Posted on March 19, 2018
New Centre “Full STEAM Ahead”!
There have been some exciting initiatives launched already this year as part of Tintern’s new STEAM Centre. Students in both the Junior and Middle Schools are being guided and encouraged to enter into student-centred, inquiry-based projects which will stimulate their imaginations and give them a more prominent role in their own learning.
In recent weeks our Year 3 boys have been creating 3D models with Tinkercad while our Year 4 girls have been using digital microscopes to get a closer look at plants. Year 5 boys have used Ozobots as part of their space unit and many Junior School library classes have been exploring STEAM through literature activities. Staff also have been experimenting with the 3D printer to make replacement parts for toys while Senior students and staff have made 3D parts for a Chemistry SAC. Our new STEAM Centre will open officially in Term 2, giving students and staff additional opportunities to explore these digital tools. The STEAM Centre is a key part of the Senior Library & IT Centre which opens from 7.30am each day.
Stay tuned for further news reports on our STEAM Projects and activities in upcoming newsletters.
On Thursday 15 March, our Secondary Interim Reports opened to parents in the Parent Centre of myTintern. These reports indicate to parents and students progress so far in each subject prior to Parent-Teacher-Student interviews. The achievement levels indicated by teachers reflect a student’s performance in assessment tasks so far this semester.
Tonight (Tuesday 20 March) we will hold the first of three Secondary School Parent-Teacher-Student Interview sessions and next week two more evenings will be held on Tuesday 27 March and Wednesday 28 March. Bookings for each night close at 10am on the day of the interviews.
Teachers are instructed to request an interview if a student’s progress is awarded ‘Low’ or ‘Very Low’ but they often also request interviews with other students as well for a range of reasons. If a teacher does not request an interview, then that field in the Parent Portal will contain ‘Optional’. Parents, of course, may request interviews with any of their child’s subject or pastoral teachers regardless of whether a request is made by the teacher.
As we did in 2017, we are again strongly encouraging all of our secondary students to attend these interviews to be part of a three-way conversation about their own learning. This has always been the case in the Senior College and we find this is a great opportunity for students to feel a part of the reflection – goal setting – self-evaluation feedback loop and to ask questions on how they are going and how they can improve. We find this is a good way to build student confidence, accept responsibility for their learning and for students, parents and teachers to engage in open and honest dialogue.
Progressive Reporting throughout Middle School
In 2017 we successfully trialled Progressive Reporting with our Year 8 students. Current Year 9 parents will be familiar with this process, but it is somewhat new to most parents of Year 7 and 8 students.
All Year 7, 8 and 9 students’ Interim Reports will not include an overall Academic Performance achievement level but will receive a letter grade for any major summative Assessment Tasks which has been completed and marked prior to the publication of the reports. The Middle School Interim reports will continue to have Behavioural Indicators the same as the other year levels.
Middle School teachers will then progressively enter grades for major assessment tasks across the semester as they are assessed and returned to students. These will be published at regular intervals on the portal in the same place as our Interim and Semester Reporting and show the letter grade awarded for those tasks. Middle School parents have been sent an email to outline this process.
The publication dates for these Middle School Progressive Grade Reports for the remainder of Semester 1 are:
Thursday 29 March at 5pm (end of Term 1)
Friday 27 April at 5pm
Friday 11 May at 5pm
Friday 25 May at 5pm
Friday 8 June at 5pm
Tuesday 26 June – with the publication of Semester Reports
Please be aware that some assessment tasks are cross-marked with other teachers from a year level team and tasks, therefore, may not be ready to be returned for up to a fortnight. Teachers will communicate with students regarding return dates. Subjects with fewer periods per cycle, or which have missed some lessons due to Athletics day or camp, may not have completed any major assessment prior to Interim Reports whereas other subjects may have completed several. In the former cases, only Behavioural Indicators will appear on the Interim Report.
In 2018, the Interim Reports for Senior College students will award levels of achievement, as per previous years, against a set of Indicators in:
- Academic Performance
- Preparation for Learning – Student organisation, homework completion and bringing correct materials to class
- Participation in Learning – Student engagement and participation in learning activities in class
- Attitude towards Learning – Student’s mindset and approach to learning in general
Each student will receive a rating from Very High, High, Satisfactory, Low or Very Low for each of these by matching the student’s achievement with a matrix of descriptors for each Behavioural Indicator.
I hope that our reporting and Parent-Teacher-Student evenings will prove useful in understanding your child’s progress to date and will assist in strengthening the partnership between family, school and student that is so crucial to effective learning and growth.
by Alison Bezaire, Director of Studies