Report cards cut to reduce teacher workload
Students at some state schools will soon be doing fewer assessments, with unnecessary testing scrapped under a deal struck between the education department and the union to reduce teachers' "onerous" workload
Report cards and teacher-parent interviews for state school students will also be capped at two a year under the agreement, according to a directive issued by the Department of Education and the Queensland Teacher's Union.
The agreement, which is aimed at reducing teacher's workload and took eight weeks to thrash out, includes a clause to ensure schools were not administering more assessments than required under the curriculum.
QTU president Kevin Bates said at some schools students could be doing as many as 10 assessments each year, while at other schools students were only doing four assessments.
"So we want that brought back into alignment with what is required," Mr Bates said.
He said the agreement intended to set out the Department's requirements because "schools are doing significantly more than what is required, which is not expected".
"It's about trying to realign everything back to the centrally determined things that schools should be doing," he said.
The deal also includes an effort to ensure the schools are delivering the national curriculum, and clawing back any unnecessary add-ons.
"We want to make sure that it is clear and unambiguous that it's the national curriculum," Mr Bates said.
Reporting and parent-teacher interviews will also be cutback at some schools, with the new agreement capping both at two per year.
Queensland state schools were already only required to provide two written report cards and two opportunities for parent-teacher interviews but many schools were providing more than the mandated amount, causing "significant" workload issues according Mr Bates.
As part of the agreement, students this year will receive a report card with an A-E grading at the end of Term 4 but may not receive written comments in light of recognising the impact of COVID-19 on school communities.
It comes after eight weeks of negotiations between the teachers' union and the department over workload reduction strategies.
The joint statement outlining the agreement said the workload reduction strategies would create more space for teachers to teach and for school leaders to lead.
Education Minister Grace Grace said Queensland teachers and school staff have gone above and beyond during the 2020 school year.
She said the changes were built on feedback gathered over the past 18 months about how to ensure teachers were focused on improving student outcomes.
"This is now being put into practice, so that our teachers aren't burdened by onerous reporting and assessment," Ms Grace said.
"Because we want our teachers to spend more time teaching and less time filling out forms.
"By reducing the administration workload on teachers, we can ensure better outcomes for students."
The agreement also included measures to streamline data and information collection so individual schools are less burdened with work-intensive processes.
Originally published as Report cards cut to reduce teacher workload