Report cards to change, but will it be enough?



SCHOOLS will still give out report cards at the end of the term despite remote learning for five weeks, sparking fears results won't be fair and teachers will be marking parents for their homeschooling.

The Department of Education has issued a directive to schools outlining two ways which they can choose to provide report cards.

Students will not necessarily receive a final A, B, C, D or E, but rather a report on progress or indicative of performance, depending on the decisions each school takes.

But the plan has been slammed by some teachers on social media who say reports couldn't be fair given each pupil's home learning circumstances were different.

One teacher pointed out: "How do I prove my students have done the work and not another member of their family."

While another teacher said not every parent or student was responding to emails or picking up hard copy learning materials, questioning how they could be assessed.

It comes as the Teachers' Professional Association of Queensland said it was very difficult to give reports because schooling had been "so very disrupted" this semester.

"Effort, behaviour and other metrics will prove very difficult to assess given home conditions, parental attitude, family income will influence greatly," state secretary Jack McGuire said.

"A child with NBN working out of a study in Ascot will have a very different experience to a child working at the kitchen table with internet and device issues."



Education Minister Grace Grace said reporting was vital to how schools communicate with parents about their child, but reports needed to be flexible to recognise the changes under home learning.

"For example, report dates may be extended if schools need more time to assess each student and there is no requirement to conduct face-to-face parent-teacher interviews, although schools will engage with parents using other modes of communication," she said.

"Teachers are still at work teaching their students, whether they are in the classroom or at home."

According to the department's directive, the first option for schools is a modified academic report where all subjects are marked based on achievement in term one and term two but can comment on progress.

A second option, aimed at primary schools, is to give a report for a minimum of four key subjects of mathematics, English, science and one other subject, and schools can change reports for Prep students.

Teachers can use evidence of achievement in term one during face-to-face classrooms and evidence from remote learning, report progress, and can choose whether or not to include effort and behaviour in reports.



The directive said that schools should place conditions on assessments and learning that ensure students can prove they are learning and use marking guides.

QUT education expert Kelli McGraw said she understood report cards were necessary for year 11 and 12 pupils working towards the Queensland Certificate of Education, but in some cases they could be problematic.

"For most students, they are in no way performing at their best in assessments at the moment and for most students their half-yearly grades will not be a reflection of their knowledge or their potential," she said.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said the changes allowed a fair and reasonable way for teachers to give report cards, assessing what they had been able to teach, which was a part of the job.

But he said there had been concerns about how report cards would be possible given the disruptions in term one and remote learning in second term.

Yesterday, around 15 per cent of students physically attended classes in Queensland - the same as Tuesday, the highest rate since the start of term.





Originally published as Report cards to change, but will it be enough?