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Have you ever seen an athlete, musician or adventurer be interviewed after completing a magnificent feat? It is quite common for these people to comment on the next game or the next grand feat. One can look on quite exasperated. If I had completed any of these achievements, I would be focused on an electrolyte filled drink and lying down for a few months. Yet on the other hand, a good learner not only looks at what went well for them, they also look at what could be better next time and what their next steps in learning are.

Assessment is the way we gain snapshots of student learning throughout the school year. It can take many forms. It can occur during everyday learning experiences and provide immediate feedback. A conversation with a teacher or peers may provide the opportunity to display learning or growth. It may be a large task or project that students work towards. Some assessments could be standardised, which allow teachers to compare students with a national average. NAPLAN is another assessment opportunity, providing a snapshot of a child’s learning to families and staff.

As a teaching team, we have been participating in data reflection meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to use a variety of assessment data to better understand our students and plan next steps in learning. Through these discussions, we have been able to identify trends and patterns, which help us to plan learning experiences that will help teach concepts or skills. At times, questions are raised and as a result we become more aware of what to look for in learning going forward. I commend the outstanding teaching staff for their desire to best understand your sons as learners and then plan for their individual next steps.

With any assessment or piece of data it is important that we don’t look at it in isolation. We endeavour to use multiple sources when determining how students are progressing and what their next steps in learning are. We often refer to this as the triangulation of data.

Parent Teacher Interviews in Week 9 will be a wonderful opportunity for teaching staff to share with you what is going well for your son as a learner and to celebrate their successes. Staff will also be able to indicate their next steps in learning and how this might look in the weeks and months to come.

The process of identifying the next step in learning does not solely rest with the teacher. We are building student’s capacity to be reflective learners who can identify where they are at in their learning journey and where to next. This provides an opportunity for discussions with your son about their learning and goals for the future.

Christopher Sanders
Deputy Head of Junior School – Teaching and Learning