A Change in Approach

Sometimes life is full of surprises.

Our division has been hard at work changing our reporting process. If you would have told me that I would be singing the praises of a new report card three years ago, I would have scoffed. What is wrong with the old ways? I had marks on my report cards and little to no information to go with the marks and I turned out fine. My parents trusted my teachers to use their professional judgement and they accepted my marks and my precious few comments. (Please pretend to be shocked and surprised when I tell you the comment often was about my love of the social aspect of school.)

Imagine my surprise when I realized that there is another way. Imagine my shock when I realized it was actually more pertinent to the parents and guardians. Our new report cards better reflect student abilities. They actually speak to not only what they know but HOW THEY LEARN! Fascinating. So the nerd who used to sit beside me spouting off three digit by three digit multiplication in middle years will still have his validation while the struggling student such as myself who could not do the multiplication the way the teacher wanted me to, but could still find the correct answer will as well. Awesome.

I feel like our new reporting system validates my job. Anyone with Google could potentially find the answer to any question. With smartphones and iPhones and all our little devices, we have access to all the information one could want, and then some. Yes, we still need a base knowledge, but now we need teachers to guide students into the correct information, the skills and attitudes from the front matter of the curriculum. And yes, it has always been there, but now we will finally, as a whole division, place emphasis on it.

That is a beautiful thing.

I said during my final PD session before my maternity leave, that I was jealous of the teachers who would spend the year prepping for the new report card that our school group will use in the fall of 2012. Surprisingly, I truly meant it.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carolyn Jensen
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 08:31:44

    Thanks so much for this reflection, Melissa. As you alluded to, what I love about the new report card is that it taps into the teaching process requiring teachers to use the science and art of teaching to truly identify student learning. And that’s a win-win-win (students, parents, and teachers)!

    Reply

    • Melissa Everitt-Dallinger
      Oct 15, 2011 @ 13:51:44

      It truly is a win-win-win Carolyn. It also makes it easier for each teacher to recognize where they need to develop. I know I’m not a great math teacher. I wasn’t a great math student and frankly, it scares me! But as I have been reflecting on my practices to better be able to work within the new reporting guidelines, I have been able to identify my needs, gaps and deficiencies. That in turn has given me a focus for my PD time. Beautiful! Better for me for sure…and that in turn will be better for kids! Awesome!

      Reply

  2. kelly wilkins
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 10:21:10

    Melissa, great comment. Moving from reporting on content/knowledge to skills & processes certainly is a shift and one that is much needed. Your reflection really validates what we are doing. So many amazing teachers have contributed to the development of the report card and to our whole journey with assessment! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hope all is well!

    Reply

    • Melissa Everitt-Dallinger
      Oct 15, 2011 @ 13:54:59

      All is well Kelly and I have been so happy and honoured to be a part of the reporting changes at the FG/CFL/BB sites. It has really ignited a passion in me and the only unfortunate part is that I can’t work with my team this year to push the process further. The anticipation of a second little boy to add to our home team is pretty awesome though! 🙂

      Reply

  3. marcilaevens
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:34:46

    Great post Melissa. Well worth the wait 😉 It is so important that we get your message out there. That teachers SUPPORT the new report cards as the best way to report on student learning. Parents and community must know that this is not a way to give everyone “warm fuzzies” but to recognize the different types of learners we are seeing in the classroom.
    Good luck with your new little person. Have a great maternity leave!

    Reply

    • Melissa Everitt-Dallinger
      Oct 15, 2011 @ 14:03:43

      Marci, I know that not all our teachers support it as it is change…and change is chaotic! But, as I’ve said at two PD sessions already, having the chance to chat out the theory behind this new reporting process with a parent who happens to be an EA at our school, has made me more confident than ever that this is the right thing. I could even see it going a step further…to no report cards until June, but more frequent and in-depth parent/teacher/student meetings where truly profound and honest communication can occur. Imagine. Sure, people would argue that 1) it would take more time and 2) you wouldn’t get all the parents out. I would argue that it would take the same amount or less time than writing all those reports that will or won’t be read and may or may not be understood. I would say that we will never get 100% parent participation in any of our events, but that the parents who would attend would be able to ask their questions and perhaps truly understand their child’s academic career. I would rather have a face to face about Jack and baby 2 than a piece of paper any day! But that’s just me!

      Reply

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