Kia ora koutou
It is nearly halfway through the year and reports will be coming out at the end of this term. I recently wrote about consulting with you about whether you still wanted an overall teacher judgement such as that required by legislation with National Standards – at, above or below in reading, writing and maths. However, it has been a busy term and we have run out of time, and have decided, instead, to trial a report format to see if it gives you the information you need to know about where your child is at in reading, writing and maths.
In this very simple report, you will receive three statements, which tell you where your child is achieving at based on the evidence of your child’s work in relation to a year level. It will be a “best fit” judgement which says that your child is achieving EARLY in that year level in reading, writing or maths (with Early meaning at the level that would be expected within the first half of that year), or achieving CONFIDENTLY at that year level (achieving with the level of confidence expected towards the end of that year).
If your child receives a judgement of confident, it means that we expect that they will begin achieving at the next year level soon or may already be achieving at the next year level in a few achievement indicators. They still may have a couple of indicators to complete at the previous year level. It is a “best fit” judgement, which will tell you, in general, where your child is achieving at. The value of a “best fit” approach is that it acknowledges that students may have one or two areas within a whole curriculum learning area (such as spelling or basic facts) in which they may struggle and in which their achievement is lower than their general achievement. A “best fit” judgement enables all the good things the child is doing to be acknowledged rather than the judgement being held back to the lower level because they have not achieved one or two things.
The value of using year levels as the basis of the judgement is that it means that you will be able to (if you want to) work out quite easily whether your child is at, above or below without us writing the judgement. You will already know what year level your child is and whether it is early in the year or later in the year, you will also have an idea of whether your child is young or old for the year level and from the judgements early or confident at the year level you will be able to gain an accurate idea of whether your child is about where we might expect them to be, whether they are achieving above or whether they are not yet quite achieving at the expected year level. Hence, we will not have to make a judgement of at, above or below, which sits on a report forever and can be damaging for some students especially if they are continually below, but you will be able to see for yourself where they are at in relation to the Amesbury Standards.
By the way, it is important for you to know that the Amesbury Standards are the same as they have always been and are based on National Standards and the New Zealand Curriculum. So you will be able to work out whether they are at the expected standard.
Just to give you a few examples:
1. Your child is a year 5 student receiving a mid-year report. In maths, his best fit judgement is early year 5. Your child is on track and where we would expect him to be at that stage of the year.
2. Your child is year 2 receiving an end of year report. In reading, her best fit judgement is early year 3. She is achieving just above. If the judgement is year 3 confident she would be comfortably above.
3. Your child is year 4 receiving a mid-year report. In writing, her best fit judgement is confident year 3. She is achieving just below where you might expect her to be.
This approach recognises that students are all different and don’t develop in exactly the same way. Some students start slowly and then their learning speeds up. Others start with a hiss and a roar and then their learning slows down. Others have huge learning spurts and then plateau for a long time and then have another huge learning spurt. The National Standard judgements assumed that students should all develop as learners in exactly the same way and when children didn’t, they were “punished” with a “below”. This approach enables you to have an indication of where your child is at in relation to these generally expected achievement standards, without making an explicit at, above or below judgement.
I would be interested in receiving some feedback about this explanation I have just given you. Does it make sense? Is it clear? What further information would be helpful? Please do let me know, so that I can ensure people have good information prior to receiving their child’s report. Thank you.
Nga mihi nui