Progress reports are an important tool that connects teachers, students and parents. Progress reports highlight the student’s journey, what has been accomplished academically and what still needs to be done.
For teachers, the challenge is two-fold. Firstly, to construct reports that are not only detailed but also clear and concise, honest and coherent and also sensitive and appropriate. And secondly to figure out the best way to communicate and deal with the reactions and expectations of over protective parents when the report is handed out.
The following tips will be help teachers be better prepared when the time for progress report comes:
Prepare progress reports in a narrative, non-judgemental format
A progress report that is nothing but a checklist fails to serve the purpose. Parents come with a whole host of questions and are hungry for answers. They want to know everything about their child – whether there child is happy, performing well and/or getting along with everyone? A good progress reports answers all the questions and conveys the depth of understanding that a teacher has about their child.
Another key tip is to prepare progress report in a manner that’s specific and non-judgemental. To reinforce a particular strength or weakness of a child, Teachers can use real-life examples that showcase or prove it. Also use considerate, positive adjectives when communicating with parents. Something like ‘James needs reminders for paying attention’ is much better than saying ‘James is always lost and doesn’t pay attention.’
Progress reports should offer suggestions and engage parents
Be sure to offer constructive, doable suggestions towards a child’s area of improvement, in a polite and considerate manner. It is also always a good idea to engage parents as much as possible in the process. Suggest practical ways parents can step in. For example, a good advice for James, if he is really struggling with paying attention, would be to set up an early bed time routine that ensures him a better and sound sleep.
Provides a holistic view of the child and
An effective progress report caters to the whole personality of a child rather that just represent his academic side. It should pay attention to the child’s social skills, motor development, concentration, behaviour with other kids and the complete emotional, psychological and physical progress of the child.
Begin and Conclude on a Positive note
The progress report should depict a complete well rounded picture of a child. Always ensure that the report starts and ends with positive statements and comments about the child, as that’s what creates a lasting impression on parents. Areas that need work should be included in the middle of the report. Pairing negative criticism with a positive is proven to be highly successful in getting the point through.
Plan ahead well before the term end
Teachers should treat progress reports as an ongoing process rather than an end of term practice. Jotting down points of your observation on each student, reflecting his/her strengths, weakness, and participation can be done at the end of each week by sparing just a few minutes. By doing so, you will create a compelling, comprehensive, truly revealing portrait of every child.
Incorporate memorable incidents or stories
Remember you are creating a progress report about someone’s child, some one they love and adore. There is no other better way to connet with parents than letting them know that you love and admire their child’s unique ways as much as they do. Don’t hesitate to include incidents where the child left everyone in awe with his unique behaviour, could be a joke, kind behaviour towards someone or something special that he drew in the class.