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									Draft Report Card Templates



Final report on the school based developmental
initiative



March 2008
2
Contents
Introduction                                                   5

Section 1: Capturing context and practice                      9

Participation                                                  9

Information gathering                                         10

                                                              11
Methods


Section 2: The participating schools                          13

Reporting practice prior to participation in the initiative   13

Methods of gathering assessment information                   16

Methods of using assessment information                       17

Section 3: Using the report card templates                    19

Choosing an RCT                                               19

Key Area 1 – Reporting on the curriculum                      23

Key Area 2 – Reporting on the child’s learning dispositions   30

Key Area 3 – Reporting on the child’s social and personal     31
development
Key Area 4 – Supporting parental and child involvement in     33
reporting
Section 4: Conclusions                                        39

Appendix 1 Reflection sheet                                   43
Appendix 2 Using the RCTs – Teacher feedback form             44
Appendix 3 Letter to parents                                  49
Appendix 4 Parent feedback form                               50
Appendix 5 Principal feedback form A                          52
Appendix 6 Principal feedback form B                          56
Appendix 7 Teacher feedback form                              59
Appendix 8 School context data                                63
Appendix 9 School current reporting practice                  69
Appendix 10 School current assessment practice                78




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Appendix 11 Profile of use of RCTs                                               98
Appendix 12 Templates – strengths and challenges                                105




The NCCA would like to thank the school principals, teachers, parents and children
who gave so generously of their time to participate in the school based initiative. The
feedback they offered has made a significant contribution to the process of revising the
Report Card Templates.

The revised templates and information leaflets for schools and parents are available to
download from the NCCA website www.ncca.ie .




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Introduction
            We feel the process has been excellent as it made us reflect. We have learnt a
            great deal and it has highlighted areas we need to look at. [It promoted] …
            dialogue and consultation and reflection among all staff. (1Castletown School)

            The school decided to have an evenness/ balance for writing the reports – that
            everyone would have the same standards of what is meant by weak/ strong
            before putting a tick in the appropriate box. (Baile Nua School)

The purpose of this NCCA school based developmental initiative (SBDI) on the report
card templates (RCTs) was to gather information on the accessibility, usability and
feasibility of the RCTs in primary school settings. The information will help to formulate
advice to the Minister for Education and Science on reporting to parents and to identify
any additional supports schools require to improve their reporting practice. In addition,
the NCCA will use this information to inform any further development of the templates
so that they more effectively meet the needs of schools, parents2 and children.


As the above quotations from school feedback forms indicate, the experience of the
initiative has been a strongly positive one for teachers in primary schools. It has
provided schools with opportunities to trial a reporting template, and/or one customised
to the school’s particular requirements. This process has allowed teachers and parents
to reflect on priorities for reporting on pupil progress and achievement and to give
feedback on the initiative. Much of this feedback was offered through informal contact
by way of email, phone calls, and so on.


During the process of engaging with the templates there were three main points of
reflection and feedback:


       the introductory seminar or meeting with schools and the follow-up support
       meetings
       completion of the feedback forms on the experience of using the mid-year
       templates



1
    School names used in the report are fictitious
2
    The word ‘parents’ refers to the child’s primary care-giver(s), whether parents or legal guardians




                                                                                                         5
    completion of the feedback forms on the experience of using the end-of-year
    templates


As the initiative progressed through the phases of exploration and feedback, further
light was thrown on the priorities and challenges in reporting and on the approaches
adopted by schools in meeting the particular challenges that they identified. In addition
to the direct feedback schools provided to the project team by completing the
instruments designed for that purpose, the choices made by schools in opting to use
and customise the draft templates proved a rich source of data. Essentially, there were
two occasions during which such data was provided – when they used the templates to
issue a mid-year report and when they chose the format of their end-of-year reports.


Interim report findings
The interim report of the school based initiative in May 2007 provided a summary of the
reporting priorities and challenges identified at school level. This report drew on the
views of teachers gathered from their initial encounters with the reporting templates
and on the outcomes of their experience of using them for mid-year reporting. Not
surprisingly, this report noted that the importance of reporting as a means of
communication between home and school was universally emphasised by teachers.
Teachers commented that they particularly valued the two-way sharing of information
that reporting at parent-teacher meetings facilitated. Having a written report was seen
as valuable in that it was a concrete record of information communicated between
school and home. In contrast, teachers noted that information communicated orally at
parent/teacher meetings can be misunderstood, forgotten and/or not passed on from
one teacher to the next. Teachers felt that employing a written report to keep parents
up-to-date and aware of their child’s strengths and weaknesses was important, but
many of them said that they weren’t sure how much detail parents wanted or needed in
a school report, as parents’ expectations varied considerably. In some schools,
teachers said that they were somewhat cautious about what they recorded as written
comments, lest they give rise to misunderstanding or even become the subject of some
form of legal challenge into the future.




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In general, the challenges which teachers highlighted during the initial phase of the
initiative included:
      using language which is accessible to parents so that parents know and
      understand clearly what the teacher is communicating to them
      being objective in their comments
      writing a report for the child who is making little progress or for the
      exceptionally able child
      being honest about the child’s learning difficulties, yet being sensitive to the
      parent’s and child’s feelings
      arriving at agreed meanings for grades and comments – here, the need for
      consistency was discussed, largely in response to fears that teachers might report
      differently from one year to the next thereby causing concern to parents and
      leading to misunderstandings. In this context, it was observed that a child’s
      learning can also vary from year to year.
      setting clear targets for children in an effort to use reporting as a means to
      support learning


Moving into the second phase of the initiative
Although they allowed for different formats in the ways in which schools could record
the progress and achievements of pupils, the 11 NCCA templates—and later those
customised to the requirements of individual schools—were consistent in their focus on
four key areas of the child’s learning and development.
1. reporting on the child’s learning across the curriculum
2. sharing the insights gained into the child’s learning dispositions
3. reflecting on the child’s social and personal development
4. supporting parental and child involvement in reporting


As the initiative moved into its second phase, the debate within and across schools
focused on how best to ensure that each of the four key areas could be covered
satisfactorily in reporting. Consequently, the emerging issues and questions included
      how to establish shared targets for learning
      the level of detail needed to report adequately on the child’s learning
      how to communicate information about progress in ways that could be clearly
      understood by all parents



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     how best to share assessments that were both supportive and accurate
     whether or not learning was best indicated by reference to scaled judgements
     where scales were used, how to maximise their transparency and meaning
     how to facilitate the child in making a meaningful input into his or her own report
     how to ensure that the reporting process met adequately the needs of school
     and home




Structure of the report
Section 1 of the report offers a broad overview of the initiative. Section 2 describes the
participating schools and offers some further analysis of the initial feedback on their
reporting priorities. Section 3 focuses in turn on reporting on the curriculum, on the
child’s learning dispositions, on the child’s social and personal development, and on
the contribution that the parent and child can make to the reporting process – the four
key areas of reporting. It deals also with how the feedback from teachers and parents
on the experience of using the templates has helped to clarify issues more fully. Finally,
section 4 outlines the main conclusions arising from the initiative, and indicates how the
templates might be revised for use in the future.      As far as possible, the detailed
feedback from school principals, teachers, and parents has been included in the
appendix material.




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Section 1. Capturing context and practice
Three key questions guided the design of the initiative. These questions asked to what
extent and to what effect the report card templates were


      accessible to principals, teachers and parents
      useful to principals, teachers, parents and beneficial for children
      feasible for schools


Participation
There were two models of school participation – sustained supported participation, and
supported participation in partnership with the INTO. The draft RCTs were available on
the NCCA website at www.ncca.ie for any school/teacher who wished to try out one or
more of the templates in their own classrooms. The RCTs were accompanied by a
guide to support schools in using the templates.


Different levels of participation through these two models necessitated different
methods of engagement with the teachers, principals and parents. Methods of
information gathering for each school were determined by the school’s reporting
practices and needs, the time which schools had to participate in the initiative, the
information required as part of the initiative, access to school personnel, and the timing
of the work with schools, among other factors.



Sustained supported participation
Table 1 outlines the work with schools in the sustained supported model of
participation.

Table 1: Interaction with schools through sustained supported participation

    NCCA staff               Number of                          Activities
                              schools
Two NCCA education           6 schools in Cork   Introductory seminar/introductory meetings
officers                     City and County      with individual schools
                             6 schools in        Follow-on site visits with schools*
                             Dublin City         Ongoing support – phone, email
                             2 schools in
                             Galway County




                                                                                              9
 NCCA director               Provided ongoing support to the education officers and worked with
                             the schools if and when need arose.

 * The duration and frequency of the site visits varied from school to school. Some schools had full-day and
 fewer visits, while other schools had shorter day and a greater number of visits.


 Supported participation
 Table 2 outlines the work with schools in the supported model of participation.

 Table 2: Interaction with schools through supported participation

  INTO/NCCA staff                  Number of                                 Activities
                                    schools
 INTO Education                   4 schools in              The individual committee member led the
 Committee                        Dublin                    initiative in his/her own school.
                                  1 in Cork
                                  1 in Westmeath
                                  1 in Galway
                                  1 in Limerick
                                  1 in Tipperary
 (INTO Co-ordinator               6 schools in          Introductory seminar/meetings with
 for the initiative)              Limerick/Ennis        individual schools
                                  area                   Follow-on site visits with schools*
                                                        Ongoing support – phone, email
                                                         Ongoing support to the Education
                                                         Committee members participating in the
                                                         initiative
 NCCA Project Team           Provided ongoing support to INTO Co-ordinator

* As with the sustained support model of participation, the duration and frequency of these site visits varied
from school to school.


 Information gathering
 As Tables 1 and 2 show, the ongoing contact with NCCA/INTO personnel allowed the
 processes of information gathering to be interactive. In addition to this ongoing contact
 there were three key points at which the following kinds of information were gathered:
  1.     Context: The purpose of this first phase of information-gathering was to describe
         schools’ reporting practice prior to involvement in the initiative, and to note the
         successes, challenges and priorities associated with that practice. An overview
         of the schools’ reporting practice is presented in Table 5 on page 13.
  2.     Formative evaluation: This second phase of information-gathering involved the
         process of using the draft RCTs in real-time, documenting the experiences of
         principals, teachers and parents with the templates.
  3.     Outcome evaluation: This third phase of information-gathering examined the
         impact of teachers’ use of the draft RCTs against the intended or hoped-for




 10
      impacts or outputs. It provided signals to the NCCA on how the RCTs could be
      improved to better meet the needs of principals, parents, teachers and children.




Methods
As outlined in the Activities column in Tables 1 and 2, the interaction with schools
involved four kinds of activity each of which is briefly outlined below.


1. Introductory seminar/school meeting
Each school was introduced to the draft RCTs and to the developmental initiative
through a seminar or meeting. Two group seminars took place—one in Dublin and one
in Cork. Principals and teachers from three schools attended each of the seminars. The
principals and teachers from the remaining schools were introduced to the initiative
through individual school meetings. In the seminars and the school meetings,
participants were invited to reflect on their reporting practice and to consider the
following questions:
     What aspects of children’s learning do you consider it important to report on? Are
      there priorities?
     What do you consider is valuable about reporting?
     What challenges arise for you in reporting?
     What would you like to develop in your reporting on children’s progress and
      achievement?


2. School visits
Supported by an NCCA staff member, the INTO co-ordinator or the INTO Education
Committee member, staff in each school explored and discussed the draft RCTs and
identified strengths and challenges of various features of the templates in the context of
their own school. Informed by these discussions, staff made decisions about which
RCTs to use and when.


3. Ongoing contact
There was ongoing contact with principals and teachers throughout the initiative. This
contact was provided by telephone and email.




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4. Feedback forms
Teachers, principals and parents recorded their experience with the RCTs using
feedback forms provided by the NCCA. These forms are included in the appendix
material.


Just as the templates provided schools with an opportunity to make choices from a
variety of approaches to reporting, so too the teachers making those choices were
working in a variety of school settings, each with its own context and set of practices in
this regard. A key task for the initiative was to capture that variety of context and
practice. Would all schools report to parents on the same number of occasions, and at
the same times of the year? Would the schools employ combinations of verbal and
written reporting in equal measures? How would the schools gather, record and share
assessment information about the progress and achievements of pupils? What would
schools report as being their greatest successes in reporting and what range of
challenges for schools would emerge? How would parents respond to the school’s use
of the report card templates? What kind of reports on their children’s progress in school
would they most like to see?


The next section of the report provides more information on the schools themselves
before returning to these questions in Section 3.




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Section 2. The participating schools

In total, 29 schools participated directly in the initiative – 14 through sustained
supported participation, and 15 through supported participation. Twenty-one were
located in urban areas and the remainder in rural locations. Twenty-three schools were
English-medium and six were Irish-medium. Eight schools participated in the School
Support Programme (DEIS). One special school took part.


Tables 3 and 4 provide an overview of additional profile data for the schools.

Table 3: School type
           School type                                           Gender mix
 Vertical    Junior       Senior          Boys           Girls       Co-ed.         Junior mixed;
                                                                                      snr. girls
   23           3              3            3             2              22               2
n=29

Table 4: School size
        Principalship type                                        School size
Administrative       Teaching             <10 teachers           <20 teachers       >20 teachers
       24                5                     10                     13                  6
n=29


Reporting practice prior to participation in the initiative
All but two of the schools provided parents with an oral report on children’s progress
during the year. Twenty-five schools scheduled parent-teacher meetings during the first
two terms. As Table 5 indicates, the timing of oral reports was fairly evenly divided
between terms 1 and 2.


Table 5: Reporting practice
 Oral report/ Parent/teacher                Written report                 Written
          meeting                                                        report with
                                                                          meeting
Term    Term    Term     None      Term      Term    Term         None
  1       2       3                  1         2       3                        4
 11      14       2       2          0         1      26           2
n=29


Two of the schools chose not to send a report home to parents at all. In one of these
the practice was to meet parents on three occasions through the year and the school




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prioritised this face-to-face contact which, in their view, was what mattered most as it
allowed for interchange between teacher and parent. Of the 26 schools who did send
home written reports, all but one did so in the third school term.



Successes, challenges and priorities in reporting practices
The principals were asked through a feedback questionnaire to identify what they
perceived to be their school’s greatest successes, challenges and priorities in reporting
to parents based on their current practice. Many of the points of feedback from
principals reflected the views of teachers expressed during discussions with the NCCA
support staff.


Successes
The majority of principals reported that the greatest success of their school’s reporting
practice was openness and honesty in communicating with parents. Many of them
referred to the importance of the support and advice that parents received during
parent teacher meetings and in school reports. They were also pleased with the
manner in which such interactions were handled by staff.


The second greatest success noted by principals was the consistent approach staff
took to parent teacher meetings and reports. Principals reported that parent teacher
meetings were well timed and purposeful in terms of addressing key points of
discussion about children’s learning.


Challenges
The areas presenting the greatest challenges for schools in reporting to parents were
the language of reporting, parental involvement and interest, and facilitating pupil input.
Principals and teachers identified several challenges around the language of reporting.
The most prevalent were the use of clear and easily understood language, the need to
highlight concerns about children’s learning without undermining the child, and the
need for a whole-school approach to the language used in reports. Many principals felt
that parents misinterpreted teachers’ comments at times – an issue relating to the use
of technical terms in reports.




14
Some schools reported that teachers found it difficult to highlight concerns about a
child’s learning whilst remaining positive and not feeling that they were undermining the
child. The data suggested that teachers would on occasion avoid writing comments
which could be construed as unduly negative in order to avoid upsetting parents or
pupils. This point was reflected in the following comment from a principal: the challenge
is to state child’s difficulties in writing without being misinterpreted. It’s easier to praise
a child. (Principal, Scoil Bhaile Nua, Limerick)


As a result of the language challenges mentioned above, several principals noted that
there was a need for staff to develop a common and consistent approach to the
language used in reports. This related both to the types of comments written and the
meaning of different phrases. Teachers in some schools had discussed the meaning of
terms like excellent, very good, and so on. However, there was a feeling that perhaps
there needed to be wider discussion around the types of comments that were
appropriate for use in the school report.


