Communicating Student Learning

October 16, 2017 - 5 minutes read

Parent Teacher Conferences, held this past week at Ridgeview Elementary are one way for parents to participate in their child’s education. An opportunity to find out about your child’s progress, conferences are an important step in creating positive home/school communication.

Parent-teacher conferences, student-led conferences, open houses, learning celebrations and reporting all provide opportunities for teachers and parents to share information about student learning.

The current lense in education is on curriculum redesign, instructional strategies and formative assessment. This emphasis shifts the sharing of student progress from simply reporting by teachers at designated times of the year to Communicating Student Learning (CSL) and providing a continuous window into student learning.

Honoring learning as a continuous process is intended to assist students toward a deeper understanding of the learning process and allow for greater reflection of their learning journey.

By actively involving students in the process of CSL, over time students are better able to identify and share meaningful work samples and rich evidence of their learning. In addition, students learn to demonstrate their progress as it is aligned with learning standards.

This process allows parents the ability to ‘see’ what their child is learning, know how that learning is progressing, and understand what they can do to support learning.

The mindset shift to CSL creates the conditions for personalized portfolios of learning that value student voice, inform teacher practice, and engage parents in their child’s learning.

Ultimately, transforming reporting to CSL shifts the ownership for learning from teachers to a shared ownership among students, parents and teachers.

Capturing Learning, Conferencing, Learning Celebrations, and Reporting are all Essential Components of CSL. These are described below:

Capturing Learning

On an on-going basis, teachers assist students to choose samples of work that demonstrate student learning within content and core competencies. Examples provide ongoing, authentic, specific, and descriptive evidence of the learning journey aligned to learning standards. Evidence may include documentation of conversations, observations, and products around key areas of learning, and student and teacher reflections. These may be presented in digital or non-digital portfolios.


Conferencing involves students engaged in meaningful conversations with teachers and parents about learning criteria, process, and steps in their learning. Student choice, voice and ownership are central to conferences. Conferencing allows students to assess their own learning, identify needs for further support, and understand and plan steps toward improvement. Please note that school-wide student-led conferences at Ridgeview will be held in April this year.

Learning Celebrations

At Ridgeview, various experiences and events such as open houses, learning fairs, student performances, and digital and non-digital displays are held throughout the year. These methods capture learning on an ongoing basis and provide opportunities for meaningful conversations about learning. CSL invites families to continuously engage in student learning.


Communication of student learning includes informal and formal conferences and formal reporting processes. Formal written reports provide a summative assessment of student performance with respect to key learning standards and areas of learning. Summative assessments use evidence of student learning such as observations, performance-based tasks, rubrics to make professional judgements and provide evaluative feedback. Please note that three formal written documents will be provided to Ridgeview parents this year(December, March, and June).

Thank you to Ridgeview families for participating in the recent parent-teacher conferences. We encourage parents and families to continue communicating with their child about the learning in the classroom and at school by accessing student agendas, reviewing examples of work brought home, accessing digital portfolios such as FreshGrade, Google Classroom, and reviewing school and teacher e-bulletins.

While we encourage families to access and engage in all aspects of student learning provided by the school, by far, the most important determinant of student success at school is student voice. Nurture your child’s communication competency by asking questions about their learning. Have your child give specific examples or evidence of their learning. Connect student work with learning intentions. Engaging in the essential components of CSL and nurturing learning conversations with your child are key to school success. Thank you for being an integral partner in your child’s learning journey!