Victorian School Reporting System Is Failing Our Students

Parents' Frustration

As a parent, you get some sort of report from your child’s school on your child's progress. As different schools have different reporting systems the quality and frequency of these reports vary. The quality of the report also depends a great deal on your child’s teacher. Some teachers put more time and effort into writing individual comments. Others, have a comment bank they use that produces generic comments. But even most detailed reports provided to parents in Victoria are, in my opinion, useless. Just think about it, how useful is it for you to know “your child struggled with algebra and needs to work harder to improve in this area”?

If you feel frustrated with the feedback you receive from your child’s school, you’re not alone. Hundreds of parents have told me they find school reports “confusing”, “useless”, or “inadequate”.

Although different schools use different frequency and format for their mandatory reporting. The majority of them tell you 2 things:

1. How your child is progressing against the “expected standard”. That goes into one of these categories:

  • Well above the standard
  • Above the standard
  • At the standard
  • Below the standard
  • Well below the standard

2. Give you generic comments about how your child has done and what he/she should do in the future.

How useful does that sound? How useful do you find it when your child's teacher reports that your child is “at standard” for Numbers but "below standard" for Measurements?

This may come as a surprise to you, but as a teacher, I was frustrated too. Let me explain why:

In any typical maths class, for each individual topic (fractions, equations, geometry,…) students have different levels of prior knowledge.

Many students have knowledge gaps from previous years. However, it is difficult (and impractical) for a classroom teacher to effectively identify where each student is and what the gaps are for each individual student. So, the majority of classroom maths teachers end up teaching to the medium level, leaving behind those students with knowledge gaps, and boring those with higher levels of understanding.

I want to be very clear here: my intention is not to blame classroom teachers. Most teachers simply don’t have the time and resources to identify these gaps and then cater for individual students. I know this well because for many years, I looked for a way to do this and wasn’t able to find suitable resources.

A few years ago, and out of frustration, I created my own Diagnostic Assessment and started using it as well as sharing it with my colleagues. The result was overwhelming!

The teachers I shared my Diagnostic Assessment Toolkit with told me that it gave them immediate and in-depth understanding of their students and their individual needs.

Over years we improved the Diagnostic Assessment and today it is an essential part of the Maths Mastery Method™. Our private teachers, parents and students understand the value of this assessment and use it as the centre of their teaching-learning process.

What is the Complete Diagnostic Assessment

The Complete Diagnostic Assessment is a set of 15 questions that cover the following areas of maths:

· Numbers, Fractions, Decimals

· Percentages, Rates, Ratios

· Statistics

· Probability

· Geometry

· Trigonometry (Y9 and Above)

· Algebra and Linear Equations

· None Linear Equations & Graphs (Y9 & Above)

Each one of these areas consists of a few questions that directly link to a year level (year 6 & below, year 7, 8, 9, year10 and above).

This assessment is conducted by one of our Head Teachers, who has great knowledge and experience conducting the assessment and analysing the result. Our head teachers don’t just rely on the correct answers, but observe students’ skills and work.

At the end of the Diagnostic Assessment, our head teacher will provide you with a detailed report of your child’s strengths and knowledge gaps and make recommendations on the best approach to fill these gaps.

This table shows the difference between the report you will received after our Complete Diagnostic Assessment (CDA) compared to the school report.

School Report

CDA Report

Your child did well in geometry.

Your child has a good understanding

of Y7 and Y8 geometry.

There is a gap in finding areas

of composite shapes.

Your child is weak in algebra.

Your child has knowledge gap

in year 7 fractions (equivalent fractions/adding-subtracting tractions).

Benefits of Our Complete Diagnostic Assessment

· Complete assessment of all Maths topics across 6-10 levels

· Detailed comments on areas of weakness & strength

· Clear & easy to understand report

· Face to face consultation with our Head Teacher to discuss the result of the assessment

Click below for more information about how your child can benefit from our assessment.