Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Moanataiari School Reports Part 1 (14.08.12)


 SCHOOL COMMUNITY FOCUS

The Moanataiari School Report for Years 4 to 8 Students

As a school we have always been open to discussing student achievement with parents. We have always had twice yearly reports. National Standards has not changed this at all. Other changes though have had to be made to meet the requirements of current government policy.

In this blog we would like to take you through a guided tour of our reports for our Year 4 to 8’s. We will do a separate blog on Years 1 to 3 because there are some significant differences. In this posting we will explain what our reports are telling you and also why some things are included. Then once we have explained a little more fully how our report and interview system works – we anticipate some responses as to what you are thinking.



The Front Cover

 


The front cover is all about providing the context. At a glance you should recognise that this is your child and this is their current classification.

The introduction tells you that the information in this report is about what has happened for your child in the last two terms. The report is very explicit about reading, writing and mathematics but also considers other aspects of learning. 

The last sentence is especially important. Written reports are only supplements. They can not tell the whole story. It is essential that you come in for a talk. As parents you will have questions, frustrations, issues or information that you want to clarify or share. Teachers also want to talk to you. There are some things that from time to time have to be spoken about but are not appropriate to put into writing.

It is important that you come with your child to the interview. Your child is part of this learning conversation and they also must take responsibility for their learning. The progress of your child depends not only on what the teacher does but the part that you and your child also take. At the interview you or the teacher may also need to talk without the child present.

 The inside Cover (Left Hand-side)


Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Term 1








Term 3








Book levels
Purple to Gold 19-22
Silver to Emerald 23-26







Age
7½-8
8½-9
10
11
12
13
14
15+
 
Making assessments with where children are at is a complex task. On any given day or even within different time periods of the day what children can or can’t do can change. A test or task that a child is able to do on Monday may very well be forgotten by Wednesday. As a result of this you may hear the teachers use a jargon phrase OTJ which stands for overall teacher judgment. This means that when the teacher has considered all the information that they have they think this is where the child is at.

In the New Zealand Curriculum there are different ways that we can see where a child is at. In very broad terms we can talk about levels. Level 1 – the junior school. Level 2 – around Year 4 and 5. Level 3 – around Year 5 and 6. Level 4 – around Year 7 and 8. Level 5 – the beginning of secondary school.

More specifically teachers in reading will refer to book reading levels and colours. These book reading levels will equate to a colour and the colour will approximately relate to a reading age. Parents are familiar with reading ages. If your child has a reading age of nine and your child is ten. You know that your child is about a year behind. Of course if your child has a reading age of eleven and your child is ten they are a year ahead. In the reading section of the report we have aligned these so that you can get a sense of where your child is at.

The green section where the ticks are is very important. This is where your child should be by the end of the year. Look to see where the tick is. If the tick is on the left side of the green your child is either below or well below. If the tick is on the right side of the green your child is above.

National standards talk about: well below, below, at or above the National Standards. Many educationalists do not like using this terminology because of an effect known as labelling and the potential harm that it can do. If your child is always below or well below there is concern around how they see themselves as being successful or otherwise at school. How you handle this is important. Not all students develop at the same rate. Some students, especially boys develop in language and physiologically e.g. eyes at a later date. If we continually tell our children they are failing the concern is that with some children they simply disengage from learning.

It is also very important to note the words by the end of the year. If the report is in term one and your child is not at the standard for the end of the year do not be alarmed there is still the rest of the year to go. However, it is important that you discuss where your child is and what needs to be done for and with the child in order for them to make the necessary progress.

In the term 3 reports we will also indicate where your child was in term 1 so that you can gain some sense of how your child has progressed through the year. In the example above the child had not reached the National Standard in reading at the term 1 report but they had by term 3. On rare occasions a child will regress and they may have gone ‘backwards’. If this ever happens it is essential for you to talk to the teacher, there could well be some emotional or behavioural issue occurring. Children will often have slippage in their reading over the holidays if they are not reading on a very regular basis.

Each report will have a Next Steps and What you can do at home? These sections should make sense for parents but if they don’t ask the teacher what they mean. Every report that goes home does go through an editing process where a member of the senior leadership team has reviewed the report. However, it has been known for mistakes to occur.

