Assessment and reporting: A brief outline for QTU members for Term 2 2020.

QTU Vice-President's comment 29 April 2020

With Term 2 curriculum delivery well underway, albeit in a remote and flexible fashion, teachers, school leaders, students and parents continue to adjust to “learning from home”. We know it is not business as usual in our schools, and it may not be for some time yet.

The next issue for teachers and school leaders is how assessment and reporting will look for Term 2.

Today, the department has released supporting assessment and reporting guidelines for Queensland state schools in Term 2 (Academic reporting requirements for State Schools - Term 2, 2020).  The document provides guidance on how to assess and report, aligning Term 1 face-to-face teaching with Term 2 remote and flexible teaching and learning methods.

What do the new guidelines mean for teachers, school leaders and the school community?

The department, after consultation with stakeholders, has adopted the position of continued assessment and reporting for the term and Semester 1. You will have access to information, including anecdotal or progress information on students from Term 1. Students will continue to participate in the flexible and remote learning processes adopted by each school.

Two options have been proposed for schools to choose between (following consultation, of course). Either of the options can be used, however one option lends itself better to primary settings and one lends itself better to secondary settings.

What are the two options for assessment and reporting?

Option 1 is a modified version of the current reporting requirements allowing for reporting on each subject but recognising that the achievement is indicative. As this would require reporting in all subjects, it is anticipated this may be the preferred option of most secondary schools.

Option 2 is to modify the current reporting requirements to reflect the Operating Guidelines for Queensland State Schools. If this is the option for your school, reporting would be aligned to a minimum of 4 KLAs that are supported this term in the home learning program.  In addition, primary school settings may further modify the arrangements for reporting on prep students.

How do we consult at a school level?

Consultation could include discussion and decisions at your online briefings or staff meetings, which many schools are now holding. Alternatively, members could complete a simple survey after reading and discussing the requirements as a staff.

How can we guarantee that the disruptions don’t mean the result is less accurate than normal?

Your planning and teaching for this term has been developed on the basis of the learning outcomes of students in your classes or subjects last term. That cycle for teaching, learning and responding to student progress continues throughout this term. However, conducting assessments in a remote learning environment is complex. Consequently, the achievement standards may support progress decisions rather than attainment.

This should also take into account the uncertainty surrounding the end of Term 1, a time when the pandemic level and infection rate was rising rapidly and student attendance became less consistent on a daily basis, and as a result some students may have missed assessments or exam blocks.

Your school can choose to forgo comments – if it hasn’t already – and include the comments “this is an indicative result at this stage” or “your child is progressing their understanding of…”.

Depending on what option you and your school community decide upon, you will be able to use the language and points provided in the department’s assessment and reporting guidelines to communicate the decision with parents.

What about my workload?

Many of you are receiving work back from students, either by paper or electronically. Your usual methods of collating student work samples and marking would apply.

Is this a change from normal practices?

As is the current practice, schools are only required to report formally twice a year. Some schools offer students and parents an interim report card at the end of Terms 1 and 3. There remains no requirement from the department for Term 1 interim reports to proceed, however this decision would be made by the school following consultation.

What are the timelines?

The timelines should be established following consultation. This may mean that Semester 1 report cards are distributed early in Term 3 rather than at the end of Term 2. That gives all staff a chance to manage workload in the completion of reports for students.

What about parent/teacher interviews?

At this time, parent/teacher interviews can be offered, but as social distancing restrictions remain in place, they can only proceed via telephone or videoconference.

How can behaviour and effort be reported?

You will have information from Term 1, with further information also gathered from engagement, participation and learning completed in Term 2, within the remote and flexible learning mode. Your school may choose to make a comment on the report card about behaviour and effort.

Teachers in our schools have adjusted so rapidly to totally turn around the mode of teaching to best support students in accessing teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also remain best placed to assess and report on student progress and to use that progress to inform further teaching and learning. The assessment and reporting guidelines for Term 2 offer flexibility for schools to adjust reporting to best fit their mode of operation. These guidelines provide a reasonable and common-sense way in which to communicate student progress in uncertain times.

Cresta Richardson

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