Some schools reported that they found aspects of the task of sustaining parental
involvement in the reporting process to be challenging, especially encouraging parents
to attend meetings about their children’s progress. Principals noted that new social
contexts were contributing to changed relationships between schools and parents. The
increase in the number of families where both parents were working outside of the
home was reported as a source of some of this challenge: …changing attitudes to
school as local area is becoming a satellite of Galway (Principal, Westfields Primary
School, Galway Cluster) Schools reported difficulty in ensuring that parents responded
to the advice being given to them by teachers. Problems included getting parents to
listen (Fitzgerald Park N.S. Limerick), and ensuring that all parents attend relevant
meetings around their children’s education (St Catherine’s GNS. Dublin). Schools were
not implying that parents were disinterested in their children’s education but were
rather too busy and short of time to attend meetings in school.


The third most frequently reported challenge was how best to involve the pupil in
reporting to parents. School feedback forms indicated a willingness to encourage
children’s involvement in reporting on their own progress, but it was not always clear to
schools how they could best do this.




                                                                                            15
Priorities
Building on the challenges noted already, the three main priorities in reporting identified
by the schools were the development of a language for reporting that enables teachers
to share information honestly, the development of a common approach to report writing
for all teachers in the school, and the inclusion of the child’s voice in reporting to
parents. Many schools reported that they were keen to develop a school-wide
language for reporting that would be clear in its meaning for both parents and teachers
and would lend itself to greater uniformity in reporting. Feedback from schools also
highlighted the need to develop ways of expressing concerns unambiguously while
maintaining a positive, supportive tone in the report.


Methods of gathering and sharing assessment information
The feedback questionnaires asked schools to indicate the ways in which they
gathered and shared assessment information about pupils. Schools reported that they
employed a wide variety of tests for this purpose and that the most frequent method of
gathering of assessment information about pupils was the use of standardised and
diagnostic tests. Teacher observations of children and teacher-designed tests were
also common methods of gathering information on pupils’ progress.


The majority of schools in the sample kept standardised test results and school reports
as part of each child’s record of progress and achievement. Some schools reported
that they kept portfolios of pupils’ work but this was not common practice. Five schools
kept reports from psychological assessments and Individual Education Plans on file.
The majority of the schools stored this information in hard copy format with four of the
schools using electronic format. Two of these four schools maintained hard copies of
the records as well. There was considerable variation in the length of time that schools
held these records ranging from schools that had no policy on the issue to those that
maintained records until the child’s 21st birthday. The average length of retention time
was between seven and ten years.


The most common way of sharing assessment information with parents was the face-
to-face meeting. Teachers often used this occasion to explain the meaning of
standardised test results and share the reasons for children’s performance. Twelve of




16
the schools gave parents the results of standardised tests in written format as part of
the report. A further three of the sample schools shared standardised test results if
requested to do so by parents.


The majority of schools in the sample used a combination of teacher comments and
grades to present information on report cards. The use of a comments only approach
was favoured by many teachers of infant and junior classes feeling that this supported
more appropriate descriptions of children’s progress and achievement at this stage in
their learning. While most of the principals in the sample reported that the parents in
their schools were happy with the information they received and found it useful, one
noted that the information was only useful once it was explained to parents, and
another felt it was of limited value to parents.


Methods of using assessment information
Schools in the sample used the assessment information gathered in several different
ways. The most common usage was in deciding on access to Learning Support for
children displaying learning difficulties with reading and/or maths. The information was
also used in the development of Individual Education Plans for children with special
educational needs. Class teachers used the information to assist in the planning of
differentiated learning programmes within a class, individual plans for specific children
and/or differentiated plans for groups within a class. Some schools used the results of
standardised tests in particular to plan for whole-school planning. The results helped to
pinpoint areas of particular focus in the school, such as planning units of instruction or
revision. Some staffs reported that they analysed the results of the standardised tests
across the school and identified areas where more work was needed. This process
influenced whole-school planning for the following term or year.


Emerging issues
In describing their practice in assessment and reporting prior to involvement in the
initiative most schools indicated that they used a combination of oral and written
reporting to parents and they expressed a general level of satisfaction with their
procedures for sharing information. They perceived the greatest levels of challenge as
arising from the need to find a consistent, accurate and transparent language through
which to convey their judgements on the progress of pupils. A second source of




                                                                                       17
concern in this regard was expressed as the difficulty of presenting assessment
information accurately in the report while maintaining a stance that was supportive of
the child. Teachers expressed concern that the language they employed in reporting
was not sufficiently standardised, at in-school and across-school level. Their concern
emerges then not just as a ‘language’ difficulty, but as a broader concern that has more
to do with shared standards and consistency in judgements. Sustaining the
involvement of parents in the process and finding satisfactory ways of involving pupils
were also highlighted as challenges.


The descriptions offered by schools of their reporting practice prior to involvement in
the initiative—the strengths, challenges and priorities for development—are strongly
reflective of the national picture emerging from the report of the UCC research,
Reporting to Parents in Primary School: Communication, Meaning and Learning
(2008). This is especially so in respect of the desire to report objectively on the
progress of the child but in a positive, supportive way. Equally, the schools’ perceptions
challenges of consistency and clear communication are reflected in the research
findings and the NCCA initiative. As the initiative moved into the next stage, where
schools selected and used reporting templates, further light was thrown upon some of
these issues.




18
Section 3: Using the report card templates
The previous sections highlight some of the priorities and challenges in reporting on
pupil progress and achievement identified by schools prior to using the RCTs. This
section captures the responses of principals and teachers to using and reviewing the
11 draft RCTs across the following four key areas of reporting:
1. reporting on the child’s learning across the curriculum
2. reporting on the child’s learning dispositions
3. reporting on the child’s social and personal development
4. supporting parental and child involvement in reporting.




Choosing an RCT

Before turning to the four areas in detail, it is useful to record the choices that schools
made in using the report card templates and the accompanying rationale for selection.
There were 11 templates in total, designed for use with different class groups and at
different times of the year. Table 6 shows the range of templates and their intended
use.


Table 6: Range of templates
       Junior & Senior Infant classes                       First to Sixth classes

Mid-year                *4, 5A, 6A               Mid-year               *4, 5B, 6B

End-of-year             1A, 2A, 3A               End-of-year            1B, 2B, 3B
*Template 4 was suitable for use across all class levels.


Copies of the 11 templates and specific points of feedback on their individual
components can be found in Appendix 12. The rationale behind the choice of
template(s) used was obtained through teacher workshops and questionnaire data
(See Appendix 2 page 44, Teacher Feedback Form, Question 4).




                                                                                        19
Choosing an RCT for mid-year reporting
In the earlier phase of the initiative, six schools involved through the sustained
supported participation model tried out the draft mid-year templates, choosing from
templates 4, 5A/5B and 6A/6B. Teachers from these schools provided feedback on
their use of the templates. Parents from one school provided feedback on the
templates they received. Template 4 was seen as clear and concise and was used by
the majority of the teachers in five schools, where they found it particularly supportive
of communication at parent/teacher meetings.


Teachers from Strand Road Girls NS commented:
       I felt very prepared for the meeting with parents, as the headings helped me to
       think more about the child’s progress. And I liked being able to give clear
       specific guidance for home learning.

       It was easier and more useful to fill out than a subject by subject approach. You
       could focus in on a particular area of the child’s learning instead of wasting time
       talking about each subject. The card also helped to keep to the allotted time for
       each meeting.

       I liked that there was an opportunity for the children to be involved in the
       completion of the report as the meeting is about them.


Teachers of the more junior classes in two of the schools opted instead to use
templates 5A/5B because they felt that the graphics used in them were more child-
friendly. Some teachers in the senior classes chose Template 5B over Template 4 as it
had the two additional headings your child’s social and personal development and your
child as a learner.


Neither of the mid-year templates 6A nor 6B, which offered opportunities to indicate
progress in discrete curriculum areas on a three-point continuum, was used as
teachers in all schools felt that it would not be appropriate to grade children’s academic
achievement early or mid-way in the year.


Choosing RCTs for end-of-year reporting
Schools were invited to choose one or more of the six end-of-year RCTs on offer (1A,
1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B). Nine schools opted for Template 1A to report at infant level. The
reasons for their choices included the following:




20
       The tick list covered the main points relating to social development and each
       child’s learning. The “how you can help your child” section was useful. Felt it
       was the most suitable – good split between ticks and written comments.
       (Teacher, St. Bernadette’s NS, Limerick)

        It was user-friendly, covered all aspects of infant education and well laid out.
       (Teacher, Ballycommane NS, Limerick)




Seven schools chose Template 3A instead, maintaining that it was…
       More helpful for parents who do not have a good standard of English. Child
       friendly and clear pictures. Good layout. I liked the use of the stars.
       (Teacher, Millview Park NS, Co. Westmeath)


Again, clarity and accessibility for parents were the reasons offered for this teacher’s
choice…
       Thought that the rating scale (smiling faces) was the easiest for parents to
       understand. I liked the subject rating scale – it was the clearest. Plenty of room
       to write comments.
       (Teacher, St. Catherine’s GNS, Dublin)


Template 1B (7) was the most popular option for use with classes from first to sixth.
       Section on comments by the teacher – opportunity to give a down to earth
       account of child’s ability and progress. The other templates were discounted as
       I felt the “scales” and “continuums” were very broad and unclear.
       (Teacher, St. James’ NS, Limerick)

Six schools chose 3B because it was…
       Phrased positively. Clear for both parents and teachers. Positive aims for the
       next year. The two sections where you have to tick a box or mark the scale
       helps you to cover a significant amount of the areas of the child’s learning and
       progress.
       (Teacher, Buttercup Lane BNS, Dublin)


       This was selected as the most ‘parent friendly’ from a subject
       attainment/standard level. (Teacher, Ferrybridge NS, Co. Tipperary)

Some schools—those involved mainly through sustained supported participation—had
the option of customising the templates to best support their reporting needs. That is to
say that they were given the opportunity to choose which section of the RCTs they




                                                                                           21
would like to use to report on the curriculum, on the cross-curriculum components,
and/or how they might encourage child-input and parental involvement. This generated
data about the components chosen or discounted. An overall majority of schools that
opted for customised templates chose to combine two – Template 3B to report on the
curriculum with Template 1B to report on the other areas.
       Child friendly, easy to use. The information provided was relevant and easy for
       parents to understand. Also the space provided to allow teachers to inform
       parents on how they can help their child was very good.
       (Teacher, Bridge Lane School, Dublin)


In all, then, Templates 1B and 3B and the customised combination 3B/1B were the
templates most frequently chosen by schools to report on first to sixth classes at the
end of the year. These choices reflected a preference for detailed reporting on the
curriculum – through a format that allowed a ‘tick-box’ approach to showing progress in
the subjects, and for individual strands in Gaeilge, English and Mathematics (3B) or a
more general approach with space for comment (1B). Similarly, the most popular
options reflected a preference for indicating social and personal development and the
strengths of the child as a learner by means of a scale (most frequently four-point) or a
continuum.


Least frequent choices
Templates 2A and 2B—the templates offering the broadest headings under which
teachers might comment, and including graphics to illustrate the child’s learning
dispositions and personal development—were the ones least frequently chosen.
Template 2B, for example, was chosen by two schools. One of these, (Woodstown NS,
Cork) a special school, chose it because it offered the opportunity to comment on each
child’s individual progress using standardised headings but without having to grade the
children on a rating scale. In turn, this template was modified so that the graphic wheel
was deleted and was not used to report on the child’s social and personal development
as teachers felt that it would not be easily used or understood and also that graphics
were unsuitable for some of their students who are of adult age.


While teachers commented primarily on the templates they chose to use, the low
popularity of templates 2A and 2B indicates reluctance among teachers to rely on
reporting formats employing general commentary and graphics to indicate progress.




22
Notwithstanding the choices made by teachers to use particular templates, either for
mid-year or end-of-year reporting, there was consistent support for the importance of
the following key areas.


Key Area 1 – Reporting on the curriculum
Subjects and strands
The templates offered different ways of reporting on the curriculum. While each one
covered the core curriculum areas, they differed essentially in the level of detail
provided – ranging from curriculum areas (groups of subjects) to curriculum subjects, to
specification of strands within curriculum subjects. In the course of the initiative the
option for teachers to comment under general headings came to be known as a
narrative approach while the more detailed specification of subjects and strands was
referred to as the tick-box approach. Taking the set of Templates B (first to sixth
classes) as an example, Figures 1, 2 and 3 below give indications of this range of
options for reporting on the curriculum areas of language and mathematics. (For a
detailed breakdown of responses to options offered by the 11 Templates, see Appendix
12.)


Figure 1: Reporting on language and mathematics in Template 1B

                                                                                 Template
                                                                                 1B*




*A key to suggested rating scales (6 point and 4 point) was presented to schools. These were
included in the booklet, Draft Report Card Templates: Overview Information for Schools (NCCA,
2006). See Figures 4, 5 and 6 below for examples of the scales.




                                                                                          23
Figure 2: Reporting on language and mathematics in Template 2B


                                                                                 Template
                                                                                 2B




Figure 3: Reporting on language and mathematics in Template 3B (Irish version)


                                                                                  Template
                                                                                  3B




24
Overall, teachers expressed a preference for sub-division within subjects into the
various strands as opposed to general subject headings. In particular it was agreed
that the sub-headings/strands in English, Gaeilge and Mathematics, should be listed
separately to give a broader overview of the breadth of children’s learning within these
subjects and to facilitate grading.
         As a staff we decided this was the most suitable report template for the school
         due to the layout of the subject areas e.g. English – listening, speaking, reading
         etc. and the layout of the ‘learner’ and ‘development’ sections.
         (Teacher, Fitzgerald Park NS, Limerick)


Some parents expressed a preference for a more detailed breakdown of the Language
section on the infant templates into Gaeilge and English in the interests of clarity.

         The language section did not state clearly what was included. I assume it
         covers both English and Irish and written and spoken (Parent, St. James’ NS,
         Limerick)


In contrast, the heading English (Template 1B) was seen as too general by some
teachers who would have preferred to have the facility to grade and discuss the child’s
progress by reference to the use of the language to communicate orally, to read and to
write.
         Could have broken subjects down e.g. English: Reading writing etc. Child may
         be good in one area of subject and not so in another
         (Teacher, Three Rock SNS, Dublin)

Some teachers noted that they found it difficult to report in sufficient detail under
general headings such as Arts Education, especially in cases where in the teacher’s
view the child had made uneven progress – doing better in visual arts, than in music or
drama for instance. In the same way, reporting uneven progress under the general
heading Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (Template 1B) was also
problematic for some teachers. Indeed, going beyond questions of the efficacy of
recording judgements in either a narrative or tick-box approach, some teachers
expressed particular difficulty in grading subjects like Visual arts, Music, and P.E.
because they viewed these as subjects that focused on enrichment activities.


Some teachers, commenting in a more general way on the narrative options for
reporting on the curriculum, noted two potential difficulties – that relying too much on
teacher comments might produce too vague a picture of the child’s progress and



                                                                                        25
achievements, and that the reporting process might be a very time-consuming one.
This was felt especially to be the case where the curriculum areas and the sections on
the child as a learner and the child’s social and personal development were all to be
completed as narratives. That said, other teachers, and in particular those involved in
teaching children with special educational needs, welcomed the more narrative
reporting approach precisely because they did not have to include grades under each
of the headings.

In general, teachers felt that narrative reporting was hampered simply by the lack of
space to comment. Template 1A, intended for end-of-year use with infant classes,
presented the option to report on Language and Mathematics through a combination of
tick boxes to indicate levels of achievement from 1 to 4 and space for teacher
comment. This comment from a teacher reveals some frustration with this approach,
but largely for manageability reasons.

       [1A] It was difficult to find space to comment on aspects of the infant curriculum.
       Writing ended up squashed and untidy looking
       (Teacher, Scoil Bhaile Nua, Limerick)


Using rating scales to record progress and/or achievement
There were three sample rating scales presented as options for reporting on the
curriculum. Figures 4, 5 and 6 illustrate some of the options provided.


