From Mr McMullen

Term 4 is a busy time for the whole school community. It is a term that has many events and is also a time for planning the upcoming year.

A growing number of our graduating Year 12 students have completed their final HSC examinations with a huge sigh of relief, whilst others continue to prepare for examinations which continue through to the 11th of November. We continue to pray for them as they persevere to do their best.

The remainder of student cohorts from Prep through to Year 11 are finalising assessments and their teachers are building their yearly academic reports.

Therefore, it is appropriate that the focus of my newsletter article this week is ‘Assessment and Reporting’. This has been an ongoing area of review this year, with plans to establish a new approach to reporting for 2020 courses.

Effective assessment holds a key role in student learning. Unfortunately, feedback through biannual reports is often provided too late to be of real benefit.

This Monday evening, I spoke with Year 12 students and their families at the ‘Maximising Our Opportunities’ information night. I put the following question to them; Here are two kinds of doctors. Which of the two would you rather see for your medical results?

The first doctor will carry out a post mortem, while the second will provide a check-up. The first doctor provides the results of medical tests with no further action required by the patient. The second provides results and information for improving the health of the patient. Personally, I would select the second doctor every time.

Reporting on assessment in schools is not too different from getting a medical report. The report that a family receives at the end of Term 2 and 4, is often so long after an assessment task is completed, it is near impossible for the student to recall their work to respond in a beneficial way. This is not unlike a post-mortem conducted by a coroner.

Providing progressive reports with feedback in a timely manner, is more like a medical check-up. Quality teacher feedback provided promptly, aids students in moving forward in their learning.

It is for this beneficial reason that we will be moving to a system of progressive reporting in both Primary and High School. How these progress reports are provided will differ between year groups to meet age and stage requirements.

Progressive reports, and the quality feedback provided on student work, are designed to help students answer three questions for learning:

1. Where am I up to now?
2. What is the learning goal I am heading towards?
3. What is the next step I must take?

We want to include parents and carers in this learning process and therefore, progressive reports will be made available to families, as well as students.

For High School students, notification of a progress report’s availability will be made through our School App. The progressive report can then be viewed online on the family’s Edumate account.

If you haven’t downloaded the app, I encourage you to do so, joining the 1000 school parents and carers that have done so to this point. This will be one of the few key communication lines used by the School in 2020, so it is critical this app is on your smart phone. If you can’t recall your username or password, please feel free to contact the School and we will help you get set up.

For most students, progressive reporting will start in Term 1 2020, however our Year 12 cohort will start this term, coinciding with the start of their HSC course work.

Mr Nightingale, our Director of Teaching and Learning, has written an article in this edition of the newsletter, outlining what information Year 12 progressive reports will contain and how to access them.

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In His service,

Keith McMullen
School Principal