Traditional school reports are retrospective, providing parents with information on their child’s past performance. Often diplomatically worded, they do not always give an accurate picture of how a student is performing. Instead of drawing on formative assessment to improve future learning, these reports are static without meaningful next steps for development.
Even schools who do provide high quality feedback to their students often do so without involving parents. By missing this step, students are missing the opportunity for holistic support that can be provided by families and schools working together.
Live Time Assessment provides an exciting alternative to traditional reports that provides real-time feedback. Drawing on assessment for learning strategies, the traditional report format is replaced by regular updates on progress. Feedback is transparent, high quality, and makes progress visible.
Using free, web-based applications to create a live time feedback folder, teachers write assessments which are shared with students and parents at regular points throughout the year. Parents are able to see progress and growth in real time and students are clear how they can improve their own learning. Using Google Spreadsheets, parents can be informed everytime the sheet changes through email notification.
Changing the way schools shares progress with parents has improved communication between home and school. Parents get a clear, up to date picture of their child’s progress. Meetings between parents and teachers are more meaningful as they are based on up to date information. When surveyed halfway through the pilot, approximately 80% of parents felt that the feedback folder was helpful for understanding their child’s progress.
As targets and next steps are made clear through honest communication from teachers, parents find it easier to become a partner in learning. Feedback on particular assignments is transparent and specific to their child enabling parents to offer targeted support.
Students are better able to articulate their learning and identify their own next steps for learning. As a result, student self confidence and intrinsic motivation for learning has increased. Rather than being compared to peers, their trajectory of progress is individual.
The Live Time Assessment tool is very easy to use but it does require a commitment to consistency between teachers as inconsistencies in approach become very visible to parents. Students need to be able to have a certain level of writing or typing skills to allow them to write and update their own targets.