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Parent-teacher meetings = no surprises (with Individual Learning Plans)

My son is in the third grade here in Norway, where teachers are required to have meetings with students and their parents twice a year. I’m not the kind of parent who gets in touch with teachers about every little thing during the year. I save up questions for parent meetings and so does my son’s teacher. We have no idea what the other is going to bring up during the meeting: there could always be surprises. It would be great if there were a system in place allowing parents and teachers to touch-base in advance of these meetings. With itslearning’s Individual Learning Plans, we can do just that!

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) contain information about students’ competences, goals and the tasks required to reach these goals. Below is an example. (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

itslearning allows each student to be assigned a mentor, who can then create an ILP to help track student progress. Parents can view ILPs through the itslearning Parent Portal at any time, which is especially useful in advance of parent-teacher meetings!

Skranevatnet School, a combined primary and secondary school in Norway, has been using itslearning ILPs for a few years. They’ve recently tightened their routines around the process. I spoke with their ICT representative, Rolf-Anders Moldeklev, to get some details. He told me that his school now requires parents and students to review ILPs in advance of parent teacher meetings.

When they do so, they have the opportunity to enter comments right into the document, making teachers aware of any new issues in advance of meetings. These ILPs then form the basis for evaluation dialogues between students, teachers and parents in meetings. Reading them and commenting on them in advance allows participants to focus on the most important issues right from the start of meetings, making them more productive. Together the participants determine what goals the student should strive to achieve (both academic and behavioural) and how they might go about achieving them.

Creating ILPs: a group effort

Teachers, parents and students can all access ILPs, but the Mentor decides what columns to create in the document, what columns are visible to whom, and what columns are editable. In the ILP example above, the Mentor has included columns for student comments. Mentors can easily add columns for parent comments as well.

Skranevatnet School has started requiring students to help create their own ILPs by adding text in the columns ‘Goals’, ‘Reflection’ and ‘Tasks’. Students can also update the status of tasks from ‘Ongoing’ to ‘Completed’, etc. This allows them to reflect on their own progress, making students more invested in their personal development.

Survey shows positive results

Rolf-Anders surveyed Skranevatnet teachers, students and parents to gauge their opinion of this new, regimented use of ILPs, and the results were positive.

Even though students help create the ILPs, they are asked to review them in advance of parent meetings as well. According to the survey, 89% of students do. They believe that it’s good to be prepared for meetings so there are no surprises. They also enjoy giving suggestions within the document, regarding what study methods work best for them.

ILPs are now shareable!

In our upcoming product release we are enhancing ILPs by making them sharable. You will be able to share a plan with other mentors to save set-up time and facilitate the use of plan templates. Any content in the ‘Reflection’ and ‘Mentor Note’ columns is not included with shared plans, since the information may be private. All other content will be present and can be modified as needed for each student.

When publishing a plan, you can choose to share it with one school or the entire school district. You can create a plan based on an existing shared published plan. This new plan will be your own copy and does not change if the original shared plan is modified or removed.

For more information on how to share ILPs, please watch this YouTube video:

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