Here in Australia we are coming up to that dreaded time of year… writing student reports!!
We all know what this means… endless hours of writing report comments, sifting through work samples, trying to find ‘just the right word’, proofreading, proofreading, proofreading…
However, not only do we have to write comments for our students, we also have to assign a grade for each learning area.
Assigning grades can become overwhelming, even for those who have done it for years! Sometimes we just can’t decide what grade to give to our ‘borderline’ students. We’ve all had those students that are higher than a C grade, but not quite a B, and the students who aren’t quite a C grade, but we feel don’t deserve a D. Writing student reports is an emotional time for teachers! We all want our students to achieve at or above the expected level, and I am sure you will agree, giving a D or E grade to a student is gut-wrenching for us, let alone for the student and their family. So how do we get it right?
When we assign grades we need to be able to justify our decision. Not only should we have an array of work samples and anecdotal notes from throughout the year, we also need to be able to show and explain to parents and students where the gaps in their achievement are.
Do you want a simple and effective way to assist in grading your students? Have you seen these Australian Curriculum Reporting Grade Descriptors?!
These Reporting Grade Descriptors make my life so much easier when writing student reports. They are currently available from Foundation to Year 6 in English, Mathematics and Science, with other learning areas to follow soon. Find them in my TPT and DBT stores here:
How I Use Them
1. Print a copy for each child (some teachers like to print 2 to a page to save paper).
2. Write each students’ name at the top for easy reference.
3. Using your work samples, anecdotal notes and other data collected throughout the year, go through each subject and highlight all the things that particular child has achieved. I always start by looking at the C grade column and work from there.
4. Now you can identify whether this student is achieving at the expected level and what grade you can potentially assign this child.
** These rubrics do not set this grade in stone. It is very important before officially assigning a grade, to do the following:
a) Moderate with colleagues. If your colleagues also use these rubrics, then great you should find moderating easy! Get out your work samples and see what your colleagues think. Even if you are in a smaller school and have no other teachers teaching your year level, moderate with a teacher a year or two higher or lower than yours, you will still find this incredibly helpful. Direct your colleagues to my store if they wish to use these rubrics too – you receive a discount for multiple licences.
b) Make sure you refer back to the Australian Curriculum and your state curriculum. Read the achievement standards and cross check your grades.
c) Professional judgement – if you can justify why you have given a specific grade and you have plenty of evidence, then go for it! See the example below – I could easily justify and explain to parents that this child is working above the expected level in most areas, however his area of need is his comprehension of texts. This is where I explain to the parents that we are going to continue to work hard on answering a range of literal and inferential questions throughout the next few weeks to try to push him up to that well-deserved B grade. His parents can now understand what he needs to do to achieve at a higher level and can also continue to support him with his needs at home.
Some teachers have reached out to me to let me know that they also use the Australian Curriculum Reporting Grade Descriptors as a comment bank for their reports – what a great idea! I am going to look into making this easier for you, at this point however, you are unable to copy and paste from the documents due to copyright restrictions, so if you wish to utilise them in this way, you will need to retype the comments you wish to use.
*** Please note: C grade descriptors for Semester 2 are derived from the Australian Curriculum content descriptors. All other grade descriptors (A, B, D and E) are based on professional judgement by myself or in collaboration with colleagues. These rubrics are intended as a guide only and you must always use your own professional judgement, school policies and department documents as necessary.
You’ve heard it before – prepare your parents – NO surprises! Parents should already be fully aware of their child’s progress, but now is a great time to catch up with each child’s parents and briefly discuss their progress and grades (particularly those students getting D or E grades). This is where you can take along the Grading Descriptors and use these to show parents why their child is receiving a certain grade.
Alternatively, these Parent – Teacher Interview Sheets are ideal for highlighting student achievements and progress. They are editable so that you can add your own text boxes and type in your information, or you can simply handwrite on them too! Parents just love walking away from a meeting with these in their hand so that they can have a proper read when they get home, or share with a parent that couldn’t attend. Don’t forget to keep a copy for yourself!
As always, I welcome feedback and requests! I sincerely hope that writing student reports this term is much easier and a little more stress-free for you with the aid of these rubrics!