Christopher Yuen, Principal at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, in Kamloops, British Columbia (OLPH), recently shared his experience of using FreshGrade on both a professional and personal basis.
In education, there are always areas of improvement to track students’ learning effectively, detect barriers to academic success, and provide assistance as early as possible. “FreshGrade provides a richer outlook on where each student is in their learning journey,” says Christopher.
OLPH has implemented FreshGrade from grades K-7. The use of FreshGrade evolved from the idea of a “glorified scrapbook” to regular posts that demonstrate student learning from both a proficient and developing perspective. Using Chromebooks and an iPad in each class, students are able to view, upload and comment on what goes into their portfolio. Parents appreciate the opportunity to know what activities and assignments are being given and how their child is progressing on a regular basis.
Capturing both the proficient and developing components of the learning progress allows teachers to tell an authentic story about a child’s learning. Teachers can reflect on individual learnings and adjust teaching practices more flexibly. As a result, teachers are seeing an improvement in outcomes. The kindergarten teacher in the school is experiencing progress with her students that she has never seen before.
For many of the staff, it was their first time using a tool that could update parents in real-time on their child’s academic programming. They were pleased to see an increase in parent engagement. While many schools still structure the traditional parent-teacher interviews, OLPH is beginning to see less of a need for these formal meetings 3 months into a term; the use of FreshGrade encourages regular and ongoing communication between the teacher, parent and student, creating a clear picture of where the learner is at. “FreshGrade almost creates a sense of redundancy when it comes to parent-teacher interviews. The ongoing dialogue depicts a vivid image of where each child is; whether demonstrating proficiency or developing strategies, we are beginning to see less of a need to host these end of term interviews – there are no surprises.”
Acknowledging that parents have a busy lifestyle, FreshGrade provides a window into their child’s learning journey. Younger parents in particular, frequently post and comment on the online platform.
From a personal perspective, Christopher believes that FreshGrade offers an in-depth view of his child’s performance. His daughter who attends kindergarten at OLPH goes to his office after school and asks to see her portfolio. “The conversation is engaging, authentic and thought-provoking,” says Christopher. “Before, you’d hear from students that they didn’t do much at school, but with the portfolio, you can see what they were doing. For my family, it has changed our home conversations dramatically; my daughter loves to showcase her learning.”
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