In This Together

As Semester 1 draws to a close and the girls look forward to a well-deserved break, I thought it timely to offer some advice about engaging with the feedback offered by teachers in the end of semester report.

There is a great deal of information contained in both the Primary and Secondary reports. However, too often the achievement grade or mark becomes the sole focus of both girls and parents. Yes, this data is very important, but the report contains so much more information that is designed to offer feedback and to guide the student in the best way forward to see improvement in their learning. How can you as a parent assist your daughter to unpack the content of her report and help in the development of learning goals for the second half of the year?

Parents of girls in Kindergarten to Year 10 will be receiving an email next week to let you know that your daughter’s report is available to be accessed on the portal. Once you receive this message, I think it is important to sit down with your daughter and read through the report together. By taking the time to do this, it gives you the opportunity to assist your daughter to ask a number of questions that will help her to analyse the information from the report. This could begin with an initial reading of the report with a focus upon questions such as:

• What are three things of which you are most proud in this report?
• What are three areas that you think need further development?

By commencing with these types of questions it will allow your daughter to not only consider what some of the positive things that come out of the report feedback but also encourages her to start to consider the areas that require some attention to see an improvement.

A more detailed reading of the report comments could follow to fully unpack the feedback provided in each subject comment. May I suggest a very useful strategy to do this, one that I use in my teaching of essay writing, that I think can be applied to the reading of report comments to enable the identification of the key messages of the comment. Take three different coloured highlighters and a printout of the report. Who does not enjoy an exercise that involves multicoloured highlighters! Read through each comment again. As you read, highlight in a different colour each of the following:

• Suggestions about what has gone well
• Suggestions about what has not gone so well or needs improvement
• Advice or strategies in order to see improvement

By identifying these things in the comments, you can then have a discussion with your daughter about what the report suggests are the main areas for development in the coming semester. This is a strategy that we use regularly but by starting this conversation at home it will give you the opportunity to discuss with your daughter some possible goals that she can set for herself as a learner in Term III. In the Secondary School, activities such as this will happen early in the new term but if your daughter has gone through the process at home first it will give her a chance to really consider the main pieces of advice and what she wants her focus to be in the coming semester.

These are just some suggestions to help you and your daughter to get the most out of the feedback in their semester report. Of course, as always, if you want to discuss any of the feedback in the report do not hesitate in contacting the relevant class teachers or other appropriate staff member.

Andrew Gallagher
Director of Curriculum