Figure 4: Rating scale, Sample A




26
Figure 5: Rating scale, Sample B




Figure 6: Rating scale, Sample C




                                   27
Teachers reported difficulty in using or referring to these scales, citing uncertainty
about exactly whose ‘expectations’ or what ‘outcomes’ were in question – those of the
individual teacher, the school, or a national standard.


Some teachers and parents commented that they found the use of the star/H rating
scale (used in Templates 3A and 3B, illustrated in Figure 7) to be especially
appropriate for children from infants to second class.


Figure 7: Example of the ‘star’ or ‘H’ rating

                                                                                 Template 3B




The versions of the templates available from www.ncca.ie use the ‘H’ rating, but some
schools retained the ‘star’ symbols. These were seen as positive with even the smallest
star, indicating the least level of progress, being thought unlikely to carry negative
connotations.
         I liked the wording and star sizes used in subject areas. It prevents a child
         feeling labelled.
          (Teacher, Ferrybridge N.S. Tipperary)


The language used in the key for the star/H scale was felt by some teachers to be too
sophisticated, in particular the phrase linked with the top star, demonstrates significant
insights.

            I feel that it will take time for parents to become used to the new format
            (Teacher, Shannon Vale).


Some teacher commentary questioned the suitability of the star/H key for all areas of
the curriculum e.g. Visual arts, Music, Drama, P.E., S.P.H.E., and Religious Education,
at times questioning whether the key to the top star would be better if it said that the
child was very capable and competent.




28
        I didn’t think that the scale and the terms were helpful. Sometimes children are
         able to work independently but they are not competent. Sometimes children
         are very capable but they need a lot of help to reach their potential. (Scoil
         Náisiúnta an Chonartha, Luimneach)

Some parents expressed a desire for greater clarity in relation to scales and keys. In
addition, this surfaced as an uncertainty about statements like needs considerable help
– whether this was implying that parents needed to give considerable help to their child
at home rather than it being an evaluation of their child’s learning in school.


Emerging issues

Teachers and parents welcomed the greater level of detail provided when subjects
were broken down into strands, particularly for mathematics, English and Gaeilge. This
raises the issue of the extent to which subject strands (from the curriculum) should be
reflected in the subject headings used on reports.


A further issue relates to the nature of the assessment information to be included under
the curriculum headings in the reports. For example, should percentages and/or marks
resulting from tests be included? Is there an optimal balance to be struck between the
following approaches to recording assessment information?
   A tick-box approach
   Space for open-ended teacher comment/judgement
   Scales, percentages, test marks, and continuums


As ways of indicating progress since the last report
   Should the use of class average scores be facilitated or encouraged?
   What is the place of weekly or end-of-term scores?


The initiative did not address the issue of recording and reporting on standardised
testing in any significant detail. Circular 0138/2006 was circulated to schools during the
initiative, after the templates had been developed.




                                                                                       29
Key Area 2 – Reporting on the child’s learning dispositions
This area for reporting, which captured the portrait of the child as a learner—his/her
interest in learning, independence, perseverance, interaction with other learners—was
welcomed by teachers and parents as a much-needed opportunity to give an overview
of the child’s approach to learning and as a place in which to comment positively on the
child whose progress in learning across the curriculum might be limited despite having
made huge efforts during the year. Figure 8 illustrates how the area was reported on in
Template 3B – the headings employed and the continuum line along which the teacher
would indicate progress by means of a ‘tick’.


Figure 8: Example of format for reporting on learning dispositions

                                                                            Template 3B




Some teachers recommended that, in addition, areas such as Homework and
Punctuality might be included as headings in this section of the report.
        It is vital that homework be highlighted – this is the arena where the learner can
       show that they are approaching independent learning, and where both parent
       and teacher can see if the pupil is capable of coping on their own, in an
       increasingly meaningful way. In the earlier years, where learning skills are being
       established, practices such as shared reading can be focused on.
        (Teacher, Westfields N.S; Galway)

Some teachers commented that headings such as Solves problems, or Thinks
creatively, or Shows creative thinking and Problem-solving were too vague or that they
had already evaluated creative development in Arts Education and problem-solving in
Mathematics and they were wary of repetition or overlap.




30
Parent feedback on this area of reporting was clearly supportive, reflecting the view
that it allowed for deeper insights into the child as a learner than simple statements of
academic achievement.

       The information I found most useful was my child as a learner. It gave her great
       confidence to see all the different comments
       (Parent, St. Teresa’s NS, Cork)


Other parents felt that gaining an insight into this aspect of the child would help them to
support the child more fully.

       It gave me a good idea of my child’s enthusiasm for learning in the section your
       child as a learner. This will help me in my approach to supporting her (Parent,
       St. James’ NS, Limerick)


Emerging issues
This key area of reporting introduced a new dimension, and it was one that was
welcomed warmly by both teachers and parents. In particular, teachers welcomed it as
an opportunity to address the complex matter of the profile of the child who displays
great interest and high levels of willingness and application, but who appears to be
making limited tangible progress in learning.


Arising from teacher feedback in this area, there is a need for sample material to
exemplify approaches and support teacher judgement.




Key Area 3 – Reporting on the child’s social and personal
development
This area was welcomed by teachers and parents because it provided an opportunity
to present a more rounded picture of the child, complementing the report on academic
progress.

       What I liked most was that the whole child was reviewed. The holistic nature of
       the report. Behaviour as important as results
       (Parent, St. James’ NS, Limerick)




                                                                                        31
Much of the detailed feedback related to the variations in layout from one template to
another; most teachers indicated a preference for scaled judgements because they
were, in their view, more precise and accurate than a continuum. The difference
between the continuum and scale approaches is illustrated in Figures 9 and 10.


Figure 9: Reporting on social and personal development – continuum

                                                                                     Template 3B




Figure 10: Reporting on social and personal development – scale

                                                                                        Template 1B

                                                                                        KEY
                                                                                        1 Rarely
                                                                                        2 Sometimes
                                                                                        3 Often
                                                                                        4 Most of the
                                                                                           time




The perceived difficulty with the continuum approach, as reported by teachers, related
in as much to the physical space available, which of necessity confined the continuum
to quite a short line, making it difficult to illustrate subtle shades of difference between
children.


Some teachers welcomed the inclusion of positively worded phrases against which
they could either place a tick in a scaled set or place a mark on a continuum.




32
       It allowed me to be honest without worrying about how I would phrase
       comments
       (Teacher, Buttercup Lane BNS, Dublin)


Emerging issues
Reporting on the child’s social and personal development was seen as an important
feature of school reports and was supported by teachers and parents alike. In one
sense, reflection on this area of reporting begins to raise a set of wider concerns about
the process of reporting from school to home. A reporting template is a confined
space—an A4-sized piece of paper or card—and it cannot of itself fulfil all the functions
that might be wished upon it.



Key Area 4 – Supporting parental and child involvement in
reporting
Invitations to parents to support their children’s learning were included in the end-of-
year templates. The templates also suggested a number of ways in which the children
might be involved more in the process.


Parent involvement
The templates included headings such as:
       Ways you can help your child (1A, 1B, 2A)
       You and your child’s learning
           o   Next steps in your child’s learning
           o   Some ways you can help (2B)
       Priorities for the next class (3A, 3B)


There was widespread positive response from teachers and parents to the reporting
area Ways you can help your child, which was considered to be very useful. It was
seen as a positive area through which to encourage parental input to the child’s
learning and to give advice on what children could work on for improvement. While it
was very successfully used for end of year reporting, some teachers thought that it
probably would be more useful (and would achieve maximum benefit) if used for mid-
year reporting. In general, however, it was cited by teachers as not only their greatest
success but also their greatest challenge in using the templates.



                                                                                      33
Some teachers found it challenging because they were unsure as to what they should
write under the headings, and some cautioned against an assumption that all parents
would be in a position to help their child or have the ability to do so. Offering such
guidance, they felt, might seem too formal and could become a pressure at home.
Others were afraid that this might be perceived by the parent as the teacher being
intrusive, almost telling them what to do and how they should rear their child. However,
in their feedback parents welcomed the advice given, noting their appreciation of the
comments on how they might help and support their children’s learning.


In response to the inclusion of the heading Next steps in your child’s learning teachers
welcomed the idea of setting targets for the child, feeling that it had the potential to
make the report more than an evaluation of the child’s learning during the year –
adding an Assessment for Learning (AfL) dimension where the teacher could share
future learning goals for the child. Other teachers expressed some uncertainty about
how specific their reporting would need to be for this section to be effective and, in the
context of an end-of-year report, how appropriate it might be to seem to set targets for
a class group that they might not be teaching in the following year.


Child involvement
The direct involvement of the child in the reporting process was facilitated on the
templates by features such as:
         an open-ended space for a drawing, image, written comment, and so on (All
         templates)
         under Your child as a learner
            o   This is me learning…
            o   I am good at…
            o   I would like to do better in… (2A, 2B)
In addition, the heading Key Achievements had the potential to involve both parent and
child.


Many teachers agreed that there was a benefit in self-evaluation/child-input, and they
felt that it would be preferable to allow children to have the opportunity to have their say
earlier in the year at the parent teacher meeting rather than for the end-of-year report




34
cards for which they considered that child involvement was not necessary. End of year
reports were viewed by these teachers as an appraisal of the child’s work during the
year by the teacher and for the information of the parent. Questions were raised about
how much insight a parent would get from the child’s input on a report card without
teacher interpretation. Figure 11 shows an example of how a child might make an input
into the Your child as a learner category from Templates 2A and 2B.


Figure 11: This is me learning…


                                                                             Template 2A




                                                                                   35
Although teachers speculated about the potential of this area some expressed a
disinclination to use it for fear that the children themselves might feel frustrated if their
attempts to contribute made the report appear untidy. The teachers in Buttercup Lane
BNS, Dublin and St. James’ NS, Limerick who undertook to complete this task found it
very successful and thought that the addition of the children’s drawings of themselves
learning made the report cards very child-friendly.


The heading I am good at… was reported to have been used very successfully by
schools that used the RCTs during their parent-teacher meetings. The same success
was not cited by teachers who used this heading at the end of the year.
       I got children to write on report what their success was this year. This was not
       supported by parents’ comments except one.
       (St. James’ NS, Limerick)

Teachers reported that the headings Key Achievements and Priorities for the Next
Class, used in templates 3A and 3B, provided a space for the teacher to personalise
the report and for the child to be engaged more fully in the reporting process. Although
this was cited by some teachers as the most time-consuming section to complete, it
was also considered to be the most rewarding in the end for both teachers and parents.
In particular, parents appreciated when teachers specified one particular achievement
or quality – how the child contributed in a positive way to the class, school or wider
school community over the course of the year.
       I found the key achievements very positive. It’s nice to read good comments
       about my child (Parent, St. Catherine’s GNS, Dublin)

Parents also appreciated the advice and direction given with an eye to the future.

       I liked the list of ways to help my child by using the library more, supervised use
       of the internet, shared reading especially during the summer months (Parent,
       St. James’ NS, Limerick)


Emerging issues
The advice offered from teacher to parent about the ways in which the home could
support the learning process emerged as one of the highlights of the report card
templates. It was seen as assuming or inviting a dialogue about the child and was
appreciated especially by the parents. It was not without difficulty and was cited by
teachers as their greatest success and challenge.




36
How best to involve the child in the reporting process remained a challenge for many
teachers, not least when it raised concerns regarding a necessary level of formality in
the written contact between school and home and how that might be affected by the
child’s input.




                                                                                    37
38
Section 4: Conclusions
In general the school based initiative has been a positive and instructive experience for
schools and parents, and it has provided valuable indications as to the nature and
extent of preferences for any future revision of the RCTs.
     All teachers chose to use the templates because they were so impressed by the
     design and content. It was an exciting and empowering experience for all of us
     and it was a pleasure working with the education officers involved.
      (Principal, Woodstown N.S., Cork)

The schools found the templates accessible and usable and offered a number of
suggestions for their modification and improvement. Some of their recommendations
were implicit in the templates they chose to use and in the ways in which they modified
them to suit their particular needs. Given the comparatively small sample size of 29
schools offering feedback on their experiences, the findings from the initiative have
limited generalisability but do raise certain isses for further discussion. These issues
can be grouped under a number of headings.


A template for reporting
While all schools were in agreement on the central importance of the four key areas for
reporting, the variation from school to school, reflected in their choices of templates
used, would suggest the unlikelihood that a single template for reporting could serve to
meet the needs of schools.


Approximately half of the 11 draft templates were designed for reporting on infant
classes. They employed more narrative approaches (where the teacher would
comment under general headings) than those designed for use with older class groups.
The fact that a significant number of teachers and schools opted to use the more
detailed, tick-box, templates for end-of-year reporting on infants indicates a lack of
agreement on how best to report on these children’s progress and achievements.


Reflecting on their experience of using the templates, some teachers expressed
concerns about the limited space available to report comprehensively on the child’s
progress and, conversely, the amount of time it takes to report in detail on all aspects
of that progress. Of course this issue is not unique to the NCCA templates but it has




                                                                                      39
implications for their further development – that it is important to be clear about the
potential and the limitations of any reporting format.


Priorities and challenges in reporting
Schools agree on the importance of reporting to parents on the progress of their
children’s education and there is a consensus among teachers and parents on the
centrality to the process of the four key areas mentioned above. But the process does
have its challenges and a number of these were highlighted in the course of the
initiative:
     Clarity of communication between school and home emerged as a significant
     challenge in reporting. Teachers noted that misunderstandings can occur whether
     reports are oral or written and that it is important to ensure that the language of
     reporting is accessible and unambiguous.
     Teachers reported at times a tension between the desire to be clear and objective
     in reporting assessments and the need that they felt to be positive in their
     comments and supportive of the child.
     The tension between objectivity and pastoral support is at its most critical when
     reporting on the child who is making little progress or on the exceptionally able
     child.
     Teachers identified the challenge of consistency in reporting as a significant one.
     Arriving at agreed meanings for grades, scales and comments is an important part
     of this challenge.
     Teachers valued setting clear learning targets for children so that reporting can
     have a formative dimension and be supportive of learning.


Key Area 1: How best to report on the curriculum
All pariticipants in the initiative gave their views on how best to report on the curriculum
through their direct feedback on the process. Teachers also articulated their views
partly through the choices of reporting templates they made.
     Teachers and parents welcomed the greater level of detail that could be provided
     when subjects were broken down into strand units, particularly for mathematics,
     English and Gaeilge.
     Teachers were concerned to find a balance in the design of report cards between a
     tick-box approach and more open-ended spaces for teacher comment.




40
   When reporting on pupil achievement, teachers reported a need for greater
   consistency in understanding standards and in the use of scales and grades.


Key Area 2: Reporting on the child’s learning dispositions
Teachers and parents valued this area for reporting especially as it presented an
opportunity to qualify what might otherwise be a negative report on achievement by the
inclusion of positive commentary on the willingness and application of the child.


Key Area 3: Reporting on the child’s social and personal development
As with the above, the inclusion of this area facilitates a more holistic, more fully
rounded report on the progress and achievements of the child.


Key Area 4: Supporting parental and child involvement in reporting
Parents and teachers responded positively to the inclusion of this area for reporting on
the templates. It was found to be useful for end-of-year reporting and to have arguably
greater potential to make a formative impact when included in mid-year reports.
Somewhat ironically, perhaps, it was regarded by many of the teachers as the area of
their greatest success and their greatest challenge.
   Although some teachers expressed reservation about being intrusive when they
   suggested ways in which parents might support their children’s learning, parents
   were appreciative of the clear direction offered.
   There was mixed feeling about the teacher’s role in setting learning targets –
   appreciation of the AfL dimension it offered mixed with uncertainty about appearing
   to set targets for other teachers.
   Although tentatively approached by some teachers, and undoubtedly time-
   consuming, occasions when pupils were involved directly in the reporting process
   were found to be rewarding by both teachers and parents.




