As the end of the year rolls around, most students tend to allow the information they’ve learnt slip away as they start planning for their summer holidays in those party pools!!
As parents, however, you will be well aware that this time of year also means your child’s school report will be handed out any day now. Or for some, you’ve already received it! For some schools, they are relatively easy to break down and work out where your child excels and how they can improve. For others, it’s not so easy! But don’t stress about it too much! We here at Markitup have crafted a nifty guide to help you understanding your child’s end of year report. 😀
Report Target #1: Learning Outcomes
Generally, the beginning of the report will address how your child ranked in terms of ‘learning outcomes’. These are descriptions of criteria from the curriculum which your school has decided are essential knowledge for your child to have so they can progress to a new grade next year. The ranks can be based off particular exams sat within school – like assignments or topic tests – or on their progress overall with their submitted homework (mainly primary school).
Report Target #2: Personal Profile
Next comes the ‘personal profile’ of your child. These are based on classroom etiquette and behaviour. Most subjects will have the same requirements for a student’s ‘personal profile’, so this section is a good indicator of how eager your child is to participate in certain subjects. For example, a student who enjoys Science should see greater results in their ‘personal profile’ as they are attentive in class and appreciate the content. By paying attention to this area, improvements in self-management, behaviour and attitude can make an overall difference to your child’s grades. Take a look at this area very carefully, work and explain it to your children so they can self-reflect and try to improve for next year. Give them tips to try to work on and improve, because sometimes they don’t realise what they are doing wrong.
Report Target #3: Assessment/Exam Scale
This is generally followed by some form of scale, measuring your child’s performance against those in their cohort. Similar to the NAPLAN, this scale provides an indication of the exam average, and the range of student achievements, from the highest to lowest mark. You are then able to see visually where your child sits across the cohort, and what the spread of student performance is like. This scale is a great indicator of the quality of students in your child’s class, and how difficult the content is. You shouldn’t be too concerned about your child’s performance if they receive a 65 and the highest mark in the class is an 78, but should inquire about how that particular exam was structured, was it a hard or an easy exam?
Reason being, sometimes exams are made too difficult or they were given too little time to complete the exam. Just remember, exams are made by human – teachers, who can only estimate from their perspective (and experience ‘how easy’ or ‘how hard’ an exam is). It is always best to ‘see’ the exam paper for yourself and judge before commenting on whether your child did poorly or well (as it will most likely set off some rebellious atttitude).
Report Target #4: Comments
A comment should be provided directly addressing your child. While many schools use a computer system which means the comments are generalised according to a child’s ranking, they do provide insight into what their teacher believes they need to improve on the most. Comments are structured in a particular format; first a general comment is made addressing class behaviour and engagement, then an analysis of their learning achievements and progression, and finally some advice on how to improve. If you are concerned about any of the comments, most teachers are more than happy to clarify them before the end of term.
The one thing we don’t like about the comments is that sometimes it is fairly generic. The best reports will give you specific areas that the students need to work on. For example, Jane struggles to convert in measurements or doesn’t remember her formulas for areas as well. This is why idependent assessment works best to pinpoint area of weakness so that you can work on actions to improve.
We have provided a sample of what a general school report would look like for high school students below. Our student, Jane Smith, is a relatively well performing student, who enjoys English, but is not too keen on class discussions. This means by not participating in class discussions, the teacher is unable to check whether she understands the content well or challenge her thoughts. Her exam mark – which addresses her results in her most recent test – is considerably lower than her assessment mark – which is indicator of her overall performance. However, we can see in the exam average that the majority of the cohort found the exam challenging, and her ranking actually improved due to her performance! Instances like this are a common occurrence, and so it is vital that, as a parent, that one mark is not necessarily an indicator of overall performance.
Want us to help you analyse your child’s school report as well? Book us in and we’re happy to have a chat.