Feedback Matters

At the end of every semester, schools produce an academic report to parents that gives a snapshot of your child’s progress throughout the previous six months. No doubt we all received these reports when we were at school as well. However, even though this system of reporting progress to parents is very familiar to us, it actually isn’t very effective in providing timely information that will improve student learning. Often the information provided on reports is out of date by the time they are published or not giving specific enough feedback for the student or the parent to action on. Teachers across the country spend many hours creating report documents, and that detracts from learning time in the classroom as learning often stops once the report has been written 2-3 weeks before the end of the semester. There has got to be a better way to provide feedback to parents and students in a timelier manner that will allow learning to be positively impacted. 

Of course, teachers are providing feedback to students all the time in class verbally, non-verbally and written. Regular ongoing feedback has been shown through research into effective teaching practices to be a significant strategy that improves student learning, especially when done well. Good feedback is:

However, parents don’t often have access to this feedback process.

Enter the use of technology. Just as technology has disrupted industries like hotel accommodation (Airbnb) taxi services (Uber) and retail (Amazon), education is also in the process of disruption through the use of Learning Management Systems (LMS). These LMS allow us to make assessment far more transparent to parents, and the feedback that students receive can easily be viewed. This changes the need for traditional semester reports as feedback can be provided to parents on a regular, ongoing basis. This improves the parent-teacher partnership, one of the foundations of MECS and allows student intervention to happen in a more timely manner. 

This year we are beginning the process of moving to a continuous reporting model so we can leverage technology to take advantage of the significant impacts of regular ongoing feedback on student learning. This means we will be uploading assessment tasks to Schoolbox from Year 1 to Year 12 and Foundation students will use Seesaw. This is a very exciting development for MECS, our students and our partnership with parents. Keep an eye on your Engage portal over the next few weeks for more detailed information.