                                                                                     41
     We think that it is timely to develop report cards but it is necessary to make
     changes to adequately support the development of the reports. We think it is
     necessary to take into consideration the views of teachers and parents on how
     the templates could be improved and to re-trial them in schools. There is a huge
     emphasis on assessment in the curriculum and it is important that teachers can
     report on the results of these assessments to parents in a satisfactory manner.
     We understand that it is difficult to come up with a report template that satisfies
     the many different types of schools but the effort would be well rewarded we
     think. (Príomh Oide, Scoil Náisiúnta and Chonartha)

This school-based developmental initiative on the draft report card templates has had
among its aims to contribute positively to the priorities reflected in the above comment
from the principal of one of the participating schools. In conjunction with the NCCA
background paper on reporting children’s progress in primary schools (February, 2006)
and the report of the commissioned research on reporting in primary schools carried
out by University College Cork, the conclusions from the initiative will inform the NCCA
advice to the Minister for Education and Science on reporting to parents in primary
schools.




42
                                  APPENDIX 1
                                   Reflection sheet

Before making use of the templates, it may be useful to reflect on your current reporting
practice. Write your responses to the questions below and share them as a staff.

What aspects of children’s
learning do you consider it
important to report on?



Are there priorities?




What do you consider is
valuable about reporting?




What difficulties arise for
you in reporting?




What would you like to
develop in your reporting on
children’s progress?


What supports would help
you in developing how you
report?




                                                                                      43
                                          APPENDIX 2
                  Using the Interim Report Card Templates
                                           Feedback Form
A                                              GENERAL INFORMATION
     This short feedback sheet seeks information about your use of the Interim (Progress Review)
     Templates i.e. Templates 4, 5A, 5B, 6A and 6B. If you have used one or more of the templates
     during this school year, we would be grateful if you could respond to the questions below. This
     valuable information will enable the NCCA to further develop the templates, based on teachers’
     experiences.

1.   I have used the following Report Card Template(s)
     Tick all that apply, including any templates of which you have used part.

                            4             5A           5B             6A              6B
                                th                     st      th                          st   th
                   Infants to 6      Infants          1 to 6          Infants           1 to 6


2.   I used the template(s) because…
     Outline briefly why you used the template(s) and/or what you hoped to achieve by using it/them.

     ____________________________________________________________________________
     ____________________________________________________________________________
     ____________________________________________________________________________
     ____________________________________________________________________________


B                                    USING THE TEMPLATE(S) (GENERAL)
     Please complete the parts of this section that are relevant to the template(s) you used.
3.   It took approximately the following number of minutes to complete each report card
     template Tick ( ) as appropriate.
     1 – 10                11 – 20             21 – 30              More

4.
a.   I used the completed Report Card Templates at Parent-Teacher meetings

     Tick as appropriate. Yes        No

     Please say why you did/did not use the template/s at Parent-Teacher meetings:
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     _________________________________________________________________________
     If you ticked ‘Yes’ above, please mention any aspect of the template you felt was supportive
b.   during (or in preparation for) the Parent-Teacher meeting:




44
5.                             THE FRONT COVER OF THE TEMPLATE/S


a.   What I liked most about the front cover of the Template/s was…________________________
     ___________________________________________________________________________
     ___________________________________________________________________________


b.   The biggest difficulty in using the front cover of the Template was…______________________
     ____________________________________________________________________________
     ____________________________________________________________________________


c.   One improvement I would make to the front cover would be…___________________________
     ____________________________________________________________________________
     ____________________________________________________________________________
C                                        INDIVIDUAL TEMPLATES
     In the following section, C, please complete only in relation to the template/s that you have used.
6.   TEMPLATE 4
     I used Template 4 in reporting to parents of children in the following class(es) (Please tick    )

     Jun. Inf.    Snr. Inf.      1st      2nd      3rd      4th     5th     6th


a.   I found the headings in the template useful in my reporting, as follows: (Please tick )
                                Not useful         Somewhat           Useful            Very useful
                                                     useful
     Brief description of the
     child’s progress to date
     Special achievements
     Areas of learning to
     focus on
     Ways you can help
     your child to learn


b.   What I liked most about Template 4 was . . .




c.   The greatest challenge in using Template 4 was . . .




d.   An improvement I would make to Template 4 is . . .




                                                                                                45
     TEMPLATES 5A and 5B
7.   I used Template(s) 5A or 5B in reporting to parents of children in the following class(es)
     (Please tick)

     Jun. Inf.       Snr. Inf.   1st     2nd      3rd      4th     5th     6th


a.   The extent to which I found the headings in the template useful in my reporting, is as follows:
     (Please tick)
                              Not useful        Somewhat         Useful           Very useful
                                                  useful
     Your child’s learning
     across the curriculum
     Your child’s social and
     personal development
     Your child as
     a learner
     Next steps in your
     child’s learning
     Some ways you can
     help


b.   What I liked most about Template 5A/5B was . . .




c.   The greatest challenge in using Template 5A/5B was . . .




d.   An improvement I would make to Template 5A/5B is . . .




     TEMPLATES 6A and 6B
8.   I used Template(s) 6A or 6B in reporting to parents of children in the following class(es) (Please
     tick)

     Jun. Inf.       Snr. Inf.   1st     2nd      3rd      4th     5th     6th

a.   The extent to which I found the headings in the template useful in my reporting, is as follows:
     (Please tick the relevant boxes)
                                         Not useful     Somewhat          Useful       Very useful
                                                           useful




46
     Your child’s learning across the
     curriculum (with graphic scale)
     (6A and 6B)
     Your child’s social and personal
     development (6A)
     Your child as a learner (6A)

     Key achievements
     (6A)
     Your child at school
     (6B)
     Priorities for your child’s learning for the
     rest of the school year (both 6A and
     6B).


b.   What I liked most about Template 6A/6B was . . .




c.   The greatest challenge in using Template 6A/6B was . . .




d.   An improvement I would make to Template 6A/6B is . . .




                                                                47
D                                              FINALLY…

9.    On the following scale please rate the usefulness/usability of the Interim Report
      Card Templates:
                                           Not        Somewhat        Useful Very
                                           useful     useful                   useful
      Aid to communicating with parents
      Aid to supporting feedback to children
      Accessibility to parents
      Format/design
      Content
      Ease of completion


10.   Additional Comments        Please use this space to provide any additional information.




48
                               APPENDIX 3

                   PARENT LETTER AND FEEDBACK FORM




Dear Parent,


Recently, you received a Report Card about your child’s learning in school since
last September. This Report Card was developed by the National Council for
Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to support schools in sharing information
with parents like yourself. During this school year (2006-2007), the NCCA has
been working with a number of primary schools including your child’s school, to
try out a number of Report Cards.



The NCCA wants to hear from you as a parent about how useful the Report
Card you received was to you. To do this, you will find a form with this letter.
Please complete the form and return it to your child’s teacher by
_______________



Thank you for taking time to complete the form. Your comments and
suggestions will help to make the Report Cards more useful.


Yours sincerely,




                                                                             49
                                 APPENDIX 4




               Reporting to Parents on their Children’s Learning

                         FEEDBACK FORM FOR PARENTS
Your child’s teacher recently used a new Report Card to provide you with information
on your child’s learning. The NCCA welcomes your comments on the Report Card in
order to improve it.

1. My child is in __________________ class.

2. I found the information on the Report Card (please tick)

Very difficult to understand        Difficult to understand
Easy to understand                  Very easy to understand

3. The Report Card gave me

Too little information              Almost enough information
Enough information                  Too much information

4. I found the information on the Report Card

Not useful               Somewhat useful           Useful       Very useful

5. The information on the Report Card that I found most useful in supporting my
child to learn was




6. What I liked most about the Report Card was




7. What I did not like about the Report Card was




50
8. I think the NCCA could improve the Report Card by




                                                       51
                                          APPENDIX 5
                              PRINCIPAL FEEDBACK FORM A
The purpose of this feedback form is to build a picture of your school’s reporting
practice before trying out some of the draft Report Card Templates developed by the
NCCA. This information will help the NCCA to evaluate more fully the usefulness of
the draft templates at different class levels and in a variety of school types.

                            A. GENERAL INFORMATION ON YOUR SCHOOL

1.   School name: _____________________________________________________________
     Address:          _____________________________________________________________
     Teaching Principal                      Administrative Principal

2.   Details of your school. (Please tick all relevant boxes).
     a. Location              i Urban                     ii Rural

     b. Age range i Junior school                 ii      ii Senior school

     iii Vertical school (all classes to sixth)

     c. Gender mix            i Girls only               ii Boys only            iii Boys and girls

     iv Junior mixed/senior girls                      v Junior mixed/senior boys
     d. Language of instruction                        i English-medium
     ii Irish-medium: Gaelscoil                        iii Irish-medium: Scoil sa Ghaeltacht

     iv Other                   v If other, please specify _______________________________

     e. School Support Programme (DEIS)                    i Urban band 1           ii Urban band 2
     iii Rural             iv Not in the programme

3.   Number of teachers in various roles (Please insert number)
     i Class Teacher                                                    vi Early Start Teacher
     ii Special Educational Needs Teacher                               vii Teaching Principal
        e.g. Learning Support/Resource                                  viii Administrative Principal
     iii Language Support Teacher                                       ix Deputy Principal
     iv Home-School Liaison Coordinator                                 x    Other ____________________
     v Resource Teacher for Travellers


                                A. CURRENT REPORTING PRACTICE

                                    Gathering Information
4.   What sources of information do you and your staff use when sharing information with




52
     parents on their children’s learning?

               During the school year (e.g.             At the end of the year (written reports)
                parent/teacher meetings)

     Which standardised tests does your school use? (Please tick all relevant boxes)
5.
     SIGMA-T                                  MICRA-T

     DRUMCONDRA PRIMARY MATHEMATICS TEST

     DRUMCONDRA PRIMARY READING TEST

     Other                   If other, please specify

     _________________________________________________________________________

                                       Recording Information
6. What information does your school keep as part of each child’s record of
progress/achievement?
________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
7a In what ways is this information recorded? (e.g. as comments, grades, graphics, etc)

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
7b. How is the information stored?

In hard copy               Electronically

8. In what ways, if any, is the information recorded differently across the class levels?

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
9. What roles do Learning Support, Resource and Language Support Teachers have in the
school’s reporting practice?
________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

10. For how long does your school store copies of the written reports issued to parents?


_______________________________________________________________________


                                     Interpreting Information




                                                                                            53
11.    Which of these statements best describes practice in your school, when teachers are
       writing reports for parents (Please circle relevant letter)

        a. Each teacher determines his/her own criteria and language for reporting
        b. Teachers at the same level (e.g. infant classes) agree criteria and language for
           reporting
        c. The whole staff agree criteria and language for reporting

12.    How does your school help parents to understand the information on their child’s report
       (e.g. the results of standardised tests, scales such as ‘excellent, very good, ….’ )?



                                     Communicating Information
13.   What information do teachers currently report to parents? (Please tick all relevant boxes)
                                                      During the                    At the end of
                                                      school year                   the year
      Progress in subjects or curriculum areas
      Social and personal development
      The child’s qualities/characteristics as a learner
      Areas of learning difficulty
      Areas of particular achievement
      Results of standardised tests
      Ideas to help parents support their child’s learning
      Child’s own input or comments
      Other
      If other, please specify _______________________________________________________
14.   Do teachers currently share the results of standardised tests with parents?
      YES         NO

      If YES, what information is shared?
      __________________________________________________________________________

15.   Regarding the timing of reporting, do teachers . . .
      (Please circle YES or NO as appropriate)
          a. Meet parents early/midway during the year                      YES     NO
          b. Meet parents at the end of the year                            YES     NO
          c. Issue a written report to parents early/mid-year in the year   YES      NO
          d. Issue a written report to parents at year end                  YES      NO

16.   What sources of information do teachers generally use as the basis for their meetings with
      parents? (Please tick all relevant boxes)

      Their records of children’s progress/achievement
      A written report




54
      Samples of the children’s work
      Reports from the Learning Support, Resource and/or Language Teachers
      Other                                   If other, please specify _______________________

17.   What information do teachers invite parents to share with them?
      ________________________________________________________________________

      _________________________________________________________________________


18.   Do teachers involve children in contributing to their reports, or when meeting with their
      parents?                Yes                             No
      If yes, how?
      _________________________________________________________________________

                                         Using Information

19.    How useful do you think parents find the information they receive in reports?
       ___________________________________________________________________________



20.    As well as reporting to parents, in what other ways, if any, do teachers use the information
       for future planning and teaching?
       ________________________________________________________________________


                                 C. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

21.    What do you think is the most successful feature of your school’s reporting practice?
       ________________________________________________________________________
       ________________________________________________________________________

22.    What is/are the greatest challenge(s) your school experiences in reporting to parents?
       ________________________________________________________________________
       ________________________________________________________________________

23.    What would you like to prioritise in developing your school’s reporting practice?
       ________________________________________________________________________
       ________________________________________________________________________

                             Thank you for completing this form




                                                                                            55
                                   APPENDIX 6
                          PRINCIPAL FEEDBACK FORM B
The purpose of this feedback form is to gather information from you as principal, about
your school’s experience of using the draft end-of-year Report Card Templates to
share information with parents on their children’s progress/achievement at school
during the year. The NCCA will use this information to refine/redevelop the templates
so that they are more useful to schools for this purpose.


                                   A. GENERAL INFORMATION

1.   Name of school: ________________________________________________________


2.   Name of principal: _______________________________________________________


3.   What were your initial impressions of the draft end-of-year templates?

     ______________________________________________________________________


     ______________________________________________________________________


     ______________________________________________________________________


                                    B. USING THE TEMPLATES
     The following questions focus on the draft template(s) your school used.

4.   Please outline any aspects of reporting to parents which you think the draft template(s)
     supported well in your school.

     ______________________________________________________________________


     ______________________________________________________________________


     ______________________________________________________________________


5.   Please outline any aspects of reporting to parents which you think the draft template(s) did
     not support well in your school.

     ______________________________________________________________________




56
     ______________________________________________________________________




6. How did the draft template(s) compare with previous templates used in your school in terms
   of:
     a. Sharing information with parents:

      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________

     b. Time to read the reports:

     Too much time             About right amount              Too little time

      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________
     c. Storing the reports:


      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________


7.   Please outline the greatest success in reporting to parents that arose from your school’s
     involvement in the NCCA initiative.

      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________
8.   Please outline the greatest challenge in reporting to parents that arose from your school’s
     involvement in the NCCA initiative.

      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________




                                                                                        57
9.    What changes in reporting policy or practice did your school make/intend to make as a
      result of using the draft template(s)?

       ______________________________________________________________________


       ______________________________________________________________________


       ______________________________________________________________________

10.    What supports do you think your school might benefit from in developing your reporting
       policy and practice?

       ______________________________________________________________________


       ______________________________________________________________________


       ______________________________________________________________________


      11.    Please use this space to give any further feedback on your school’s experience in using
             the draft templates.

            _____________________________________________________________________


            _____________________________________________________________________


            _____________________________________________________________________




58
                                    APPENDIX 7
         TEACHER FEEDBACK FORM – END-OF-YEAR TEMPLATES
The purpose of this feedback form is to gather information about your experience of
using the draft end-of-year Report Card Templates to share information with parents on
their children’s progress/achievement at school during the year. The NCCA will use this
information to refine/redevelop the templates so that they are more useful to schools
for this purpose.


                                    A. GENERAL INFORMATION

1.   Name of school: ____________________________________________________________


2.   Class(es) taught: ___________________________________________________________


3.   What were your initial impressions of the draft end-of-year templates?

     _________________________________________________________________________


     _________________________________________________________________________


     _________________________________________________________________________


                                    B. USING THE TEMPLATES
     The following questions focus on the draft template(s) your school used.

4.   Briefly outline why you used this/these template(s).

     _________________________________________________________________________


     _________________________________________________________________________


     _________________________________________________________________________




                                                                                    59
5.   On the following scale please rate the usefulness (by ticking) of the draft end-of-year
     template(s) you used for the following purposes.
                                                Not useful Somewhat Useful       Very
                                                           useful                useful
     Communicating with parents


     Sharing standardised test results with
     parents
     Feeding back to children on their
     progress/achievement


6.   On the following scale please rate the accessibility (by ticking) of the draft end-of-year
     template(s) you used.
                                           Not           Somewhat Accessible Very
                                           accessible accessible                    accessible
     Headings

     Layout

     Scales

     To parents

7. Please outline any aspects of reporting to parents which you think the draft template(s) you
     used did not support.

