I came across this really great idea yesterday while supplying and thought I would share it here. One of the challenges I came across in my LTO last year teaching first grade math was how to communicate with parents about how their child was doing while also holding onto work that I would later need when writing report cards. The teacher who held my position previously had maintained a file for each student where she kept their diagnostic and summative assessments, so I continued with that system. The only problem was that all of their final assessments were being kept at school and the parents were not seeing their grades. I didn't want to send home anything I would later need because I knew a good number of my students wouldn't return it and I'd also have to keep track of all those separate sheets of paper coming and going. The only other alternative would be to photocopy their work and send home the copy; the downside to this is of course all of the wasted paper and time spent making the copies. The grade two teachers J.W. Gerth seemed to have found a good solution to this dilemma: individual assessment binders.

Each student had a three-ring binder that was stored at school. Inside, there were three subject tabs: Language, Math, and Other. There was also a letter at the front explaining the purpose of the binder, as well as a tracking sheet. When a student was assessed and graded, the work and the accompanying rubric were put in the binder (at the front of each tab, over previous work) and the binder would be sent home. Parents were expected to review the assessment, sign off on the tracking sheet, then send it back to school. This system seemed to work well in most cases for a number of reasons. For one, you only had to keep track of a neatly organized binder, as opposed to several individual papers, and everything was still kept in one spot, like a portable filing system. Secondly, parents were generally good at signing and returning the binder, just as they would planners or home reading. Thirdly, parents wouldn't (or shouldn't) be surprised to see their child's marks on the report card because they have been seeing the work and grades throughout the year, and signing off on it.

Of course, there will always be that one kid that never returns the binder. If it becomes a significant problem, I would stop sending it home once I did finally get it back and find another way to communicate with the parents about how their child is doing, or perhaps send home copies for that one child. No system is perfect, but it was certainly an improvement on what I did last year and I will definitely keep it in mind for the future.

12/20/2012 9:55pm

Do you happen to have a copy of the tracking sheet you use?

12/21/2012 2:43pm

I don't have a copy because it is not my assessment (like I said in my post, this was an idea I encountered while supplying). From what I remember, the tracking sheet was very basic. It had a column for the date, the name of the assessment, and parent signature.


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