How is my child doing in your class?What if we, as teachers, were prohibited from listing "numbers" as a response to this questions? What should the response be?
I fully understand that some parents want letter grades to frame their child's learning (in most cases it's how their learning was measured as students). Given this reality, a teacher might (and in some cases -should) indicate an overall achievement indicator (letter grade if appropriate).
After that, the unpacking should begin....
Aside from communicating an overall achievement indicator, what if a teacher were not permitted to refer to numeric scores (this would include numbers or grades associated with particular assignments)? After all what does 15/20, 16/20 or 18/20 really tell a parent about a child's learning?
So what might be some alternatives? As a teacher you might:
- describe the student as a learner, thinker, writer, mathematician, scientist, artist, musician, etc - including some of their strengths and challenges.
- talk about particular skill development and/or gaps in skill.
- describe the student's literacy or numeracy skills in a way that is personalized and authentic
- talk about specific gaps in knowledge
- speak about a specific learning plan - with specific interventions and supports that the parent might support you with, as a classroom teacher.
- talk about how the student communicates in class.
- talk about patterns you are starting to notice about the students level of engagement (what's working what is not)
- listen deeply to the parent and learn something new about the student
When all is said and done, communicating numbers, in most circumstances, means very little when it comes to communicating learning.