Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Student Progress Report Update

Burlington High will return to our traditional method of Progres Reporting for the remainder of the school year with a goal of establishing a more meaningful process/document for 2009/2010. Thank you all for your feedback and I hope that it will continue in this area and in others.
I received an e-mail from the school newspaper regarding the Progress Reports and I wanted to share the questions and my answers with all of you before you read it in the paper or hear about it somewhere else.

The following are the questions that I was asked:

1) Why did you decide to go back to the original progress report instead of elaborating on the new one?

2) Who influenced your decision to go back to the old progress report?
-Did the school board influence your decision?

3) How has teachers reacted to the news of the old progress report coming out?

4) Are you disappointed that the new progress report didn't work out?

5) Is there any other information that you would like to share regarding the progress reports?
Here is my rambling response:

The second term progress report was never intended to be a permanent change. It was a one-time thing in my mind from the beginning intended to create a discussion, which it has. I do not think it is wise for me to permanently change the way we do progress reporting without some significant input from teachers, parents, and students. The rest of this year will allow us to gather the type of feedback necessary to create a more useful progress report.

No one influenced my decision because, as I stated previously, this was not intended to be a permanent change. As an aside, the school board has been supportive of all undertakings in my team here at BHS. We are fortunate to have such a constructive group of individuals who support administrators and teachers in achieving our short and long term goals.

Overall, I think that the new form provided an opportunity for parents to gain a much greater insight into what was going on with their student's progress in each area. Also, if teachers were able to sit down briefly with each student it may have provided some new insights for them as well. The downsides were as follows: too much paper used, instructional time was lost for student-teacher conferencing over reports, and there were not any backup copies if students lost or decided not to bring the reports home (although some staff did make copies of the reports or ask for signed copies back.)

In closing, I would say that I find our current progress reports to be of little use. What insights do they really give parents into the academic progress of their students? They are the bare minimum as far as the information that we can provide and I think our parents and students deserve more. But this is still better than a few years back when only students who are struggling or failing received progress reports. Not to be redundant or repetitive, but if we are going to put time into something then it should be useful. In my opinion, the current progress reports are of little use. The only thing that I know for sure is that given an appropriate amount of time for our staff to give input on a permanent solution for progress reporting, there is no doubt that a first-rate method will be created.

I appreciate everyone's flexibility in giving this a shot, especially the BHS staff who did not received an opportunity to provide much feedback before we had this little experiment.


  1. Thank you to the BHS faculty and administration for attempting a new progress report process. Changing past practice is difficult. There is no better modeling for our students, however, than having the adults in schools continuously try to improve - even if these attempts are unsuccessful.

    I disagree with the idea that building in time for reflective conversations with students detracts from instruction. While the logistics may pose challenging, these conversations are important learning experiences for teachers and students. Honest feedback, in a trusting environment, is key to growth. As a former science teacher I used to tell my students that they can learn just as much from a "no" as from a "yes."

    I look forward to learning about the proposals to improve progress reporting at BHS next year. Eric

  2. Hi I am a parent of an 11 grade student, and I was wondering if you are going to be going back to the traditonal method of the progress report.  My daughter only did or got 3  student progress reports out of her  classes.  One she did and the teacher went over.  The 2nd one she did only with no teacher corrections and the 3rd I never saw and she never got back  with teacher corrections,as she had to turn it in. So I would perfer the old method as least I new in advance where she was 1/2  way b4 the term ended.  This is important to me as she is on an iep plan and I can see where she is at midway in the term and to see where she needs to improve for the rest of the term.  I hope this helps you and once again I am sorry if this feedback is too late.  Thanks for your time.