      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________

8. How did the draft template(s) you used compare with previous templates used in your school
    in terms of:
     a. Sharing information with parents:

      ______________________________________________________________________


      ______________________________________________________________________

     b. Time to write the reports:
     Too much time           About right amount                 Too little time

      ______________________________________________________________________




60
        ______________________________________________________________________
        c. Storing the reports:


        ______________________________________________________________________


        ______________________________________________________________________


 9.    Please outline the greatest success you had in reporting to parents using the draft
        template(s).

        ______________________________________________________________________


        ______________________________________________________________________



 10.    Please outline the greatest challenge you experienced in reporting to parents using the
        draft template(s).

        ______________________________________________________________________


        ______________________________________________________________________



11.     Please use this space to give any further feedback on your experience in using the draft
        templates.

       _____________________________________________________________________


       _____________________________________________________________________


       _____________________________________________________________________




                          Thank you for completing this feedback form.




                                                                                             61
62
APPENDIX 8
School Context Data
CORK CLUSTER
SCHOOL            Principal (T/A)   Staffing       Location (U/R)   Age range      Gender mix           Language of   School
                                    Class + Non-                    (J/S/V)        (B/G/B&G/JSG/JSB)    instruction   Support
                                    mainstream                                                          (E/G-Gs/G-    Programme
                                                                                                        Gt/O)         (DEIS)
                                                                                                                      (U1/U2/R/N)
Scoil na gCnoc    A                 10 + 2         U                V              B&G                  G-Gs          No
Cork
Riverside N.S.    T                 3+2            R                V              B&G                  E             DEIS - R
Co Cork
Woodstown         A                 20             U                V+ (Special)   4-16 yrs B&G         E             No
N.S.
Cork
Strand Road       A                 12 + 5         U                S              G                    E             DEIS – U1
N.S.
Cork
Greenfields       T                 3+1            U                V              B&G                  E             DEIS – U2
N.S.
Co Cork

Scoil Naisiunta   T                 7+1            R                V              B&G                  G-Gt          No
Chill Aoibhinn
Co Cork
St. Teresa’s NS   A                 15 + 4.5       U                V              Iv Jnr Mixed/Sen G                 No
Co. Cork




                                                                                                                                    63
GALWAY CLUSTER
SCHOOL            Principal (T/A)   Staffing      Location (U/R)   Age range   Gender mix          Language of   School
                                    Class + Non                    (J/S/V)     (B/G/B&G/JSG/JSB)   instruction   Support
                                    mainstream                                                     (E/G-Gs/G-    Programme
                                                                                                   Gt/O)         (DEIS)
                                                                                                                 (U1/U2/R/N)
Railway Road      A                 19            U                S           B                   E             No
Primary School
Co Galway

Beeches Road      T                 4+2           Rural            V           B&G                 E             No
N. S.                                             Mixed SES
Co Galway

Westfields        A                 7+2           R                V           B&G                 E             No
Primary School,                     (1VP)
Co. Galway




64
DUBLIN CLUSTER
SCHOOL          Principal (T/A)   Staffing      Location (U/R)   Age range   Gender mix          Language of   School
                                  Class + Non                    (J/S/V)     (B/G/B&G/JSG/JSB)   instruction   Support
                                  mainstream                                                     (E/G-Gs/G-    Programme
                                                                                                 Gt/O)         (DEIS)
                                                                                                               (U1/U2/R/N)
St. Raphael’s   A                 16+           U                V           B&G to 2nd          E             DEIS-U1
N.S.                              14+                                        G to 6th
                                  P/T


Bridge Lane     A                 6+4           U                V           B&G                 E             DEIS-U1
School

Old Farm N.S.   A                 24 + 9        U                S           B&G                 E             No


The Meadows     A                 8+5           U                V           B&G                 E             No
N.S.



Main Street     A                 15 + 6        U                J           B&G                 E             No
Junior School

Castletown      A                 19 + 11       U                J           B&G                 E             No
Road N. S.

Scoil Naomh     A                 8+            U                V           B&G                 G-GS          No
Clar                              2




                                                                                                                             65
St Catherine’s      A                 9+             U                V                G                   E             DEIS- U1
GNS                                   4+
                                      P/T
                                      2
Buttercup Lane      A                 13+            U                V                B                   E             DEIS- U1
BNS                                   4+
                                      1+
                                      .5
Three Rock          No Principal
SNS                 Form A
                    received



LIMERICK CLUSTER
SCHOOL              Principal (T/A)   Staffing       Location (U/R)   Age range        Gender mix          Language of   School
                                      Class + Non-                    (J/S/V)          (B/G/B&G/JSG/JSB)   instruction   Support
                                      mainstream                                                           (E/G-Gs/G-    Programme
                                                                                                           Gt/O)         (DEIS)
                                                                                                                         (U1/U2/R/N)
Scoil Bhaile Nua    T                 3+4            U                V (go R.4 faoi   B&G                 G-Gs          No
                                                                      lathair)
Shannon Vale        A                 9+2            R                V                B&G                 E             No
NS
Ballycommane        A                 7+3            R                V                B&G                 E             No
NS
Limerick School     A                 8+2            U                V                B&G                 E             No
Project
Scoil Naisiunta     A                 9 + 1+ 1       U                V                B&G                 G-Gs          No
and Chonartha

Fitzgerald’s Park   A                 11 + 4         U                S                B                   E             No
NS
St. James’ NS       T                                Suburban         V                B&G                 E             No




66
SCHOOLS IN OTHER LOCATIONS
SCHOOL           Principal (T/A)   Staffing       Location (U/R)   Age range   Gender mix          Language of   School
                                   Class + Non-                    (J/S/V)     (B/G/B&G/JSG/JSB)   instruction   Support
                                   mainstream                                                      (E/G-Gs/G-    Programme
                                                                                                   Gt/O)         (DEIS)
                                                                                                                 (U1/U2/R/N)
Millview Park    A                 5+             R                V           B&G                 E             DEIS-U2
NS Westmeath                       6
Ferrybridge NS   A                 24 + 10        U                V           B&G                 E             No
Co. Tipperary




                                                                                                                               67
68
APPENDIX 9
CURRENT REPORTING PRACTICE

CORK CLUSTER
SCHOOL             MID-YEAR REPORTING                  END-OF-YEAR REPORTING                 STRENGTHS,          CHALLENGES,
                   PRACTICE                            PRACTICE                              PRIORITIES
Scoil na gCnoc     Meet parents January. Oral report   Written report mailed at end
Cork               only.                               summer term - no meeting.
Riverside N.S.     Meet parents February.              Written report mailed in June – no    Talking openly and honestly to
Co Cork            Oral report only                    meeting                               parents.

                                                                                             Greatest challenge is using
                                                                                             appropriate language when
                                                                                             reporting to parents.

                                                                                             Would also like to prioritise use of
                                                                                             this kind of language.
Woodstown N.S.     Teachers meet parents regularly     Written report issued. Meeting held   Detailed reports are the most
Cork               during the year. Discuss IEP        with parents on IEP targets.          successful feature of the school’s
                   progress.                                                                 reporting practice.

                                                                                             Greatest challenge is encouraging
                                                                                             sharing of information.

                                                                                             Would like to prioritise further
                                                                                             development of bank of recording
                                                                                             sheets developed internally by
                                                                                             teachers and therapists.
Strand Road N.S.   Meet parents February.              Written report mailed in June – no    Best feature is having standard
Cork               Oral report only.                   meeting                               approach throughout school.




                                                                                                                                    69
                                                                                                          Challenge is having pupil input to
                                                                                                          reporting.

                                                                                                          Prioritise? - mainstreaming of
                                                                                                          written report at parent/teacher
                                                                                                          meetings.
Greenfields N.S.                 Meet informally with parents Oct    No meeting – no report issued.
Co Cork                          and Feb/March. Oral report only.
Scoil Naisiunta Chill Aoibhinn   Meet parents December. Oral         Written report mailed in June – no
Co Cork                          report only                         meeting
St. Teresa’s NS Co. Cork         Meet parents early/ midway in the   Written report at end of year.       Success: Teachers’ general
                                 year                                                                     comments.

                                                                                                          Challenge: Ensuring that concerns
                                                                                                          are highlighted without undermining
                                                                                                          child or parent.

                                                                                                          Prioritise: Identifying ways in which
                                                                                                          parents can help child.

                                                                                                          Ensuring that reports inform
                                                                                                          practice.




LIMERICK CLUSTER
SCHOOL                           MID-YEAR REPORTING                  END-OF-YEAR REPORTING                STRENGTHS, CHALLENGES,
                                 PRACTICE                            PRACTICE                             PRIORITIES
Scoil Bhalie Nua                 Mid-year meeting with parents       End-of-year meeting with parents     Most successful feature is the
                                                                                                          guidance given to parents.
                                 No written report issued            Written report is issued
                                                                                                          Challenge is to state child’s
                                                                                                          difficulties in writing without being




70
                                                                                              misinterpreted. It’s easier to praise a
                                                                                              child.

                                                                                              Priority – to have the layout
                                                                                              standardised, but with space for
                                                                                              each child’s achievements /
                                                                                              strengths
Shannon Vale NS           Meet parents early in the year   No meeting at end of year.         Most successful feature – gives
                                                                                              parents a broad picture of their
                          No written report issued         Written report is issued           child’s progress.

                                                                                              Challenge – catering for the needs
                                                                                              of children across ability range.

                                                                                              Priority – to develop a practice
                                                                                              which is of benefit to parents and is
                                                                                              practical for teachers.
Ballycommane NS           Mid-year meeting with parents    No meeting at end of year.         Parents receive the info they expect
                                                                                              to receive.
                          Written report is issued         No written report issued
                                                                                              Good communication between
                                                                                              teachers and parents

                                                                                              Greatest challenge is lack of interest
                                                                                              from parents whole children are
                                                                                              having difficulties or whose
                                                                                              behaviour is problematic.

                                                                                              School is generally happy with
                                                                                              present reporting arrangements but
                                                                                              sees value of issuing a written
                                                                                              report at end of year.
Limerick School Project   Mid-year meeting with parents    End-of-year meeting with parents   Communication w/parents is most
                                                                                              successful feature and also
                          No written report issued         Written report is issued           recording of essential info.




                                                                                                                                  71
                                                                                             Increased workload and time
                                                                                             required for reporting.

                                                                                             ‘We are happy with our system’.
Scoil Naisiunta an Chonartha   Mid-year meeting with parents.   No meeting at end of year.   Success: Results of class test
                                                                                             given to parents. Ways to measure
                               No written report issued.        Written report is issued.    the progress of children socially.

                                                                                             Challenge: Giving accurate
                                                                                             information to parents. To arrive at a
                                                                                             formula that suits both teachers and
                                                                                             parents.

                                                                                             Prioritise: Standardised tests –
                                                                                             strategies for teachers to use the
                                                                                             results to support effective teaching
                                                                                             and learning.
Fitzgerald’s Park NS           Mid-year meeting with parents    No meeting at end of year.   Most successful? – Parent-teacher
                                                                                             clinics.
                               Written report is issued         Written report is issued
                                                                                             Greatest challenge?
                                                                                             Getting parents to listen.

                                                                                             Prioritise?
                                                                                             A portfolio of the child’s work
St. James’ NS                  Parent-teacher meetings          No meeting at end of year    Prioritise: standardised test to be
                                                                                             orally explained and given to all
                                                                Written report is issued     pupils.
                                                                                             Parent-teacher meetings in the last
                                                                                             term
                                                                                             More resources for foreign national
                                                                                             children e.g. translations for
                                                                                             policies, codes and parent
                                                                                             communication and meetings




72
GALWAY CLUSTER
SCHOOL                           Mid-year Reporting practice      End-of-year Reporting practice       STRENGTHS, CHALLENGES,
                                                                                                       PRIORITIES
Railway Road Primary School      Meet parents November. Oral      Written report (Fallons) issued at
Co Galway                        report only                      end June – no meeting

Beeches Road N. S.               Meet parents Oct and Feb. Oral   June meeting with parents – no       Having dialogue w/ parents is most
Co Galway                        reports only                     written report issued                successful feature.

                                                                                                       Greatest challenge is ensuring that
                                                                                                       children’s needs are met in school
                                                                                                       and at home.
                                                                                                       Common language and approach by
                                                                                                       all teachers would be the priority.

                                                                                                       No child to be branded as a failure.
Westfields Primary School, Co.   P/T mtgns held in Autumn and     Written reports posted including     Success: Openness to parents –
Galway                           Spring                           detailed report for children         being upfront with the child’s
                                                                  attending RT                         progress (or lack thereof) and our
                                                                                                       ways of improving help at home.

                                                                                                       Challenge: Trying to focus child and
                                                                                                       parents on the priorities needed –
                                                                                                       changing attitudes to school as the
                                                                                                       local area is becoming a satellite of
                                                                                                       Galway.




                                                                                                                                         73
                                                                                                Priority: Importance of whole
                                                                                                school staff being uniform in
                                                                                                reporting methodology – using same
                                                                                                terminology – perhaps developing a
                                                                                                bank of phrases suitable for use.




DUBLIN CLUSTER
SCHOOL               Mid-year Reporting practice         End-of-year Reporting practice         STRENGTHS, CHALLENGES,
                                                                                                PRIORITIES
St. Raphael’s N.S.   Meet parents November. Oral         Written report (Fallons) issued at     Success: consistent, clear
                     report only                         end June – no meeting                  Challenge: Time
                                                                                                Prioritise: Including in particular the
                                                                                                senior children in self-evaluation.
Bridge Lane School   Meet parents February.              Written report (Fallons) issued at     Success: P/T meeting in person
                     Oral report only                    end June – no meeting                  more successful than written end of
                                                                                                year reports.
                                                                                                Challenge: Parental response in
                                                                                                general and interest.
Old Farm N.S.        Meet parents November. Oral         Written report (Folens) issued at      Success: The fact that most
                     report only                         end June – no meeting                  teachers put a lot of thought and
                                                                                                effort into their reports
                                                                                                (verbal/written) to parents.
                                                                                                Challenge: Bringing about a
                                                                                                standardised whole school approach
                                                                                                to reporting.
                                                                                                Prioritise: Agreeing a whole school
                                                                                                approach to reporting. Educating
                                                                                                parents as to the value/significance
                                                                                                of reports.
The Meadows N.S.     Meet parents November (1st to 6th   Written report for 1st to 6th Class    Success: Areas where we comment
                     class).                             (School designed) issued at start of   on individual child’s strength and



74
                            Oral report only.                    July – no meeting                      area to improve.
                            Meet parents January (Junior &                                              Challenge: Being positive but also
                            Senior Infants). Oral report only                                           getting over the real message if
                                                                                                        problems. Children’s effort versus
                                                                                                        achievement particularly for
                                                                                                        underachievers. Reporting on
                                                                                                        behaviour problems also difficult.
                                                                                                        Prioritise: Children’s own
                                                                                                        evaluation of their progress and
                                                                                                        effort. Trying to find and use precise
                                                                                                        language and ensuring honesty,
                                                                                                        fairness and our integrity as
                                                                                                        teachers.
Main Street Junior School   Meet parents October.                Written report (School designed)       Success: Concise, comprehensive
                            Oral report only                     issued last day of June – no           and well timed.
                                                                 meeting                                Challenge: Sensitivity of parents.
                                                                                                        Prioritise: Uniformity and honesty.
Castletown Road N. S.       Meet parents end of January or       Written report (Fallons) issued at     Success: P/T meetings, incidental
                            early February.                      end June – no meeting                  meetings, reports.
                            Oral report only                                                            Challenge: Weakest children are
                                                                                                        often not reached. Developing
                                                                                                        parental involvement is difficult.
                                                                                                        Prioritise: That reports be effective
                                                                                                        to teachers, parents & pupils in
                                                                                                        developing the learning progress of
                                                                                                        the pupil. Reports for reports sake
                                                                                                        are useless. They must have a
                                                                                                        practical benefit.
Scoil Naomh Clar            Meet with parents during the year.   Written report issued at end of year   Success: P/T meetings.
                                                                                                        Challenge: Not enough time.
St Catherine’s GNS          Meet with parents during the year.   Written report issued at end of        Success: Good to meet parents
                            Oral report only.                    year.                                  before Christmas. Helps to raise
                                                                                                        awareness around child’s progress
                                                                                                        or lack of same.




