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Where are we going with reporting..

Last week I sat in the school hall on a cold and stormy thursday night, in the middle of the hall, possibly the furthest point from any source of heat you could have found, for 2 and a half hours furiously marking yr 9 tests ready for the junior deadline next week - I saw 3 parents out of 79 potential.  I couldn't help thinking there must be a better way to do this......

Later that evening I went home and had a look at some of the Edchatnz talk on twitter - the conversation topic was about what teachers spent most of their time on, and it echoed my feelings that we spend far too much time on assessing and reporting, at the moment I feel like that is our main emphasis - and not enough time on teaching and nurturing our students, over the past 3 weeks planning interesting and engaging lessons has had to take a bit of a back seat as I have been marking books/assessments and writing reports for my junior and senior classes for the second of four occasions this year.  I'm not saying that there is no need to assess students - but at the moment I feel like we are assessing for the sake of assessing, but this is a different issue all together!!

So, a few thoughts that I had to make the process more effective for everyone involved.  Instead of having defined reporting dates and evenings, the teacher keeps an online mark book where students and teachers could actually see how they were getting on in real time, updated and amended live (like the one below in I keep in google drive - see this post to set one up).... PE is an internally assessed subject, and for the last 2 report rounds we have not had any internals to report on as they are ongoing, and results are collected in the form of homework and other tasks - this information could be kept in the online mark book and parents/students could drop in at anytime - from the start of the year until the student leaves school.

We could be more flexible with meeting parents - it is clear that the system in place is not working at the moment, especially mid year/mid-winter - a 3 parent night is not a good show, some staff didn't see anyone - many parents are working and have other commitments,  I don't think it would be too hard to increase this ratio with Skype/google talk hangouts and a booking system that parents could sign up for using a shared google calendar, you could open up times which were convenient to you
and also prepare more examples of work and methods to improve learning if you specifically knew which parents you would be talking to.  You would also keep an option to talk face to face with parents who would like to meet with you, I still believe that this is the most valuable way of communicating, but I think we need to take steps to use technology to involve more parents.  The more parents you can connect with and start a relationship regarding the education of their children the better, and if it means being more flexible in our use of available technology then we should be doing something about it now.  I'm not too sure what is happening in other schools at the moment, some of these things could be in place already - I'd be really interested to hear if anyone else had any other thoughts or ideas?


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