Understanding Your Child's School Report
By Kirsten Fisers and Peter McOrist
For some time, a number of Hendersons’ families have been asking about how to understand reports received from schools. This article will attempt to explain what can be gleaned from your child’s report and hopefully answer some of the questions raised. As a parent, it is important to learn to accurately interpret the data within your child’s report in order to play an active role in your child’s academic journey. Ideally, the reports should be presented so that everyone has a clear picture of achievement and the progress they have made. Schools can decide how progress and levels of achievement should be represented e.g. a written statement or a graphic representation.
Any changes you may have observed in your child’s recent reports can be partly attributed to the statewide implementation of the new Victorian Curriculum Foundation to Year 10 (F-10). With limited exceptions, all government and Catholic schools in Victoria are expected to implement elements of both the Australian Curriculum and the Victorian Curriculum F-10. In justifying the overhaul of student reporting requirements, a spokesman from the Victorian Department of Education stated that ‘the previous reporting algorithm has been changed so that there is more consistency across the scale’.
The Victorian Curriculum no longer measures student performance by year level or age group. The curriculum, is based on the concept of one continuous stream of learning. Particularly outstanding students are no longer constrained by year level, and the new system of student reporting reflects this.
Within the Victorian Curriculum, a student’s academic progress is measured against 11 levels of achievement standards for Maths and English, and against five or six bands for all other areas of learning. These are tailored to one of the three broad stages of schooling identified in the Victorian Curriculum;
- Foundation Stage (Prep - Year 2)
- Breadth Stage (Year 3 - 8)
- Pathways Stage (Year 9 - 10)
At the core of Victoria’s reporting system is the concept of personal development. For students in the Breadth stage, it is mandatory for teachers to deliver a comprehensive report that informs parents of their child’s achievements against the achievement standards in all primary subjects and learning areas, with a strong focus on Maths, Science and English.
Reports should provide a clear picture of your child’s progress at the end of a specified period of schooling showing:
- where your child is on the learning continuum
- how well they are progressing towards expected levels of achievement and individual learning goals and targets
- where they need to improve and what the next steps in their learning will be
for English, Mathematics and Science.
Although every school develops their own report format, the example below shows a school report using a visual representation and how progress can be ‘banded’ on a continuum.