Once your child’s plan has been put into action, measuring their progress means that their goals and supports can be adjusted as needed – and that their achievements can be celebrated.
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It is very important for the school to measure and report on how your child is progressing. This tells you, your child’s teachers and all of the members of your child’s Student Support Group whether their learning goals and supports are right for them, and where they might need adjusting.
Progress is measured by how often and how well your child is performing the skills or behaviour that were identified as learning goals in their plan – including in those smaller ‘foundation’ skills that build toward larger learning goals.
Comparing your child’s progress against their entry skill level (for example, at the beginning of any given school year) will give you an idea of how well your child has progressed. All of your child’s achievements, whether in the smallest steps or the largest leaps in learning, are worthy of praise and celebration. Children and young people need to feel that they can achieve; this builds their confidence as learners and enables them to go further.
Monitoring of your child’s progress, and areas where they are still struggling, is an important tool for the ongoing development of your child’s Individual Learning and Support Plan. Your child’s SSG should reflect on your child’s progress once each term, and at the end of every year, and ensure that this feeds into planning of their education program and supports for the coming year.
Many ways to observe progress
There are many ways to get a sense of your child’s progress. School reports, comments from the teacher and the work your child brings home are all ways to measure your child’s progress at school, along with discussions in your child’s SSG. You might also observe progress through improved behaviours, increased communication, new physical skills your child shows you or describes, or from other information communicated by the school.
It is important to focus on the progress your child makes throughout the school year and to celebrate their successes with them, both big and small. There is a fine balance between having high expectations and achievable goals. Always try to focus on the progress your child has made in their own learning and development, rather than comparing their achievements to those of other students.
If there are areas where your child’s progress has stalled or is slower than you expected, you can raise these with your child’s teacher and with the Student Support Group.
Schools inform parents/caregivers of student progress with twice-yearly school reports and mid-year parent-teacher interviews. All government schools (with the exception of some specialist schools) use the AusVELS ‘progression points’ scale (see below), along with individualised comments from the teacher that can provide additional information about your child’s progress. Often these are much more useful to parents and carers, in giving a deeper understanding of their child’s learning journey.
The AusVELS scale incorporates both numerical ‘progression points’ (to indicate a student’s learning level, compared with the ‘expected’ level for their year level in a mainstream context) and an A to D scale for students with disabilities. This second part of the scale is a non-age-related additional measure, that gives you a sense of your child’s progression towards becoming an independent learner.
All students with a modified curriculum and an Individual Learning and Support Plan should receive an individualised school report that is adapted to their plan. As individualised reports rely more on the teacher’s assessment of your child’s progress, it is important to develop goals that can be measured in a meaningful way. In some areas of work, your child’s progress can be demonstrated by the inclusion of samples or portfolios with their report.
Individualised reports also include detailed comments from the teacher that are in the same format for all students in government primary schools. These comments provide more specific information about progress and what the school and families can do to support future learning.
- The DET website has sample student report cards and templates, which show how school reported can be adapted to your child’s plan.