Imagine a world without reports

This became a short reality for Sammy, Jordyn and I when we attended the Integrated Approaches to Assessment Consultation held by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood (DEECD).

VicSRC Students attending DEECD Consulation 2013

The meeting was a gathering of about 70 principals, teachers, parents and 3 students from the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC). The consultation linked to our work on the Congress resolution passed: The VicSRC engages with the DEECD, VCAA, and key stakeholders in reviewing current reporting practices with the aim of providing ongoing feedback.

I was surprised to hear many comments made by the teachers and how they hated writing reports. Report writing was not only squashed into a period of four weeks to be written but it also was a hassle as certain criteria had to be completed for every student. Teachers found, giving feedback from the whole semester to a student in one report was not beneficial as it caused stress for the teachers and it was also inefficient. We, as students, also felt similarly about reports.

In the twenty-first century in Australia, receiving good reports is a priority for many students. We aim to achieve as many A’s as possible and we tend not to read the comments given by our teachers but instead fret about the letter score first. Without the knowledge that the ‘A’ means that you are two semesters ahead of the average standard. This means that you have learnt all the things you need for the next year. This cannot be achieved as you are learning at your current year level; however many students do not know this. 

The key point that was displayed to us was the concept of ongoing assessment. This meant that rather than having reports, teachers instead would give constant feedback back to students and parents. I thought this was a great idea and would benefit the majority of students in Victoria. As students, we need someone to guide us through life whether it be in education or other things. Teachers are meant to be there to direct us in becoming intelligent adults and I know that this ongoing assessment concept will assist us greatly.

Although these are fantastic ideas, they will need many years before they are feasible. I cannot wait until this idea becomes real because Australia needs to strive higher in education and aim for the absolute best. I really learned a lot at the Assessment Consultation and really commend the DEECD for seeking student’s views on the education system in Australia.

Margaret Tran
VicSRC Executive

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