doing these in the mid-nineties and I never looked back. If you would like to find out more about how I did them, check out this post.
Not everyone is comfortable with this format, but many who have tried it have found it to be less stressful and very positive.
If you are interested in a plan for your student led conference or a package of materials for setting it up, check out my student led conference materials resource.
I have created a learning journal for gathering up information that can be used for communicating student learning on a monthly basis. You can get a free copy by signing up for my newsletter.
I know this can be a stressful time for you, but what you are doing is important. Remember to take care of yourself too.
Thank you for all you do for the kids.
For free resources, tips, and ideas, sign up for my newsletter.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.