                                                                                                                                           75
                                                                                                  Challenge: Ensuring that all parents
                                                                                                  attend relevant meetings around
                                                                                                  their children’s education.
Buttercup Lane BNS   Meet with parents during the year.    Written report (Fallons) at the end    Success: Excellent attitude and
                                                           of the year.                           openness between parents and staff
                                                                                                  due to on-demand open-door
                                                                                                  approach.
                                                                                                  Challenge: Parental dissatisfaction
                                                                                                  with DEIS split class arrangement
                                                                                                  and its doubtful positive effect on
                                                                                                  progress.
                                                                                                  Prioritise: Clear information to
                                                                                                  parents on assessment and on
                                                                                                  provision for SEN.
Three Rock SNS       Principal’s Form A with profile
                     details wasn’t included in returned
                     feedback



SCHOOLS IN OTHER LOCATIONS
SCHOOL               Mid-year Reporting practice           End-of-year Reporting practice        STRENGTHS, CHALLENGES,
                                                                                                 PRIORITIES
Millview Park NS     November meeting with parents         BIAP & MIST for Inf Classes in        Success: Following P/T meeting
Co. Westmeath                                              Feb.                                  child’s progress improves. Parents
                                                           SIGMA & MICRA for all other           have clear and more definite input
                                                           classes in June                       into chld’s
                                                           Written report is issued.             homework/attendance/sleep patterns
                                                                                                 for child’s holistic development.
                                                                                                 Parents realise that their contribution
                                                                                                 is not only desirable but essential.

                                                                                                 Challenge: Getting parents to attend
                                                                                                 meetings. Needs persistence and
                                                                                                 negotiation.




76
                                                                              Prioritise: Language of reporting.
                                                                              Clear, simple, objective, yet honest.
Ferrybridge NS   Mid-year meeting with parents   No meeting at end of year.   Most successful feature of reporting
Co. Tipperary                                                                 is accessibility of teachers to parents.
                 No written report issued        Written report is issued
                                                                              Greatest challenge is including a
                                                                              student voice in reporting procedures.
                                                                              Would like to prioritise this inclusion
                                                                              of children’s voice.




                                                                                                                   77
APPENDIX 10
Current Assessment Practices
Classroom assessment may be defined as the process of gathering, recording, interpreting, using, and communicating information about
a child’s progress and achievement during the development of knowledge, concepts, skills, and attitudes. This definition was used to
structure the description of schools’ current reporting practices.

CORK CLUSTER

SCHOOL                 GATHERING               RECORDING                  INTERPRETING               COMMUNICATING                 USING

Scoil na gCnoc         Drumcondra Reading      Report Card                A separate sheet is        Same info communicated        Parents seem happy
Cork                   and Maths tests;        completed from Jun         sent to parents with       to parents during year as     with info – no
                       MIST;                   Inf to 6th;                Report Card. This          at end with exception of      complaints received.
                       Drumcondra Spelling     Copy to parents –          explains phrases           Stand tests (given at year
                       Test                    copy kept by school        used.                      end only). (Mid-year report   Assessment info used
                                               (for 7 years).             [Principal doesn’t state   oral only).                   for “Learning Support
                                                                          whether Irish terms                                      classes”
                                               Info recorded as           are used]                  No info input by child.
                                               comments; graded
                                               levels also given                                     Tchrs share stand test
                                               (Excellent, good, etc.).                              results if requested by
                                               Stored in hard copy.                                  parents

                                               Jun classes emphasis                                  Tchrs invite info from
                                               on settling and                                       parents on child’s
                                               socialising.                                          strengths and
                                                                                                     weaknesses, or any
                                               Special Needs tchrs                                   socialising issues.
                                               also meet with parents
Riverside N.S.         SIGMA_T, MICRA_T;       Copy of end-of-year    Whole staff agree              All items on list are         Think parents find the




78
Co Cork          also DPRT                report + stand test        criteria and language     reported to parents at         info fairly useful.
                                          results.                   for reporting.            midyear and at end of
                                                                     Comments are written      year.                          Tchrs use the info to
                                          As comments and            alongside grades as       Midyear as oral report,        plan differentiated
                                          grades such as good,       explanation.              end year as written report.    learning programmes.
                                          excellent, fair, etc.                                Child doesn’t have input.
                                          Kept as hard copy.                                   Stand test results are
                                                                                               shared and explained to
                                          RTs and LSTs confer                                  parents.
                                          with class tchr before
                                          issue of reports.                                    Tchrs invite parents to
                                                                                               share info on any home
                                          Reports stored and                                   problems for child, and
                                          retained till child will                             generally listen to parents.
                                          be 21.
                                                                                               Sixth class children may
                                                                                               attend meeting with
                                                                                               parents if all are happy
                                                                                               with this.

Woodstown N.S.   IEP docs, therapy        All docs and reports       Whole staff agree         Teachers report all items      Parents appreciate all
Cork             reports, classroom       from teachers and          criteria and language     of info on list to parents     info, and esp photos
                 recording and            therapists.                for reporting.            mid year, incl stand test      and portfolios
                 assessment sheets all    Info recorded as           Report info is            results. At year end, don’t    showing child’s work.
                 used during the school   comments, tick             interpreted for parents   report stand tests nor         The IEP process
                 year.                    sheets, photographic       in face-to-face           supply ideas to help           means that there is
                 At year’s end, written   records of children        meetings esp re IEP       parents.                       ongoing planning and
                 report in each curric    working, portfolios of     process.                  Child has input mid year       follow-through.
                 area based on docs       children’s work.                                     but not at year end.
                 used for P/T meetings.
                                          All info recorded in                                 Tchrs invite info from
                 Tests used – Griffiths   same way across                                      parents on child’s
                 Developmental            class levels.                                        activities at home, on
                 Scales, also Vineland    All stored in hard                                   responses and behaviour,
                 assessments (done by     copy.                                                likes and dislikes,




                                                                                                                                                    79
                   psychologists in                                                      relationships with siblings,
                   collaboration with   Special needs /                                  parents thoughts on
                   teacher)             resource teachers                                prioritising needs of child
                                        collaborate with
                                        classroom tchrs for
                                        reporting.

                                        Reports kept during
                                        school attendance -
                                        then passed to adult
                                        services.

Strand Road N.S.   During year and at   All reports and          Key explaining grades   All items on list are          Parents value this
Cork               end:                 assessment records;      are sent to parents     reported to parents            information hugely
                   Stand tests          also attendance          with report.            midyear and at year’s end.     and often contact
                   Pupil performance    records.                                                                        school in response to
                   records                                                               Child doesn’t have input to    it.
                                        Recorded as                                      report.
                   Use DPMT and         comments,                                                                       Formative
                   DPRT; also NRIT      ‘standardised’ across                            Stand test percentile          assessment info
                                        school, e.g. excellent                           rankings are shared with       informs school and
                                        = 85 to 100% based                               parents.                       individual planning. If
                                        on tchr’s observation                                                           targets haven’t been
                                        and testing.                                     Tchrs invite parents to        met, what needs to be
                                                                                         share info on any              done, etc.
                                        Stored in hard copy.                             homework problems for
                                                                                         child. Talk of attitudes to
                                        Agreed way of                                    schoolwork, etc.
                                        recording info across
                                        the whole school.

                                        LS and Resource
                                        tchrs share info with
                                        class tchrs prior to
                                        meeting parents.




80
                                           Special needs tchrs
                                           also meet parents.

                                           At present, info stored
                                           indefinitely but
                                           certainly > 10 yrs.

Greenfields N.S.        None received
Co Cork

Scoil Naisiunta Chill   None received
Aoibhinn
Co Cork

St. Teresa’s NS, Co.    SIGMA/MICRA-T      Pupil folder,             The whole staff agree     All on list for during and   Very useful. Helps to
Cork                    DPMT/DPRT          standardised test         criteria and language     end of year except for       identify areas of
                        MIST. Drumcondra   results, yearly report    for reporting.            child’s own input or         concern and to
                        spelling           cards. Copies of                                    comments. General            highlight successes.
                                           actual tests also kept.   Standardised test         comments/encouragement       Builds confidence.
                                                                     results given orally at   also given.
                                           Information stored in     parent-teacher                                         Teachers use
                                           hard copy and             meetings. Bell curve is   STEN scores are              information to monitor
                                           electronic form using     often used to good        translated into ex. Vg etc   overall standards in
                                           grades, scores and        effect.                   and shared orally with       school; identifying
                                           comments until the                                  parents at P/T mtgs.         areas to target
                                           child is 18.                                                                     (spelling, problem-
                                                                                               Records of child’s           solving etc.);
                                           Subject areas listed                                progress, samples of         identifying children in
                                           differently to                                      work, own observations as    difficulty.
                                           correspond with                                     well as reports from non-
                                           curriculum for                                      mainstream tchrs where
                                           particular class level.                             applicable.

                                           Report to parents of                                Parents share particular
                                           child receiving                                     interests of child and any




                                                                                                                                                81
                                             support; monitor                                   areas of difficulty e.g.
                                             overall trends in                                  Problems re homework,
                                             standardised tests                                 specific subjects,
                                             across the school.                                 social/personal etc.

                                                                                                Some teachers get
                                                                                                children to assess own
                                                                                                learning on a monthly
                                                                                                basis; continuous
                                                                                                assessment of curricular
                                                                                                subjects.



GALWAY CLUSTER
SCHOOL              GATHERING                RECORDING                 INTERPRETING              COMMUNICATING                USING

Railway Road        None received
Primary School
Co Galway

Beeches Road N.S.   During:                  School keeps stand        Whole staff agrees        All items on list are        Report is useful to
Co Galway           Teacher-designed         test scores.              criteria and language     reported to parents          parents only if it’s
                    tests and evaluations.                             for reporting.            during school year with      explained to them.
                    End of year:             Information is recorded                             exception of stand test
                    Stand Tests and          as comments and           Report contents are       results. (Child input was    Info in report is also
                    Teacher-designed         grades; stored as hard    discussed with parents    sought for first time this   used to inform
                    tests                    copy. Support             at meeting.               year).                       teaching.
                                             Teachers organise,                                  Stand test outcomes are
                    DPMT and DPRT;           mark and score the                                  reported on at year end,
                    MIST for Snr. Infants    standardised tests.                                 but child input not
                                                                                                 included then.
                                             All teachers share
                                             reporting on pupils                                 Tchrs invite info from




82
                                      with special needs.                                  parents on child’s
                                                                                           progress at home and
                                      Copies of written                                    on the child’s social
                                      reports are stored for                               progress.
                                      duration of the child’s
                                      time in the school.
Westfields Primary   SIGMA /MICRA-T   Details of MICRA &        Each teacher               All except child’s own      Very useful. We are
School, Co. Galway                    SIGMA results for all     determines his/her own     input.                      most open to parents
                                      children. NARA,           criteria and language                                  with all school work –
                                      Salford. Jackson          for reporting.             Teachers share results      they are delighted with
                                      Phonics for LS                                       of standardised tests       school’s policy on
                                      children. Carbonised      Results are explained      reading age/ maths          assessment.
                                      copy of annual report     at P/T mtgs each term      ability based on class
                                      to parents.               – reading age,             average.                    Tchrs use information
                                                                progress + or -, results                               as a basis for revision
                                      Information stored for    of class tests.            Teachers use records of     of work – helps tchrs
                                      9 yrs in hard copy                                   children’s                  to refocus on areas of
                                      using grades, reading                                progress/achievement/       weakness/ concern.
                                      age, STEN scores,                                    samples of children’s       Helps with end of
                                      percentiles. Use of                                  work/ reports from the      month/ year plan
                                      headings such as fair/                               LS/RTs. Results of          ahead.
                                      good; average/above                                  entrance tests for
                                      average.                                             secondary school are
                                                                                           shown to parents.
                                      Kept as uniform and
                                      as simple as possible                                Parents share all
                                      – no detailed                                        relevant information re
                                      explanations/                                        school – attitude to
                                      terminology used.                                    homework, any home
                                                                                           crisis affecting child,
                                      V. involved from the                                 general health and
                                      start. They meet                                     development.
                                      parents before child
                                      attend LS/RT classes                                 Children are not
                                      and again termly.                                    involved in the reporting




                                                                                                                                           83
     Written reports for all    process.
     pupils kept for 5 yrs.
     Written report for those
     attending LS/RT




84
DUBLIN CLUSTER
SCHOOL               GATHERING                   RECORDING                  INTERPRETING           COMMUNICATING              USING

St. Raphael’s N.S.   SIGMA-T, MICRA-T            Records are kept as        Each teacher           Don’t share                Parents find
                     M.I.S.T. to Snr. Inf.       hard copies for            determines his/her     standardised test          information very
                     N.R.I. Test                 indefinite period of       own criteria.          results.                   useful.
                     D.R.A. Test                 time.                      At p/t meetings
                     Quest read. + maths         Non mainstream                                    Parents share medical
                     ASTON Index                 teachers write I.E.P.s                            and other concerns;
                     Selected tests              There is an individual                            strengths and
                         (a) spelling            photo file for each                               weaknesses of child.
                         (b) vocabulary          pupil. This contains
                                                 general comments,
                                                 scores recorded and
                                                 reports from outside
                                                 agencies.
Bridge Lane School   SIGMA-T                     Hard copies kept of        Each teacher           Don’t share                Most parents find it
                     MICRA-T                     results of test in the     determines his/her     standardised test          useful.
                                                 form of comments.          own criteria.          results.

                                                 Non-mainstream             They keep comments     Parents share any
                                                 teachers give oral         simple, relevant and   relevant information.
                                                 and written reports.       positive.
Old Farm N.S.        During: Observation;        Stored in hard copies      Each teacher           Standardised test          Don’t know. Should
                     class tests;                and electronically for 7   determines his/her     results are discussed      ask them.
                     standardised tests;         years.                     own criteria.          at P/T meetings.
                     portfolios; copies; visit   Report booklets,                                                             Info. is used to
                     of Principal to classes     standardised test                                 Parents share info. Re     prepare material to
                     End: Teacher                results, confidential                             health, social issues,     help pupils who have
                     observation; teacher        file where important                              any learning               difficulty in particular
                     designed tests;             points of information                             difficulties, answers to   areas.




