Nga Iwi’s commitment to forming educative partnerships between the school and its community led it to change how it reported to parents on their children’s achievement. Specifically, the school wanted to report on achievement more accurately while ensuring that parents could understand the reports. They also wanted to report the children’s achievement against an explicit standard agreed to by both the parents and the school. Further work is needed to ensure that the reports are well understood by parents.
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A 1999 report showed that causes of delays in student achievement were more complex than the teachers had previously thought. One was the low expectations teachers had of the students. In an effort to raise student achievement, Viscount School offered the teachers in-house professional development in literacy, “tailor-made” to the needs of their staff. The results revealed gains in student achievement and confirmed the school’s decision to continue down this pathway.
Recent research on school improvement indicates that schools can lift student achievement by using achievement information to work out how to modify their programmes. Robertson Rd School worked collaboratively with researchers from the University of Auckland to design a new approach enabling teachers to make formative use of achievement data on literacy in Years 1 and 2, in order to improve their teaching practices and raise student achievement.
Teachers are often asked to work in partnership with others to meet the educational needs of their students. If the partnership is to be successful, it is important that people are clear about why they are in that relationship and what they hope to accomplish together. The authors illustrate their theory of partnership by describing a study of how teachers report to parents, which showed that both parties need to understand each other’s expectations for the child’s achievement and take joint responsibility for working together to realise those expectations.