Communicating student learning (CSL) is interwoven with curriculum design, instructional strategies and formative assessment. CSL is a process by which teachers can provide a continuous window into student learning. Students, teachers, and parents design together, meaningful samples and evidence of student learning over time to demonstrate progress aligned with learning standards.
Honouring learning as a continuous process rather than a series of separate events, teachers design opportunities for students to develop an understanding of learning processes and to reflect on their learning journeys. The mindset shift to communicating student learning creates the conditions for personalized portfolios of learning that activate student voice, inform teacher practice, and engage parents in their child’s learning. Ultimately, transforming reporting to communicating student learning shifts the ownership from teachers to a shared ownership among students, parents and teachers.
The essential dimensions of communicating student learning include:
On an ongoing basis, teachers assist students to choose samples of work that demonstrate student learning within the curricular competencies, content and the core competencies. Meaningful samples of student progress encourage learning as a personalized process. Examples provide ongoing, authentic, specific, and descriptive evidence of the learning journey aligned with clear learning standards. Evidence may include documentation of conversations; observations and products around key areas of learning; and student and teacher reflections. These may be presented in digital or non-digital portfolios.
Communicating student learning invites families to continuously engage in student learning. Learning intentions, and instructional strategies designed to support learning are transparent for the learner and parents. School communities host various experiences and events such as formal and informal conferences; open houses; learning fairs; and, digital and non-digital displays. These methods capture learning on an ongoing basis and provide opportunities for meaningful conversations about learning.
Conferencing involves students engaging in meaningful conversations with teachers and parents around setting criteria, acknowledging progress, and identifying next steps in their learning. Student choice, voice and ownership are central to conferencing. When parents, students and teachers conference together, learning is honoured as a shared experience and responsibility. It provides a forum for students to assess their own learning, identify needs for further support, and understand and plan steps toward improvement.
Within communication of student learning, reporting provides context and a frame of reference for student development and success with respect to learning standards, and key areas of learning. It is reserved for those occasions when a snapshot of student performance / achievement is required or necessary. Summative assessments are used to gather evidence of student learning and may include performance-based tasks, rubrics, and observations. Teachers use such evidence to make professional judgments and provide evaluative feedback.