Competency-Based Progress Reports: An Update as we Head into 2018-19

This past school year, The Children’s School courageously tackled updating our progress reports. After a thorough and collaborative design effort between teachers and parents, the school introduced a new competency-based progress report format that more than 80 percent of parents found to be an improvement over the previous format. When surveyed, more than 90 percent of parents felt that the reports included the information that they wanted to know in a clear and accurate way.

The process of launching the new and innovative design involved every single teacher and administrator at TCS and every parent who wanted to take part, resulting in a report that is organized around core competencies rather than subjects.

As we noted in our initial introduction of the new “competency-based” progress reports:

Ask yourself: “how does a student get a good science grade?” We intuitively know that high performance in science (and in any subject) is a combination of reading comprehension, listening skills, writing and math ability, critical thinking, collaborative skills with lab partners, and, above all, the ability to combine all of those skills into a well-regulated workflow. That last part requires a constellation of executive functions, including sustained attention, impulse control, planning and organizing, persistence over time, follow through, and reflection.

In short, doing well in school is complex!

We had to ask if the competencies listed above are critical success attributes, shouldn’t we actively teach, assess and document progress in those areas? For TCS, the answer is yes, and this perspective has driven the design of our new progress report.

One parent-suggested component of the new progress reports will come into play in a crucial way as we start off the 2018-19 school year: the “Key Learning Goals and Strategies” section.

“This section was born out of a parent’s suggestion, and this crucial portion of the progress report will help our teachers hit the ground running with their new students as they start the school year,” explained Assistant Head of School Allen Broyles. “Our teachers will read through their students’ full reports and the ‘Key Learning Goals and Strategy’ portion will create alignment across the grades, giving teachers the topline information they’ll need to set each student’s individualized goals for the new year.” 

Parents were an integral part in creating the new progress reports and will continue to be an invaluable part of the process, providing feedback along the way as we continue to evolve the progress report design to give our parents and educators a complete and clear picture of how their children are progressing through their educational journeys at TCS.