As a progressive school, TPS is committed to continually examining its programs, practices, and policies, with a lens to assess their strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Through this collaborative inquiry process, we have already moved our diversity work, professional development system, and curriculum mapping forward.
Since early last year, a group of teachers and administrators have been using this inquiry process to look carefully at how we communicate student progress. Research into the history of our school’s format for student reports revealed that this has been an area of continuous reflection; various iterations of checklists and narratives have existed over the past four decades. The progress report inquiry group examined our own narrative reports and those used by other schools across the country.
The goal was to come up with an improved reporting tool that is more closely aligned with our curriculum map benchmarks, that better communicates grade level skill development, that has a more succinct narrative in each discipline area, and that responds to increasing parent feedback indicating a desire for more detailed skill development information across the grades.
The progress report inquiry group has recommended piloting a new format that combines more concise narrative comments with a skill checklist for each subject area. This winter we will pilot new report formats in the Primary Unit and in 7th grade. Narrative comments will offer teachers’ observations about each student, describing the student’s growth, efforts, and goals for the coming months. Checklists will identify essential skills and understandings and communicate where the student falls within a learning continuum for each.
The progress report inquiry group will reflect on the efficacy of the new format in February and March; their work will include soliciting feedback from Primary Unit and 7th grade families. The group will then make a recommendation to the full faculty about moving forward with a new reporting format for school-wide implementation in the 2015-16 school year.
We are excited about this initiative, and we appreciate the thoughtful work that our faculty has put into this effort to improve communication around student progress.