Honouring learning as a continuous process rather than a series of separate events, teachers design opportunities for students to develop an understanding of learning processes and to reflect on their learning journeys. The mindset shift to communicating student learning creates the conditions for personalized portfolios of learning that activate student voice, inform teacher practice, and engage parents in their child’s learning. Ultimately, transforming reporting to communicating student learning shifts the ownership from teachers to a shared ownership among students, parents, and teachers.
- Learning involves patience and time.
- Learning is embedded in memory, history, and story.
- Learning involves generational roles and responsibilities.
The shift from reporting to communicating student learning encourages schools to provide a continuous window into student learning. Students, teachers, and parents design together, meaningful samples and evidence of student learning over time to demonstrate progress aligned with learning standards.
To support stakeholders with this shift, Surrey Schools:
- Employees a District Principal and two helping teachers to support schools in continually improving how we communicate student learning to parents;
- Provides significant on-going support in the form of professional development opportunities and hardware to school communities in order to explore a variety of inquiry questions regarding CSL;
- Provides support for school communities to facilitate on-going communication to parents regarding changes to CSL and reporting;
- Articulates it’s vision for CSL through the 4 essential dimensions of communicating student learning (capturing learning, opening doors, conferencing, and reporting) and provides a framework for quality documentation of learning: (authentic, reflective of quality assessment and learning standards, activating the voice of all stakeholders)
What has the “SHIFT” looked like so far?
- More ongoing, responsive, and descriptive communication of student learning, including:
An increase of K-7 teachers communicating student learning via digital portfolios, from approximately 25%-55%, as well as secondary teachers beginning to supplement reporting with digital portfolios;
The dominant voice in digital portfolios being that of the student, as demonstrated in the number of comments made within digital portfolio by each stakeholder (graph below);
Phasing out of a long-standing traditional report card with a more descriptive report template that includes student voice and the option to include visuals depicting evidence of student learning;
Surrey’s participation in the BC Ministry of Education’s work towards further developing MyEducation BC as an enhanced reporting tool in Elementary and Secondary and a learning portal in Secondary schools, all in an effort to further improve how we communicate student learning to parents; and
Adoption of a new reporting order that activates and includes student voice through the requirement of a student self-assessment of core competencies (examples below);
- Within professional development opportunities, an increased emphasis on all CSL essential elements including capturing learning, opening doors, and conferencing, in addition to reporting.
- Adopting a transparent and collaborative inquiry-based school planning model that encourages schools to tell the ongoing “story” of learning. The inquiry process at the school level begins with the essential question of, “What do we know about our learners?” An important initial step is determining what evidence is at hand. Evidence is not exclusively “data” – but rather, the focus is on what we know about our learners, and where students are at in their learning. Evidence is actual documentation of learning and growth over time. A “scan” of students and their learning is the natural starting place. What we know about our learners will inform the development of not only a meaningful school-based inquiry question, but also next steps in teaching and learning.
Students and parents share their experiences when the communication of student learning shifts from reporting “events” to a more ongoing process that activates student voice and makes learning visible to parents through digital portfolios.
Parents and care-givers are an integral part of a child’s education. The continuous communication of a child’s learning provides parents with the ability to ‘see’ what their child is learning, how that learning is progressing, and what they can do to support that learning. Henderson and Berla