Involving Students in the Communication Process
“Effective communication informs the student, parent and others about what has been accomplished and what the next steps are in the learning process. The communication process involves all the key players. However, the greater the role students are given in this process, the richer the information that is shared and the greater the impact on future student learning.” (A Framework for Student Assessment, Alberta Assessment Consortium, 1997)
- Work Samples: Students choose work samples to take home that show growth in their learning. They show and talk with an audience about the samples and ask for a response to their work.
- Portfolio Afternoon: Students collect work samples over the term and organize them into a portfolio. They write personal comments about each piece, explaining why they have selected it and what they want others to notice. Teachers schedule a time for a portfolio afternoon. Students invite someone who is important to them to come and view their portfolios. Invited guests provide feedback to the learners.
- Goal Envelopes: Students set a personal goal they want to achieve. They collect evidence to put in an envelope to show an audience how they are meeting or have met their goal. Students choose a time, place and audience to present what they have accomplished.
- Picture This: Students select or are given photos that have been taken of them in class. They then write about the learning that is captured in the picture.
- Criteria with Evidence: Students take home a work sample with a list of criteria developed in class. They explain the criteria to an audience. They point out where in their assignment they have met the criteria as well as what they still need to work on. They then ask their audience for a response.
- Mind Maps: Students create mind maps about something they have learned in class. They choose an audience and show and talk to them about their mind maps. The audience listens, asks questions and responds.
- Home Performances: Students perform a skill at home for family members. The audience listens and comments on the performance.
- School Performances: When students introduce school performances, they tell the audience what skills they will be observing. Members of the audience are asked to give specific feedback to the performers.
- Personal Newsletter: Students use a newsletter format to write about their learning. They select an audience to give their newsletters to and ask for specific feedback.
- Student-Parent-Teacher Conference: Students, parents/ guardians and teachers meet to review the learning that has taken place during the term. Each participant comes prepared to take an active part. A summary of this conference can provide information for report card comments or become a written report.
- IPP Conference: During the year, students, teacher, parents/guardians and other IPP team members meet to review the IPP.
- Student-Teacher Conference: Teachers meet individually with students to review the learning that has taken place. Students lead the conference and present evidence of their learning in relation to goals or outcomes in a subject or course.
(The above suggestions are taken from Conferencing and Reporting – For Use in Middle and Secondary School Classrooms by Kathleen Gregory, Caren Cameron, Anne Davies, 2001.)
- Student-led Conferences: Students are responsible for leading the discussion and reporting on and demonstrating their learning to parents. The teacher serves primarily as facilitator and observer.
- Agenda Entries: At the end of every day, students record a sentence in their agenda which explains something that they learned that day. If possible, students can also include evidence of that learning.
- Sharing of Assignments/Tests: Students take work home to share with parents/guardians. Work includes student reflections and opportunity for parental/guardian feedback.
- Student Writing: Students write narrative reports, notes, sentences or letters at the end of the day, once a week or at the completion of a unit of study, that explain to parents/guardians what they have been learning, along with some form of evidence of their learning. Parents/guardians have the opportunity to provide feedback.