After my older child finished elementary school, I was surprised one day when she brought home a huge folder of in-class writing assessments conducted over a four year period. I never had seen this work. To the best of my knowledge, this folder follows students from classroom to classroom throughout elementary school. In theory, this kind of portfolio could serve as something akin to a medical chart.
I wonder what percentage of teachers have or make the time to review their incoming students’ portfolios. I wish I had known about their existence as I could have used it as a tool to keep track of my child’s writing progress in depth in real time.
With more and more elementary schools moving from having teachers write, dare I say, “authentic” comments on progress reports to using all multiple choice assessment elements, it’s not easy for parents to get meaningful feedback from their children’s schools. Regular conferences tend to be too infrequent and too short.
I loved one regular commenter’s response to Schoolbook’s request for tips from New York City parents for parent / teacher conferences:
"There are only 2 questions worth asking at a five-minute conference: if my child's education is so important, why does DOE give only 5 minutes to discuss it? And when can we meet again, for more than 5 minutes?"
My question is: if compiling writing portfolios and administering formal reading assessments are a good use of teachers’ time, why aren’t they shared with parents routinely?