Elk Island Public Schools
Effective and clear communication of student learning has always been an important aspect of public schooling and is intended to support learning, measure student achievement, and give feedback on specific areas of strength and weakness. Traditionally, this communication took the form of letter grades and generic comments and remained fairly consistent over years passed.
As learner reporting practices and education evolve to incorporate new trends and ideas, the days of rigid report cards are a thing of the past. Schools are turning away from standard grading methods and looking for solutions that provide parents with authentic and informative communication about their child’s progress and learning.
In line with today’s understanding, the purpose of a report card is to keep parents informed and involved in child’s learning. They aim to accurately reflect student achievement and elect meaningful response to feedback. Report cards promote the idea that growth is possible and supported, and indicate to students and parents where improvement is needed.
“…rather than offering a cumulative, final evaluation, the report card should be seen as part of a continuous and ongoing reporting process… the report card communicates information to facilitate improvements in student learning.”On Your Mark, Guskey (2015)
A report card is an invitation for a conversation about student learning and achievement.
In 2014, Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) established a Communicating Student Learning committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators, trustees, and central office staff. Using feedback from close to 1,000 parents and 400 principals and teachers, the committee worked to create an innovative grading system, which reports academic achievement levels and learner attributes.
Once their research was complete, EIPS was unable to find an existing solution to match their new assessment and reporting beliefs so, they teamed up with DevFacto to design something completely unique.
The CSL Solution
Together, DevFacto and EIPS developed CSL, which currently consists of a qualitative and evidence-based digital report card as well as a Learning Wall: an online portfolio of student work that includes things like writing samples, video presentations and audio.
Digital Report Card
- Compatible with an outcomes based assessment system
- Teachers can assess learners and enter grades and comments
- Administrators can review, comment and approve
- Report cards are published and accessible to parents online
The Learning Wall
- Students, teachers and parents can post “evidence of learning” (pictures, documents, videos and more)
- Teachers can examine the Learning Wall when making professional judgments about student achievement
- Items can be shared or kept private
- Learning Wall stays active year over year to show ongoing student progress
Less Time to Approve Report Cards
Less Time to Create Report Cards
In its pilot year, EIPS selected 11 schools to trial the CSL solution and worked with them to make adjustments and revisions as required. The feedback from these schools has been overwhelmingly supportive and positive. As a result, the full implementation of CSL will take place in the 2016-2017 school year with a total of 26 participating schools.
The CSL solution is innovative, inclusive, and based on what stakeholders have indicated they want to see in a reporting system. According to EIPS, CSL has helped to enhance their quality of education by building strong partnerships among students, teachers, and parents.
Benefits for Administrators
- Administrators spend 50% less time to read and edit report cards compared to the previous system
- Reviewing and editing report cards is much easier than with the previous report cards
- The solution is intuitive, user friendly, and requires minimum training
Benefits for Teachers
- Teachers spend 60% less time to create report cards compared to the previous system
- Teachers can use a clear and parent-friendly five-point numerical scoring scale to indicate student achieving in alignment with CSL methodologies
- Sharing personalized information about each student in relation to learner attributes, areas of strength, areas for growth, and next steps is secure
Benefits for Parents
- EIPS parents have given CSL a 93% approval rating
- The new report card gives parents a much clearer picture of their child’s achievement
- Demonstrates a reliable, valid, and parent friendly way to communicate, represent, and share evidence of student learning
- Parent/teacher/student conferences now focus on student achievement, rather than an explanation of the report card
An Exciting Future for CSL
CSL has a number of planned future enhancements including:
Additional assessment and reporting practices
Support for grades 7-12 including calculated grades and percentages
An improved and dynamic mobile experience for all CSL users
Learning Wall EnhancementsExpanded capabilities for the CSL Learning Wall including family sharing abilities
Improved messaging capabilities both internally and externally to approved family members
Further integration with additional strategic SIS platforms and tools