                                                                                                                                                         85
                   standardised test       are recorded.                                        questions such as ‘Is
                   results.                Non-mainstream                                       your child happy at
                   Drumcondra maths        teachers meet with                                   school?’
                   and reading             parents individually. At
                                           times they will have
                                           input on P/T meeting.
                                           Principal meets with
                                           all pupils individually
                                           with teacher to
                                           discuss their self-
                                           evaluation form.
                                           Principal writes short
                                           note on report cards
                                           re: child’s progress
The Meadows N.S.   NRIT                    Records are held for        Discussion and           Areas of strength and       Parents find the
                   Battery of assessment   10 yrs or until the child   guidance at staff        area the child needs to     information very
                   tests                   is 21 in hard copy.         meeting and language     work on.                    useful
                                           Comments for school         guidance sheets given    Sometimes have got          Discussion at staff
                                           reports, school             out. Mentors assist      child to fill in a report   meeting after P/T
                                           reports, results of         and principal reads      on themselves but not       meeting. Evaluation
                                           tests, assessments          and signs all reports.   regular practice.           forum – sharing
                                           such as speech and                                                               information on need to
                                           language,                   Percentile ranking       Teachers share maths,       know basis. Often
                                           psychological, medical      given at progress        reading and spelling        general issuea came
                                           No written reports for      meetings in Nov. and     percentiles with            up if many parents
                                           Jun & Sen Infs. Sch         explained. Information   parents.                    ask about same
                                           holds MIST &                sheet given to                                       issues.
                                           language record,            teachers re              Curriculum meetings in
                                           social & personal,          explanation for          October.
                                           reading record; notes       parents.                 Progress meetings in
                                           from P/T meetings                                    November.
                                           Non-mainstream                                       Junior Infants progress
                                           tchrs. Liase with class                              meetings in January to
                                           teachers; write up low                               give the teacher a
                                           incident children                                    chance to get to know




86
                                               reports. Add                                        the children.
                                               comments to school                                  Parents share any
                                               reports; devise a                                   difficulties children are
                                               different report for sp.                            having: homework,
                                               Needs child if school                               social needs/
                                               report not suitable.                                friendship;
                                               Principal signs and                                 independence skills;
                                               comments on some                                    what they do if
                                               reports e.g. 6th class                              behaviour problem –
                                               leavers; attendance; if                             what strategies they
                                               significant                                         use.
                                               improvement in
                                               academics or social                                 Some teachers
                                               behaviour will make                                 involved children as
                                               positive comment;                                   part of he SBDI for the
                                               new child to school                                 P/Y meetings. This
                                               positive comment on                                 was very successful.
                                               settling in etc.                                    Discussion with
                                                                                                   individual children –
                                                                                                   what they would like
                                                                                                   teacher to talk to their
                                                                                                   parents about.
Main Street Junior   During: P/T meetings,     Portfolios, reports, all   The whole school         Only give standardised      Parents find
School               notes, phone calls and    test results, samples      aggress criteria and     test results if asked.      information very
                     homework journals.        of work, grades stored     language for             Parents are invited to      useful.
                     End: Written reports      in hard copy.              reporting. Reports are   share medical, any          Used for
                     SIGMA-T MICRA-T           Non-mainstream             sent to parents in       special need and            differentiation and
                     MIST, Quest               teachers consult with      early June to allow      changes in family           selection for learning
                     screening tet, Belfield   class teachers.            consultation with        circumstances.              support.
                     diagnostic tests                                     teachers if required.
Castletown Road      SIGMA-T MICRA-T           Information is stored      Staff agree criteria     The child’s                 Limited value.
N. S.                N.R.I.T                   in hard copy until the     and language for         qualities/characteristics   ‘Connect’ with their
                                               child is 21. Usually       reporting though         as a learner has not        child’s learning &
                                               comments – grades          individualism is also    been included to date.      progress – making
                                               are avoided – have         present. Through         Neither are the results     them aware if they




                                                                                                                                                        87
                                        never produced             comments, underpins        of standardised tests    choose to be involved
                                        graphics. SIGMA-T,         the information on the     shared with parents.     more.
                                        MICRA-T, NRIT, any         child’s report. Parents    Parents share any
                                        assessment reports.        are always welcome         information that might
                                        Standardised testing       to meet and discuss.       help enhance the
                                        is in 1st & 2nd. Reports                              teacher’s ability to
                                        are kept appropriate                                  support the child in
                                        to class level and                                    learning.
                                        become more detailed
                                        with age.
                                        Non-mainstream
                                        teachers meet
                                        parents and liaise with
                                        teachers re written
                                        reports.
Scoil Naomh Clar     Drumcondra maths   Test results stored as     The staff agree criteria   Parents do not get       Parents find the
                     and reading.       comments in hard           and language for           standardised test        information very
                                        copy for 10 years.         reporting and              results.                 useful. Teachers use
                                        Non-mainstream             communicate this           Children are not         the information for
                                        teachers organise          information to parents     involved in reporting    planning.
                                        tests and collect          verbally.                  process.
                                        results.
St Catherine’s GNS   SIGMA-T MICRA-T    No policy in place for     Each teacher               Results of               Fairly useful. It
                                        storing information.       determines his/her         standardised tests not   provides them with a
                                        School reports, results    own criteria and           shared. Parents share    picture of how their
                                        of standardised tests,     language.                  any relevant             child is progressing
                                        comments around            Scales understood to       information from home    both academically and
                                        progress and future        be self-explanatory.       environment.             socially. No formal
                                        needs, sliding scale re                                                        policy in place for
                                        grades i.e. fair, good                                                         teachers to use
                                        etc.                                                                           information.
                                        Standard report form
                                        used so very little
                                        difference in recorded
                                        information.




88
                                           Non-mainstream
                                           teachers meet with
                                           parents on P/T
                                           meeting day.
Buttercup Lane BNS   During: Formal P/T    Fallons report          Each teacher               STEN, % score if           The new format is
                     meeting. Open door    booklets, comments      determines own             requested.                 very novel and looks
                     policy. Meetings by   and grades stored as    criteria and language.     Parents share home         engaging. Some
                     appointment.          hard copy.              Verbal reporting at        related information        aspects may be a little
                     Emergency meetings                            P/T/ meetings.             particularly in cases of   unfamiliar and unclear
                     on demand.                                                               pupils who are not         to them.
                     End: Written report                                                      achieving potential.       Passing on the reports
                     SIGMA-T MICRA-T                                                                                     to next year’s class
                     WRIT                                                                                                teacher in some
                                                                                                                         cases.
Three Rock SNS       No Principal A form
                     received




LIMERICK CLUSTER
SCHOOL               GATHERING             RECORDING               INTERPRETING               COMMUNICATING              USING

Scoil Bhaile Nua     SIGMA-T, MICRA-T      School keeps results    The staff agree criteria   All items on list are      Parents are told the
                     Also Belfield and     of Stand Tests, notes   and language for           reported to parents.       level the child is at.
                     MIST for Infants      from P/T meetings;      reporting.                 [but in Q.18, says that    They are given
                                           school reports.                                    child doesn’t have role    suggestions about the
                     During the year:                              Bilingual versions of      in report].                child’s progress.
                     Tchr observation;     Recorded as grades,     reports are given to
                     school tests; Stand   comments, in            parents.                   Stand test results are     Info is passed to next
                     tests.                graphs(?); also                                    shared with parents.       year’s teacher.
                                           children’s work         Teachers speak to          Information shared is
                                           samples.                parents about the          ‘the child’s level’




                                                                                                                                                  89
                                                                   stand test results.
                                         Kept in hard copy and                                Teachers seek info
                                         electronically.                                      from parents on the
                                         All classes record the                               child’s background in
                                         same way.                                            terms of growth,
                                                                                              development and
                                         LS teacher organises                                 health.
                                         the Stand Tests and
                                         assists the classroom                                Children not involved
                                         teachers in writing up                               in reporting process.
                                         some reports.

                                         As this is a new
                                         school, all records are
                                         being kept in code
                                         and on computer.
Shannon Vale NS   SIGMA-T; MICRA-T.      Pupil profile cards,      The staff agree criteria   All items reported to      Informs parents of
                  MIST for Snr Infants   Stand Tests kept in       and language for           parents with exception     their child’s progress
                                         school.                   reporting.                 of stand test results at   and how they can
                                         Kept as comments,                                    year end.                  help.
                                         grades, graphics.         Results are explained      [says child input given
                                         In hard copy.             at P/T meetings.           but says not given in      Helps tchrs plan
                                         Recorded in same                                     Q.18].                     provision of Learning
                                         way across clas                                                                 Support.
                                         levels.                                              STEN score is passed
                                         Special Needs                                        on to parents and
                                         teacher stores and                                   shared.
                                         orders test and
                                         profiles.                                            Teachers seek info
                                         Info stored for 8-10                                 from parents on
                                         years.                                               anything that
                                                                                              concerns child’s work
                                                                                              that tchr might not be
                                                                                              aware of.




90
Ballycommane NS   SIGMA-T; MICRA-T          School keeps copies       Each teacher            All items on list with   Reporting info used by
                                            of written reports,       determines own          exception of child       teachers to inform
                                            assessments and           criteria and language   input are reported to    subsequent teacher’s
                                            relevant                  for reporting.          parents at mid-year.     planning for
                                            correspondence.                                   Also gives attendance    differentiation.
                                            Usually in form of        Scales used on          details.
                                            grades and                reports (good, very                              Gives overall info to
                                            accompanying              good …) are             No report at end of      next teacher on what
                                            comments. Stored as       explained to parents    year. Informal           whole class is ‘good’
                                            hard copy.                at meetings.            meetings regularly       or ‘not very good’ at.
                                                                                              held.
                                            For infants, some info
                                            recorded in checklists.                           Stand test results are
                                            Special Needs                                     shared (STENs,
                                            teachers meet with                                percentiles) and
                                            parents and orally                                Reading Ages are
                                            report; also consult                              also discussed.
                                            with class teachers.
                                            Info kept for 10 years.                           Written report being
                                                                                              issued at end of year
                                                                                              this year for SBDI.

                                                                                              Info sought from
                                                                                              parents on anything
                                                                                              that might help
                                                                                              teacher u’stand why
                                                                                              child is having
                                                                                              difficulty.

                                                                                              No child input.

Limerick School   During year:              School keeps stand        Whole staff agrees on   All items on list are    Most parents find the
Project           Use stand test results,   test results; BIAP and    criteria and language   reported to parents      reported info very
                  diagnostic tests and      MIST for Junior           for recording.          during school year –     useful.
                  other assessment          classes; end-of-year                              and senior class




                                                                                                                                                91
                     tests                    test results; pupil       Agreed terms used by     pupils complete a         Info shared with next
                                              profiles (annual).        tchrs at P/T meetings    personal evaluation in    class teacher informs
                     At year end:                                       to explain terms in      prep for meeting.         her planning and
                     Use results of summer    Recorded as               reports.                                           teaching.
                     tests.                   comments and grades                                This is not done for
                                              and (working?)                                     end-of-year meeting,
                     Use SIGMA-T and          towards graphs.                                    not are results of
                     MICRA-T; also DPMT       Stored both in hard                                stand tests given then.
                     and DPRT.                copy and
                                              electronically.                                    Stand test results are
                                                                                                 shared w / parents.
                                              There’s a standard                                 STEN scores are
                                              system of recording at                             normally used and
                                              all levels.                                        explained.
                                                                                                 In advance of P/T
                                              Special Needs                                      meeting, parents are
                                              teachers meet with                                 requested to give the
                                              parents and orally                                 school any home info
                                              report.                                            that concerns the
                                              Records currently kept                             child’s progress.
                                              for an indefinite
                                              period.

Scoil Naisiunta an   SIGMA/MICRA-T            Information is stored     Whole staff agree        All except child’s own    Sometimes parents
Chonartha,           DP Spelling Test         in hard copy for 5 yrs.   criteria and language.   input/ comments.          don’t get the correct
Luimneach            Class test results are   Grades of class tests                                                        meaning from the
                     sent home at             and standardised          Results of tests are     Results of                reports.
                     Christmas and            tests are stored.         not written on the       standardised tests are
                     Summer.                                            report but are send to   given to parents orally   We are putting an
                                              Non-mainstream tchrs      parents separately.      at P/T mtgns but          emphasis on
                                              meet with parents but                              parents have said that    formative assessment
                                              they do not give them                              they would prefer to      this year.
                                              a written report. We                               receive them in written
                                              are reviewing this                                 form.
                                              practice at the




92
                                          moment.                                        Records of children’s
                                                                                         progress, samples of
                                                                                         children’s work and
                                                                                         report from non-
                                                                                         mainstream tchrs
                                                                                         shared with parents.

                                                                                         Parents do not
                                                                                         contribute to report.

                                                                                         Parents share
                                                                                         feedback on
                                                                                         homework.
Fitzgerald’s Park NS   SIGMA-T, MICRA-T   School keeps info on   Whole staff agree       During school year all    Parents consider the
                                          behaviour, on          criteria and language   items on list are         reports quite useful,
                                          application to work,   for reporting.          reported on but no        according to principal.
                                          and test results                               child input.
                                          compared with class    Parents are informed                              ‘need for revision or
                                          average.               how their child’s       At end of year,           green light to move
                                          Info recorded as       results compare with    progress in subjects      on’
                                          grades.                class average.          or curriculum areas is
                                          Stored as hard copy.                           all that is reported.
                                          Kept for 5 years.
                                                                                         Stand test results are
                                          Special Needs                                  reported to parents for
                                          teachers liaise with                           maths and reading
                                          class teachers                                 levels.

                                                                                         Parents are asked to
                                                                                         share info with tchrs
                                                                                         on homework
                                                                                         difficulties or any
                                                                                         social or emotional
                                                                                         problems.




                                                                                                                                             93
                                                                                          Child not involved in
                                                                                          reporting or meetings.
St. James’ NS      Information meetings
Co. Limerick       for new parents
                   Orientation meetings
                   explaining the
                   curriculum and
                   working day
                   Correspondence
                   through notes to
                   parents
                   Text database for
                   texting parents




SCHOOLS IN OTHER LOCATIONS
SCHOOL             GATHERING               RECORDING              INTERPRETING            COMMUNICATING            USING

Millview Park NS   SIGMA/MICRA and         Certificates issued.   Whole staff agree       All on list are shared   Parents find
Co. Westmeath      DPMT/DPRT               Standardised test      criteria and language   with parent during the   information very
                   alternative yrs.        results, end of yr     for reporting.          year including results   useful. Teachers use
                   Belfield Infant         report cards,                                  of MIST & BIAP.          info. To ascertain
                   Assessment Profile      IEPS/Individual        Results of                                       types of learning/
                   (BIAP) Middle Infant    behaviour plans/Time   standardised texts      All on list are shared   teaching styles to be
                   Screening Test (MIST)   out sheets             communicated            at the end of year       used for class
                   ASTOR Index LARR                               verbally at special     including MICRA and      grouping,
                   learning support        The same information   meeting between         SIGMA.                   recommendations for




94
                 During year:               across all class levels   teacher parents and                               extra support or
                 Teacher designed           is stored in hard copy    principal with          Child’s input             assessment by
                 observation sheets,        including comments,       resource/ learning      dependant on              psychologists etc.
                 checklists, Conor’s        graphics etc for the      support teacher where   individual case.
                 rating scale? Pupil        duration of primary       applicable.
                 profiles I.E.P.’s          school and then test                              STEN & Percentile
                 designed in                results for an                                    scores shared.
                 partnership with           additional 9 yrs.
                 parents & other                                                              Non-mainstream meet
                 relevant professionals     Non-mainstream                                    with class teachers
                 for special needs          teachers consult re                               early in school yr for
                 pupils (low incidence)     IEP’s & case                                      IEPs
                 End of year                conferences with
                 Teacher observation,       parents, principal and                            Non-mainstream and
                 test results, results of   class teacher.                                    class teacher meet
                 external assessments                                                         with parents at P/T
                 i.e. psy/SLT’s/OT’s                                                          together.
                 etc. School complete
                 programme due to                                                             Records of child’s
                 lang, racial & ability                                                       progress and samples
                 profile of pupils.                                                           of child’s work shared
                                                                                              with parent.

                                                                                              Parents contribute
                                                                                              child’s likes, hobbies,
                                                                                              concerns re progress,
                                                                                              hopes for their child.
                                                                                              In Infant classes there
                                                                                              is an emphasis on
                                                                                              background
                                                                                              information, home
                                                                                              circumstances, birth
                                                                                              history etc.
Ferrybridge NS   DPRT and DPMT.             All educ assessments      Whole staff agree       With exception of         Principal unsure
Co. Tipperary                               (psychological); stand    criteria and language   stand test results, all   whether parents find




                                                                                                                                               95
     During year:               etst results; copies of    for reporting.     items on list are         report info useful -
     Classroom tests            all school report                             reported on during        parents have not
     results, tchr              cards.                     Tchrs discuss      school year and at        requested any
     observation,                                          information with   end. But there’s no       alteration.
     diagnostic test results,   Recorded as                parents at P/T     child input.
     results of                 comments, grades,          meetings.          [unsure of their policy   Q.20 – info also used
     psychological              percentile ranks,                             re stand tests – says     to plan LS provision.
     assessments where          STEN scores.                                  here that the results     Also to form basis for
     relevant.                                                                are not reported to       requesting psych
     At year end:               Stored in hard copy.                          parents, but in (Q.14)    assessments.
     Stand test results, tchr                                                 says that they are
     observation.               Same method of                                reported to parents,
                                recording across al                           as percentile ranks
                                class levels.                                 and STEN scores].

