I have just received a school report for one of my children. This is a mid year report. It doesn’t show me any progress, only attainment. It provides me with an effort and an achievement grade in a variety of subjects. There are no teacher comments on my child apart from the overall ‘Teacher comment’ at the end which gives a summary. This follows attainment grading in terms of Respect; Independence; Responsibility; Caring; Honesty. How does that sound? Does that comply with Australian DECD expectations of a report in a primary school? Does it compare to something similar in your school? How does it compare internationally?
But let’s throw some curve balls into the mix albeit curve balls that are real. This child has been psychologically assessed and found to have a literacy ability of equivalent to a 12 year old and a numeracy ability of a 13 year old. This is a child with an IQ way above her age (just turned 7). She is supposedly being extended to meet these needs. Yet, the report says she is achieving at only a Good standard not the highest level of Excellent. Does that mean she is not achieving at the level she is supposed to be working at for her age or the level she is diagnosed as capable of? If it is the former then there are major issues surely with the teaching and learning happening here, especially as the effort level says Mostly and Sometimes for the two disciplines in Maths but overall she gets the highest level for following the school rules. Surely, that means she is severely under-performing and her effort level is way way way below what it could be given her mental capacity.
So let’s consider the later- she is not achievable at the level she is diagnosed as capable of….. How does that work then? How does a parent or indeed the child know when the bar is being raised in terms of assessment and reporting and when it is not? Given that we know she is not being extended in other areas eg Science for instance, is the achievement grade for that subject for a typical 7 year old or for a child of her mental capacity and the level you would expect them to perform at? I’m confused. I hope you share my confusion.
Then we get into the issues of engagement. Do these snippets of information suggest a lack of engagement here? Or indeed, do they also suggest a lack of really addressing the needs of a child with very different needs? How can any education system really report in such a confusing manner when there are such diverse needs to address with any group of children? Please help me understand.