Reporting to Parents – High Schools

Assessment and reporting forms a large part of teacher workload and is a valuable communique about student progress.

So, where reporting is kept concise, relevant and easily understood by parents, both the professional function of appropriate communication about a student’s progress and reasonable teacher workload are ensured. The AEU sees the written report as an accompaniment to conversations with parents/carers about their child’s progress.

Guidelines for reporting to parents were established by the Ministerial Taskforce on Reporting to Parents in 2006

These guidelines were reviewed in 2013 and the DoE has subsequently published both the Assessment and Reporting Policy.

This Fact Sheet is the AEU’s interpretation of the requirements under these guidelines.

There are three phases to the yearly reporting cycle.

Early Progress Report

A very short statement issued 5-8 weeks into the year to let parents know how their child is settling in and alert them to any concerns. This report usually takes the form of a one-page checkbox report on student work habits. No comment is required and parent interviews are requested in the instance of students who are not performing to the standard expected.

Mid-year Report

The mid-year report includes information on the student’s work habits, and where there is no progress bar, also includes information on the student’s progress.

Word limits

Suggested: 80-word limit on all teacher subject comments.

Comments should be purposeful, covering only three aspects:

  • Topics covered; work attempted thus far
  • How the student is working in the subject area
  • Recommended future focus

Review of report comments

Often the written parts of reports contain information which need not be there. Teachers need to hone their craft of report  writing so that unnecessary information is avoided. If there is to be a general comment from a class teacher, then this needs to be limited to a couple of sentences.

Some examples of wasted words and how this can be avoided:

Where some reporting comment simply describes aspects of the Australian Curriculum (AC), this should be covered by reference to the AC documents.

Frequently teachers refer to student work habits, levels of enthusiasm, attitude to work etc. Such aspects are easily covered in the tick-box section on application and work habits and should be avoided in the comments section

Reference is sometimes made in teacher comments to the standard of work produced by the student. This too can be avoided as it is covered off in the A-E rating provided for each subject area under the AC.

It is possible to further expand the tick-box rating system in core subject areas to provide a breakdown of key skill areas, details of which are not possible under a simple A-E subject rating. This will make it much quicker to provide an accurate report on how a student is coping within the range of specific skill areas. English, for example, may include written expression, reading comprehension, spoken language skills and listening skills.

A short, one sentence statement of future focus for each subject area should be included as additional to the above word limits.

End of Year Report

A summary of the year’s results to be issued at least 10 days before the end of the school year.  This timing gives parents the chance to talk to teachers before the end of the school year.

The importance of consultation

It is clear from AEU and independent research that where leadership consults with staff in the development of school assessment and reporting policy and procedures teachers are much more likely to view such policy and procedures positively.

References & further information

DoE Website www.education.tas.gov.au