                                All support tchrs report                      [can we assume that
                                to parents at P/T                             unmarked items in
                                meetings                                      Q.15 indicate a
                                                                              negative answer?]
                                Reports stored for 7
                                years.                                        Parents are asked to
                                                                              share info on
                                                                              homework habits,
                                                                              social behaviour,
                                                                              child’s attitude to
                                                                              school and
                                                                              schoolwork.

                                                                              Children not involved
                                                                              in reporting.




96
97
APPENDIX 11
Profile of Use of Report Card Templates
This section identifies the Report Card Templates which teachers used and their reasons why.

                                                         DUBLIN CLUSTER


                 SCHOOL                                  TEMPLATE USED                                         WHY

         Main Street JNS, Dublin                  Customised 3A/6B & 1A Infants                   We used these templates to try to
                                                 Customised 3B/6B & 1B 1st – 2nd              encompass the child’s development from
                                                                                             both an academic and social viewpoint. In
                                                                                           particular the social development of the child
                                                                                              was focused on as this was deemed very
                                                                                           important particularly in the Junior end of the
                                                                                                                 school.
        St. Raphael’s NS, Dublin                  Customised 3A/1A Infants & 1st               Not sure as I was quite happy with our
                                                   Customised 3B/1B 2nd – 6th                Fallon’s reports. I feel that our school gave
                                                                                            plenty of time a few years ago to picking out
                                                                                           the report which best suited our needs. Why
                                                                                                         re-invent the wheel?
          Old Farm SNS, Dublin                          Customised 3B & 1B                             Because I was asked to.

       Bridge Lane School, Dublin                   Customised 3A/1A & 3B/1B                Child friendly, easy to use. The information
                                                                                            provided was relevant and easy for parents
                                                                                             to understand. Also the space provided to
                                                                                           allow teachers to inform parents on how they
                                                                                                 can help their child was very good.
         Three Rock SNS, Dublin                              1B 3rd – 5th                   Because other templates were more suited




98
                                 Language Support 4          to lower classes. However others requested
                              School completion 3rd- 6th 4   too much written extras after comments had
                                                                                 been given.
                                                                   I was on reporting on English as an
                                                             additional language so this was adequate for
                                                                                  my means.
 Scoil Naomh Clar, Dublin                 1B                   I chose this template because it was clear
                                                                                and practical
Buttercup Lane BNS, Dublin            3A Infants               Phrased positively. Clear for both parents
                                      3B 1st – 6th               and teachers. Positive aims for the next
                                                               year. The two sections where you have to
                                                                tick a box or mark the scale helps you to
                                                               cover a significant amount of the areas of
                                                                     the child’s learning and progress.
St. Catherine’s GNS, Dublin           3A Infants             Thought that the rating scale (smiling faces)
                                      3B 1st – 6th            was the easiest for parents to understand. I
                                                                liked the subject rating scale – it was the
                                                              clearest. Plenty of room to write comments.
  The Meadows NS, Dublin           3B with 2B & 1B           Whole staff consultation led us to agree that
                                                               this was a format which fitted the ethos of
                                                                 our school and gave maximum concise
                                                                   information to parents and children.
Castletown Road JNS, Dublin         1A/6B Infants
                                    3B/1B 1st – 6th
       Dublin online                  1A Infants
                                     3B 1st – 6th

                                   CORK CLUSTER


         SCHOOL                   TEMPLATE USED                                  WHY




                                                                                                        99
      St. Teresa’s NS, Co. Cork         3B/1B             None of those provided were felt to be
                                                             suitable and the combination was
                                                        reasonable (but not perfect) compromise.
        Scoil na gCnoc, Cork         3A Infants          Happy with the layout and content of the
                                                       card. Especially liked the ‘faces’ rating scale.
                                                        Liked the fact that the stars scale was self-
                                                             explanatory and didn’t need much
                                                                       interpretation.
                                  3B/1B/2B 1st – 6th
                                                          Liked the scales used (stars indicating
                                                        relative independence or need for support
                                                          and frequency of observation – felt that
                                                       these were more clear-cut judgements and
                                                                  were factual statements.
       Riverside NS, Co. Cork       3A/1A Infants       Staff declared themselves happy with the
                                                        nature of the ‘scales’. They felt the scales
                                                          were teacher-friendly and parent-/child-
                                                       friendly at the same time. Liked the definite
                                                                statements about the child.

                                    3B/1B 1st – 6th      Liked the fact that there was a measure of
                                                          similarity between the infant and senior
                                                              cards in the choices they made.
          Woodstown NS            2A/2B Customised      To show parents of their child’s progression
                                                       during the year and for ways they can help in
                                                                     their child’s learning.

      Strand Road GNS, Cork             None           The staff here decided that they did not wish
                                                        to participate in the end-of-year reporting
                                                        mainly due to time constraints and a very
                                                            busy schedule of events this term.



100
       Greenfields NS, Co. Cork            3A/1A Infants
                                          3B/1B 1st – 6th
    Scoil Náisiúnta Chill Aoibhinn          3A Infants
                                         3B/1B/2B 1st – 6th

                                         GALWAY CLUSTER


              SCHOOL                     TEMPLATE USED                            WHY

Westfield’s Primary School, Co. Galway        3B/1B            It was the closest we could get to what we
                                                                                  required.
          Beeches Road NS                3A/3A/2A Infants       For the Middle and Seniors we chose the
                                            3B/1B/2B            first page from 3B because this page not
                                                                    only indicates how well the child is
                                                                 progressing in each subject but also the
                                                              areas where the child is having difficulty. We
                                                                  feel this aids assessment for learning.

                                                                We have taken the second page from 1B
                                                              because we will be presenting these Report
                                                                 Cards to parents at our end of year P/T
                                                               meeting and we will ask them to complete
                                                                this page with us. All of the areas on this
                                                                page will be discussed which places the
                                                                           focus on the child.
                                                              We chose the back page from 2B where the
                                                              child assesses him/herself. How the children
                                                                 see themselves is of vital importance to
                                                                         parents and teachers.
          Railway Road BNS                    3B/1A




                                                                                                        101
                                            LIMERICK CLUSTER


                SCHOOL                       TEMPLATE USED                                   WHY

      Scoil Bhaile Nua, Luimneach                1A Infants              The school were taking part in a pilot to trial
                                       1B Learning support & resource                     the templates.
                                               3B/1B 2nd – 6th           LS: I was helping with the infant reports as
                                                                          we have an early intervention programme.
      Ballycommane NS, Limerick                  1A Infants              1A: It was user-friendly, covered all aspects
                                               3B/1B 2nd – 6th                of infant education and well laid out.
                                                                             3B: Allowed me to rate the children’s
                                                                        progress while at the same time to elaborate
                                                                                  on the help needed at home.
      Fitzgerald’s Park NS, Limerick               3B/1B                   As a staff we decided this was the most
                                                                        suitable report template for the school due to
                                                                        the layout of the subject areas e.g. English –
                                                                           listening, speaking, reading etc. and the
                                                                           layout of the ‘learner’ and ‘development’
                                                                        sections. We felt that the 1B/3B combination
                                                                           offered more in terms of information to a
                                                                                     parent above any other.
      Scoil Naisiunta an Chonartha,                3B/1B                    As a staff we agreed this was the most
               Luimneach                                                   appropriate template. This was the most
                                                                          comprehensive template and was laid out




102
                                                                                     the best.
    St. James’ NS, Limerick                1A Infants             Child-friendly – where child draws his/her
                                          1B 1st – 6th            own picture. Section on comments by the
                                                               teacher – opportunity to give a down to earth
                                                                 account of child’s ability and progress. The
                                                               other templates were discounted as I felt the
                                                                “scales” and “Continuums” were very broad
                                                                                  and unclear.
      St. Bernadette’s NS                 1A Infants            The tick list covered the main points relating
                                          3B 1st – 6th             to social development and each child’s
                                                                learning. The “how you can help your child”
                                                                   section was useful. Felt it was the most
                                                                   suitable – good split between ticks and
                                                                               written comments.
       Shannon Vale NS                     1A Infants           This template was a combination of the two
                                         3B/1B 1st – 6th          above draft report cards. It was the most
                                                                          concise and easiest to use.

                                  SCHOOLS IN OTHER LOCATIONS


           SCHOOL                       TEMPLATE USED                              WHY

 Ferrybridge NS, Co. Tipperary            1A Infants            1A: It was the most the appropriate of the
                                          3B 1st – 6th          three choices. However, it did not provide
                                                               any grading system or appropriate language
                                                                              for assessment.
                                                                3B: This was selected as the most ‘parent
                                                               friendly’ from a subject attainment/standard
                                                                                    level.
Millview Park NS, Co. Westmeath            3A Infants          More helpful for parents who do not have a




                                                                                                          103
                             3B 1st – 6th          good standard of English. Child friendly and
                                                   clear pictures. Good layout. I liked the use of
                                                                     the stars.




       Mayo online     1A Infants 3 A Infants
                       1B 1st – 6th 3B 1st – 6th
      Donegal online    1A Infants 2A infants
                        2A Infants 2B Infants
      Kildare online          3A Infants
                             1B 1st – 6th




104
APPENDIX 12
TEMPLATES STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES
Template 1A




             Strengths                           Challenges
   Having a space to comment on         Grading Languages as opposed to
   subjects.                            separating Languages into English
   Using clearly defined headings for   and Gaeilge.
   your child as a learner and your     Devising a key to accompany the
   child’s social and personal          numerical scale.
   development.                         Assigning grades to curriculum areas
   Offering suggestions to parents on   e.g. Arts education as this
   how they can help their child at     encompasses visual arts, music and
   home.                                drama
                                        Reporting on certain cross-
                                        curriculum characteristics of child:
                                        thinks creatively, is resourceful in
                                        using technology, books, objects,
                                        plays regularly with one or two
                                        friends, gets on well with adults,
                                        deals with own and other’s feelings.
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 1B




                 Strengths                                                 Challenges
       Having a space to qualify grades in                      Giving an overall grade for a subject
       English, Gaeilge and mathematics.                        e.g. English as a child may have
       Using clearly defined headings for                       made good progress in reading but
       your child as a learner and your                         little progress in another area such as
       child’s social and personal                              writing.
       development.                                             Deciding between ticking often or most
       Offering guidance to parents on how                      of the time.
       they can help their child at home.                       Devising a key to accompany the
       Having a comment box as this allows                      numerical scale.
       for a personal input from the teacher                    Reporting on certain cross-curriculum
       and/or space for further relevant                        characteristics of child: shows creative
       information.                                             thinking and problem solving, is
                                                                resourceful in using ICT, relates well to
                                                                adults, behaves well in classroom and
                                                                playground, plays regularly with one or
                                                                more friends.




                                                                                                   106
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 2A




                  Strengths                                               Challenges
       Having a space to comment on child’s                     Reporting on the curriculum in solely
       progress across the curriculum.                          a narrative format.
       Using graphics to make the                               Writing detailed comments can be
       information more accessible to                           very time consuming.
       children.                                                Having to report on English and
       Offering guidance to parents on how                      Gaeilge under the one heading
       they can help their child at home                        Learning and using languages as
       Allowing children the opportunity for                    there is inadequate space.
       self-evaluation.                                         Attempting to convey information
                                                                using the graphic wheel.
                                                                Supporting child input.




                                                                                                  107
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 2B




                   Strengths                                             Challenges
       Having a space to comment on child’s                     Sharing standardised test scores.
       progress across the curriculum.                          Avoiding repeating information -
       Using graphics to make the information                   next steps in your child’s learning
       more accessible to children.                             and some ways you can help.
       Offering guidance to parents on how they                 Reporting on the curriculum in
       can help their child at home.                            solely a narrative format.
       Allowing children the opportunity for self-              Writing detailed comments can be
       evaluation.                                              very time consuming.
                                                                Having to report on English and
                                                                Gaeilge under the one heading
                                                                Language Development as there is
                                                                inadequate space.
                                                                Attempting to convey information
                                                                using the graphic wheel.
                                                                Supporting child input.




                                                                                              108
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 2A Back




Template 2B Back




                                                                109
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 3A




                  Strengths                                               Challenges
       Using stars and expressive faces                         Rating English and Gaeilge together.
       makes the information very                               Reporting using the top rating is
       accessible to children.                                  working well independently and
       Having the subjects broken down into                     demonstrates significant insight as this
       the individual strand units.                             is unsuitable for certain subjects such
       Reporting using the key to the star                      as P.E.
       scale as it is fair and accurate.                        Interpreting the sub-headings under
       Having a space to give overview on                       mathematics as they are too wordy.
       child’s progress during the year.                        Using the continuum as it lacks clarity.
       Having a positive focus on child’s                       Identifying priorities for the next class
       achievements.                                            could put pressure on the next teacher.
       Setting of clear learning targets.




                                                                                                    110
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 3B




                    Strengths                                            Challenges
       Using stars makes the information very                   Using this template for 1st and 2nd
       accessible to children.                                  class children.
       Having the subjects broken down into the                 Having a preference for a
       individual strand units.                                 numerical rather than star scale
       Reporting using the key to the star scale                with 3rd to 6th class children.
       as it is fair and accurate.                              Not having space to qualify grades
       Having a positive focus on child’s                       allocated.
       achievements.                                            Using the continuum With support
       Setting of clear learning targets.                       to independently is vague and the
                                                                end points are unsuitable.
                                                                Reporting using the headings –
                                                                thinks creatively and solves
                                                                problems, relates to adults,
                                                                behaves in classroom and in
                                                                playground, manages feelings.




                                                                                                  111
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 3A Back




Template 3B Back




                                                                112
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 4




                  Strengths                                               Challenges
       Providing information that is clear and                  Having limited space to permit
       concise                                                  comprehensive and detailed overview
       Structuring parent teacher meetings.                     of the child’s learning.
       Encouraging exchange of                                  Duplicating information contained in
       information.                                             the sections Areas of learning to
       Having a greater consistency in the                      focus on and ways you can help your
       manner in which information on the                       child to learn.
       child’s progress is shared with                          Finding special achievements for
       parents.                                                 each child.




                                                                                                    113
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 5A




                 Strengths                                                Challenges
       Using graphics makes the information                     Reporting on your child’s learning
       more-accessible to children.                             across the curriculum as the space is
       Having a space to comment on                             limited.
       child’s social and personal                              Advising parents on some ways you
       development and child as learner.                        can help your child to learn.
       Setting clear learning targets for child.
       Offering advice to parents on how
       they can help their child at home.




                                                                                                 114
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 5B




                 Strengths                                                Challenges
       Having a space to comment on                             Having inadequate space to report on
       child’s social and personal                              the child’s progress across the
       development and child as learner.                        curriculum.
       Setting clear learning targets for                       Completing the large space allocated
       child.                                                   to some ways you can help.
       Offering advice to parents on how                        Using graphics with children in the
       they can help their child at home.                       upper primary years is not necessary
                                                                and may be inappropriate.




                                                                                                  115
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 6A




                 Strengths                                                Challenges
       Focusing on the child’s key                              Using the word key as it is not
       achievements.                                            accessible to children.
       Reporting using the headings your                        Finding key achievements for each
       child as a learner and your child’s                      child.
       social and personal development.                         Using a grid, scale, or continuum to
       Setting clear learning targets/goals                     grade child’s academic attainment
       for each child.                                          early or mid-way through the year is
                                                                not appropriate.
                                                                Finding an agreed interpretation to
                                                                the term expectations.




                                                                                                  116
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




Template 6B




                 Strengths                                                Challenges
       Reporting using the heading your                         Using a scale early or mid-way
       child at school.                                         through the year could over-
       Setting clear learning targets/goals                     emphasise the AoL dimension of the
       for each child.                                          report and may detract from the
                                                                significance of the other information
                                                                included in the report.
                                                                Finding an agreed interpretation to
                                                                the term expectations.




                                                                                                  117
School based developmental initiative on reporting to parents




                                                                118

								
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