I received a lot of positive feedback on my previous post about reporting during the job action. Thank you for the tweets and e-mails linking colleagues to the post. I'm glad to see that I'm on the right track with these thoughts about reporting. I remain determined to use this job action to report in a more meaningful way now that I do not need to spend time with BCeSIS. As I did in my previous post, I would like to note that I am communicating with parents using methods approved by my union, and am not breaking job action guidelines. I have absolutely no desire to "work around" the job action and, while I have not been accused of doing so, feel that it is important that I clarify that here for those who are getting conflicting reports in the media about what teachers are and are not allowed to do.
Since my last post, I have decided to send out interim reports ASAP due to what I have seen in the media and an increased number of parent e-mails. (I'm glad that parents are checking in, by the way!) I want to assure all parents that their children are still being assessed during the job action. It is also important to clarify that the first term does not end until the beginning of December, so this is an informal "check in" like the one we would have had at parent-teacher conferences last week. As this is informal, these interim reports will not include a grade but will provide a look at how students are doing overall. I am going to print these reports, copy them, and fill them out as I conference with each student. In December, I hope to type comments directly into reports, as stated in my previous post, but I won't have time for that with these reports.
After my previous post, Denise e-mailed me a rubric template that her school uses. I loved the rubric idea and designed my own to include in these interim reports. I decided to use three categories: "Not yet meeting expectations," "Meeting expectations," and "Fully meeting expectations." I had originally added "Exceeding expectations" but realized that, after seven weeks, not many students are yet exceeding, but they will be by the time the term comes to an end. For the purpose of an informal check-in, I think that three categories should be fine. Thank you, Twitter for connecting me with helpful teachers I've never met in real life!
At the top of the interim report, I am including a letter to communicate with parents that this is an informal report, that I will provide a grade at the end of the term, and that I will definitely contact them sooner if I have concerns. It seems that there is a lot of miscommunication about assessment during job action, so it seems wise to communicate with parents as soon as possible so that they know what to expect from me this year.
I had a great conversation with my Family Studies class about assessment, this week. (More thoughts on how I assess here.) They really like the holistic assessment style that I am using; some were in classes with Matt in past years, so they were familiar with the style. "It's more fair" was the common comment I heard. Holistic assessment IS more fair! Why would I average a mark out if a student learned something slowly, then mastered it later on? Some were anxious about marks for university entrance, so I am including a note about grade 12 marks in interim reports going home to grade 12 students. Some students wanted to know if I am allowed to send these interims and report cards, or if I am breaking the rules. I hadn't realized that the perception may be that I am breaking with job action by sending reports home. As a result, I edited my interim report drafts and included a statement about the job action and the fact that our union has encouraged us to continue communicating with parents. I'm so glad that I talked to my senior students about this as it helped me to clarify the perceptions of students and the general public.
Below are my interim report drafts. Please feel free to provide me with feedback and suggestions. I'd love to hear from you before I make these "official" next week! I have linked to them in Google Docs format so that the most current version will be published below as these are still in draft form. I am still working on the wording in the various boxes and will likely revise all of them before Term 1 reports are issued in December.
Please note that the format doesn't look great because these are "published" Google Docs, not PDF files. They look a lot nicer in MS Word.
Family Studies 11/12 Interim Report Draft
Social Studies 9 Interim Report Draft
Planning 10 Interim Report Draft
Foods 9/10 Interim Report Draft
I have not yet developed an interim report for my Leadership 10/11/12 class yet, but will likely be sending a letter and a copy of the course outline home once I have finished this project with my other courses.