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Making the most of School Reports & Parent/Teacher Interviews

Students at a Critical Thinking class

From Director of Curriculum, Elizabeth Watson

Feedback, reporting and reflection

As Term 1 draws to a close, most students have completed their first cycle of assessment tasks and teachers are finalising progress reports. Feedback and reporting is essential in helping students reach their learning goals.  A key element of achieving success is building your child’s resilience and capacity for continuous reflection.

More important than any mark or grade is the conversation at home and at school with the student, which gets them thinking about the specifics of their efforts and helping them develop strategies that will make a difference for future learning.

School reports provide information to help parents start a conversation with their child about their work in individual subjects and how to support them from home in the future.

When looking at these reports, I encourage students to be actively reflective, to be proud of their achievements and to acknowledge areas requiring further development.

Should there be areas that need attention, rather than focus on the mark, students should think about strategies that will improve the quality of their work. They should ask themselves questions such as:

“Does this report reflect my understanding or my effort in each subject?”

“What will I do differently next time?”

Regardless of where a student is in his learning journey, report time provides an opportunity for parents to have a conversation with their child about how they can help. I encourage parents to acknowledge the positive aspects of the report as well as tackle those areas that need improvement. Talk about strategies the student has used that have resulted in successful outcomes and then challenge them to assess their approach to areas of concern. Encourage your child to set some goals and then take the opportunity to discuss these at the parent/teacher/student interview.

In preparation for interviews, it’s beneficial to be fully abreast of your child’s pattern of study; to be aware of the topics studied and any assessments completed. Have a sense of how much home study your son is doing and if he is using this time productively.

At parent teacher interviews, it is also a good idea to jot down notes. Each subject will have different recommendations, tips and advice. Ask for specific areas that need developing and strategies for improvement. For example,

“What particular topics need attention?”

“Did he have problems with his paragraph construction or with his grammar/spelling?”

“Did he perform better in the practical or theory component of the assessment?”

“How much time should he be spending on his major work compared to theory?”

“What can he do to improve his approach?”

“What can I do to assist at home?”

To conclude, some simple yet effective home strategies that will make a difference to your child’s future learning achievements are;

  • create a workspace conducive to quality home study,
  • design a plan that will help manage his workload/extra-curricular commitments
  • and above all keep the conversation open.

 Waverley College’s learning philosophy is to liberate the potential of every learner. Our aim is to ensure that all students can achieve growing academic success by all its measures.