Writing
B = Basic, P = Proficient, A = Advanced
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Term 1












Term 3












Sub-Level

B
P
A
B
P
A
B
P
A
B
P
A
















Writing is assessed in primary school using a variety of tools. In Years 1 to 3 we use the National Writing Exemplars. In Years 4 to 8 we use a very comprehensive rubric that is called Asttle. Asstle looks at different aspects of writing and looks at what we call surface features i.e. spelling and grammar and also the deeper features i.e. how effectively the writer is communicating to their audience. The teacher will make an OTJ based on formal assessments and also how children are writing in class. From Level 2 onwards we have a break down of that level into Beginning, Proficient and Advanced.

In this example the child was at standard at the beginning of the year and by term 3 had made sufficient progress to be working above standard.

The inside Cover (Right Hand-side)

Mathematics

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Term 1










Term 3











We have simplified the mathematics report by leaving out the equivalent Numeracy Stages. Mathematics has undergone several different emphases in the last several years depending on the direction that is being given to the Ministry of Education. Up until just recently we have talked a lot about where children are at in the curriculum strand dealing with number. The subtle change that has recently occurred now emphasises a fuller mathematics curriculum, although in primary school there is still an emphasis on number.

In this example the child is obviously behind in term 1 and gone backward in term 3. You as a parent need to arrange an interview and as a parent I would certainly want one as soon as possible.

Learning and Thinking


This part of the report deals with other aspects of the curriculum. It is the place where comment may be made about: Health/PE, Science, Social Studies, The Arts and Technology. It is deliberately couched in the language ‘Learning and Thinking’ because what is critical today (in our information saturated world) is not so much the knowledge content but the learning and thinking processes that are associated with that content.

At the very bottom of the page is A key to assessment terms:
Read ‘The key’ it should help clarify some of the things you find in the report.



The Back Cover

Key Competencies and Health/PE

Consistently

Usually

Sometimes

Not Yet

Relating to others
Shows kindness (cares for others)



Shows patience



Is co-operative



Respects others and self and is courteous



Has a positive attitude



Managing Self
Is reliable



Is responsible



Shows self-discipline



Is well organised



Strives for accuracy



Shows independence in learning



Shows perseverance and completes tasks



Respects property



Participating and Contributing
Will work as part of a team of learners



Shows motivation



Demonstrates leadership



Health and PE
Participates fully in physical activities



Participates fully in garden and kitchen activities



Participates fully in programmes relating to Maoritanga.



Punctuality:




GENERAL COMMENT









On the back cover of the report are those very important aspects of the child’s progress that are part of their personal growth and will impact on how they are going with their peers and with their learning. How the child responds in these areas is critical.

As you can see this child is a saint. We get the occasional one. Don’t be surprised if your child has ticks in a range of places. Three sections need particular mention:
      Health and PE – This section gets a mention for two reasons:
      1. It is specifically referred to in what are called the National Administration Guidelines.
      2. Our garden and kitchen play a significant part in our children’s education.
Maoritanga – This section gets a mention because of our obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and the need to ensure we report to parents.
Punctuality – This section is an issue which we have particularly noticed as being relevant to us. Some children are getting to school late. Getting to school on time is important because:
          1.  Children coming in late miss vital instructions regarding learning.
      2.  Coming into school late is embarrassing for children.
3    3.  Teachers often have to restart lessons or part of lessons again.
      4.   It sets habits for life which are essential for work.

The Report Cycle Years 4 to 8

At Moanataiari we operate a term one and three report cycle with interviews. We do a term three report so that it allows us another term of learning in which to address learning needs. Term 4 reports and interviews do not allow sufficient time to do anything in response to learning conversations with parents.

This year in term 4 to ensure that we are meeting our obligations with regards to National Standards we will be giving a very brief and summary report for Years 4 to 8 only. The report will not be accompanied by an interview as this occurs in term 3. The term 4 report in most cases will confirm what has been discussed in the more comprehensive term 3 interview.

This summary slip that is being sent home means that our parents (Years 4 to 8) will have received three reports.



The Term 4 Report will Look Like this:

MOANATAIARI PRIMARY SCHOOL
NATIONAL STANDARDS Term 4
FINAL Report 2012
Name:
YEAR 8
Mathematics
Reading
Writing
Above
At



Below



Well Below



At the end of Year 8






This report is a summary report for Mathematics, Reading and Writing, and of where your child is in relation to the National Standards for 2012. Although teachers are always happy to talk to parents about the learning of students there are no interviews associated with this report. Formal interviews take place in terms one and three when there is still opportunity to work with the child and family in assisting the child’s progress.

The example above will come home in an envelope. Of course we would like all of our students to be above the National Standards!

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