Welcome to all the new families at Braemar College. As Dean of Research and Pedagogy my role is to oversee the curriculum and reporting across the Middle School and Senior School. I also ensure that instructional and teaching practices are supported by evidence and research.
SEQTA is the Learning Management System we use at Braemar. Among its features, it allows you as a parent to access results and feedback about tasks. Through the SEQTA Engage app, you will receive a notification when a result has been released. If you are not familiar with how to navigate SEQTA, I encourage you to attend one of the information sessions being held at the Woodend campus on the Monday 24 and Wednesday 26 February starting at 7pm.
Research shows that providing regular feedback is one of the most powerful ways of increasing student achievement.
Teachers provide feedback across a range of areas. These can include:
- how well the task was understood or completed;
- whether the process needed to undertake the task was followed;
- the extent to which the student was organised and able to complete the task independently, and their level of application and efforts; and
- what students can do to improve for future learning and assessment tasks.
Written feedback is only one way that students receive this information. In class, they receive feedback during every lesson. Teachers are constantly noticing, evaluating, and planning ways to support the different learning needs of their class.
Tasks may be released on SEQTA that do not have written feedback. Due to the nature of the task, it may be more appropriate for the teacher to deliver in person to the student or class. However, there is another reason why they may not have a letter grade. With the latest update of SEQTA, teachers have the option to release feedback and not publish a letter grade. This is an option that I am encouraging teachers to consider for some results they release. Dylan William, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London, is among the experts who believe grades aren’t always the best approach.
“When students receive both scores and comments, the first thing they look at is their score, and the second thing they look at is…someone else’s score. Being compared with others triggers a concern for preserving well-being at the expense of growth” he writes in the journal, Educational Leadership.
The focus should be on personal academic growth and how students have improved from the beginning of the task until the end. A letter grade does not always accurately reflect this growth.
Finally, students are asked to write a self-reflection on how they completed the task. This allows them to consider what they have done well and how they will improve next time.