Day 66 (of 184) report card shift
Today I had the opportunity to think more and more about how ‘we’ communicate student learning. Sadly, much of my thoughts mirror the bullet points used on the report cards I had the opportunity to read.
And my teachers go to great efforts to use the report card tool as a way to be formative. But it’s the wrong tool. Especially as education systems shift away from their agrarian roots to a 21st century mindset.
So here goes some bullet points:
– the letter grade system was first developed and used at various points off and on through the end of the 19th century.
– there was little consistency in what the letter grades meant – though most common was some connection to percentages.
– I have struggled with % since a friend of mine ended biology 11 with 85.4999999999% (an A was 86%) and he found ‘a’ question that was incorrectly marked wrong….yet the grade did not ‘could not’ change.
– reading bullet points can bring out some interesting factoids but not really provide a picture of what the learning was.
– bullet points also only show part of the story
– the letter grades being worked on in the early 1900s were very popular – with the meat packing industry that wanted a way to rank cuts of meat.
– 7 years ago I submitted a third term report card to my principal that had no words – just pictures and samples of a students school work. My principal liked it but was worries that ‘we weren’t quite there yet’
– current technology is making it easier to communicate and easier to document visuals and audios of student learning
– I am by far more confident in giving students descriptive feedback as part of a feedback loop than saying their work was 7/10 (or 3 or B etc) and leaving it like that
– I am by far more confident in showing parents the progress (over time) of student learning than saying “as of such-and-such-a-date your child is a C+ reader”
– I’m not really sure what that last bullet actually means. A C+? Every day? In all reading? Do genres matter (I read sci fi much ‘better’ than historical romance)? Reading for fluency of meaning? Synthesis of reading? Aargh.
– after 7 years I believe we are ready.
– and we can transform single-year portfolios to ongoing eportfolios (for ease of viewing)
We have the tools, the interest and excitement to begin communicating student learning through student portfolios. Ooh – and we have the ‘permission’ (not sure if this is the right word) of our bosses (ministry and school district) and the ‘willingness to try’ of our learning community.
Well, that’s the next part to explore on our journey. But I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some neat sharing opportunities. Sharing of learning – not just counting 3s 4s and As and Bs.
I’m saying this more frequently: It’s an exciting time to be in education!