Reporting Questions

The information below provides parents with questions and answers relating to school reporting requirements.

In 2006 the Federal Government introduced new requirements that see schools provide parents/caregivers with:

  • The Queensland Studies Authority reports on Year 3, 5, and 7 literacy and numeracy testing.
  • An opportunity to meet with the child’s teacher/s at least twice a year.
  • A written report, twice per year, against achievement levels, with clearly identified standards and a five point scale, A-E (or equivalent).
  • The opportunity to access information on a child’s achievement relative to the child’s peer group.

Most Catholic schools already meet these requirements through their regular reporting practices. You may notice some changes in the terms used to describe student achievement but apart from that the access to peer group information may be the only noticeable change.

The reporting process requires a partnership.

Reporting is made up of a number of practices that schools negotiate with their parent communities.  Current reporting practices may include:

  • Summaries of student progress and achievement in a printed report card
  • Parent/teacher interviews about learning achievement and progress, in some cases including students
  • Portfolios which may include samples of the student’s work and statements of achievement or progress
  • Opportunities for parents to participate in activities where students demonstrate their learning
  • Information sessions on the schools curriculum offerings and reporting processes.

What will Catholic schools do to meet these new requirements?

Schools will review their reporting processes and practices to ensure that they:

  • Use plain language that is easily understood
  • Provide a written report twice each year (paper or electronic)
  • Provide opportunities for parents and teachers to meet twice per year to discuss students’ progress and to report on curriculum offerings in the school
  • Give an accurate and objective assessment of the child’s progress and  achievements
  • Offer to provide additional information regarding the group of students in the same year level or subject in terms of how they are achieving against the state standards (where this is requested).

What changes will I see in my child’s report card because of these new requirements?

This will depend on your school’s current reporting practices. In many cases, there will be little change. Schools already provide Year 3, 5 & 7 literacy and numeracy test reports to parents, and most provide a written report at least twice per year. Schools will now use standard ways of describing student achievement and will incorporate a five point scale in their reporting of achievement levels. The availability of peer group information is a new practice for most schools.

Will my child be allocated a position in class for each subject on the report card?

No. The regulation requires that schools provide, on request, information on the number or percentage of students achieving each of the five possible achievement levels. The peer group is defined as the total number of students enrolled in a particular year level at the school.  In the case of secondary schools, the peer group is the total number of students enrolled in that subject.  Schools will vary in the way that this information is made available to parents.

Is my child’s privacy threatened with these new processes?

Individual students’ identities will not be disclosed in peer group information.  The data will be communicated in a numerical or graphic form.  To further protect privacy, the peer group information will only be made available where there are more than 15 students in any group.

Does this mean that my five-year-old will be graded against their classmates?

No. There is no requirement for reports on students in Preschool, Prep and Year 1 to use the five point scale or include the peer group information. In 2007, new Early Years Curriculum Guidelines are being introduced across the state. This framework describes phases that young children typically move through as they grow and develop. Teachers can use the phase descriptions to inform parents about their child’s progress.  The phases can also assist parents to understand what is regarded as typical development for young children.  Early Years teachers use a range of strategies to monitor and report on children’s progress, and the written report is just one aspect.

Reporting on your child’s progress will differ as they go through different levels of schooling.

Reporting in the early phase describes students’ learning and development measured against a progressive series of steps, called a continuum.

Reporting in the primary and lower secondary years describes individual student progress against the aims of the curriculum, for all students in the schooling process.

Reporting in Years 11 and 12 describes a student’s achievement against syllabus standards and/or competencies forming the basis of certification data for inclusion on the Senior Certificate, VET qualifications and rank for tertiary entrance procedures.

What are the achievement levels that schools must use to report student progress?

For years 2-10 in Brisbane Catholic Education schools, the achievement levels that schools use for reporting student progress are the levels of the Queensland Studies Authority Key Learning Area syllabuses.  These six levels provide a progress map of what students typically know and are able to do in each Learning Area across the years of schooling.  Reporting against these achievement levels provides you with an indication of whether your child’s achievement is within the range of what is expected for students in particular year levels.

The Queensland Studies Authority advises that students typically achieve:

  • Level 1 by the middle of year 2
  • Level 2 by the end of year 3
  • Level 3 by the end of year 5
  • Level 4 by the end of year 7
  • Level 6 by the end of year 10

These levels are used consistently across Catholic schools as an indication of ‘expected levels’ of achievement.

What is the ‘five point’ scale that will be used?

A five point scale is used to indicate how well a student is achieving in relation to the Queensland standard.  ‘Achieving at the expected level’ indicates that the student’s achievement is firmly established for the year level and should be celebrated.

Learning achievement that goes beyond what is expected or typical is described as either ‘Achieving above the expected level’ or ‘Achieving well above the expected level’.

Learning achievement that does not meet the expected level is described as either ‘Achieving below the expected level’ or ‘Achieving well below the expected level’.

It is important to remember that the Achievement data provides only one piece of information for parents. It is also important that parents receive an indication of their child’s progress since the last reporting period along with the child’s strengths and areas for development.  Schools will also usually include information on non-academic aspects of the child’s learning, also important in the overall development of any child.

Don’t all schools have to use A-E labels for their report cards?

No. Catholic schools have agreed to the use of a five point scale as outlined above. School communities can make decisions about the particular methods they want to use, as long as there is consistent use of the expected levels and those levels are informed by the syllabuses.

How do I know that the “expected level” is the same from one class and school to another?

Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Brisbane use a consistent syllabus framework which outlines what students should know and be able to do at particular points in time across the years of schooling.  There are also professional “checks and balances” to assist teachers make judgements.

Teachers of Years 1-10 in Brisbane Catholic Education schools have participated in Consistency of Teacher Judgment processes since 1996.  Teachers meet with colleagues from within their school and from other Catholic schools to compare assessment tasks, discuss student work, and inform their decisions on “expected” standards. The purpose of these meetings is to promote consistency of teachers’ judgments about students’ achievement in particular year levels.

Consistency is the key.

School reporting must reflect what students are expected to know and be able to do at particular year levels as measured against the framework for Queensland syllabuses.

The five point scale simply names the achievement standard for parents/caregivers.

Even though schools will use a range of reporting formats, presentations and terms, the descriptions of a child’s achievement in relation to the “expected level” of the syllabus will be consistent across schools.

Are there changes to reporting in Years 11 & 12?

Schools that currently use a five point scale in Years 11 & 12 (regardless of the terms used) and issue a written report at the end of each semester currently comply with this regulation.

What happens if my child has a learning difficulty or a disability?

For students with particular learning profiles related to a learning difficulty or disability, it may not be helpful to apply the new government reporting requirements. A process of discernment for inclusive reporting is used by teachers and support personnel to guide decisions regarding individual students. A report in plain language, describing the student’s progress and achievements will be made available to parents.

Reporting processes would be discussed as part of ongoing planning, consultation and discussions about the child’s educational program.  This is established practice in our schools and will continue.

If my child gets ‘achieving at the expected level’ on their report, is this the same as a ‘C’?

There is a perception that a ‘C’ is merely a pass and on that basis it is not the same as ‘achieving at the expected level’. An indication that your child is ‘achieving at the expected level’ means that their learning is firmly on track and that they know and can do things appropriate for their year level according to syllabuses.  This is a strong and solid result.  It is not indicative of ‘just scraping through’.

How can I find out more about the changes to reporting?

The principal and teachers in your school continue to be the richest source of information regarding reporting procedures and the educational progress of your child.