I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the past few weeks, reflecting on student progress, updating goals and having conversations with colleagues about assessment. At my site, we don’t have a school-wide template for writing reports, so they vary in layout and length. This is mostly due to the huge variation in student needs, from students on the Autism Spectrum to students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities. Some are similar to mine, others have a different number of goals and others rely on photo evidence. As a staff, we don’t set or assess learning goals collaboratively, we work independently.
The report below is what I will send home in Week 10 to families, which gives an opportunity for parents/carers to read and reflect, ready for our NEP Review in Term 3. Interestingly, I’ve had a few chats with colleagues who don’t do this and instead bring their reports for families to read during the meeting next term. I disagree with this. I prioritise establishing and maintaining positive working relationships with families, working together to best meet the needs of their child. Withholding information about progress, to me, has the potential to disrupt this relationship. It gives me as the teacher an unfair advantage and that’s not the way I work.
My template has been adapted from a colleague’s. I include the relevant links to the Australian Curriculum alongside the learning goals, to justify what and how I’m teaching, setting goals to be achieved by the end of Term 4. I also update goals according to prompt level before establishing new targets. There are two NIT teachers, one who runs an Art & Music program, the other who runs the Health program. I would include their goals and assessment with my report, but have removed them from this post as it’s not my work. I assess as either Achieved or Ongoing. The example below is for a Reception student, name redacted.
General Capabilities: Personal and Social Capabilities
- Follow routines to assist learning (Australian Curriculum/Level 1b/General Capabilities/Self-Management)
- Explore relationships through play and group experiences (Australian Curriculum/Level 1b/General Capabilities/Social Awareness)
|Learning goal||Observed Skill Level July||Observed Skill Level December|
|Student will follow class routines with physical prompts to assist learning 9/10 times by the end of Term 4.||Ongoing|
|Student will explore relationships with his peers in (class name) through play experiences 9/10 times by the end of Term 4.||Ongoing|
|Student will respond to ‘I need to use the toilet’ prompt on ProloQuo2go and complete toilet routine with assistance 9/10 times by the end of Term 4||Ongoing|
|Student will carry his bag on his back while walking to and from class 10/10 times by end of Term 4 Level 1b||Achieved|
Every year when I’m creating reports, I begin with the General Capabilities: Personal and Social Capabilities. A lot of these goals are often the focus for families as well as for me. I ask myself a few questions when setting these. Are they able to make transitions? No, they’re finding it hard to move from one room of the classroom to the other. Set a relevant goal. This year, from prior PD, learning that ‘By definition, all individuals on the Autism spectrum have difficulties associated with social cognition…’ (Buron, 2017) I’ve set the same goal for all students in the class about exploring relationships through play. This section is also where I write personal care goals and push for more independence by including the goal for students to carry their own bag. As well as independence, carrying a bag is heavy work, which may help regulate a student’s behaviour and help to organise their sensory systems before beginning the school day.