In the school division that I work in, for the past decade our teachers have collaborated, discussed and shared student assessment experiences. From these discussions came about our K-9 report card in 2012. This report card is designed to provide a broader snapshot of how students are learning. It also identifies ways to support student growth and development.
This approach focuses on the broader knowledge and skills that student should learning in each subject. Student performance is then report in one of four categories: exemplary, proficient, approaching proficiency and beginning. This report card emphasizes where student ARE in their learning. Multiple assessment tools, not just %-based tests are being utilized to assess student progress in skills and knowledge outcomes. (See our sample K, grade 4 and grade 7 report cards.)
The way I explain this approach to my non-teacher friends is:
• You go to your doctor for an annual check-up. He/she takes your blood pressure, weighs you, and asks about your overall health, takes blood and urine samples all during your visit. When the results come in from each of those “tests”, your doctor then adds up all these tests and gives you an overall health percentage rating of 81%. Does this then mean that each of these tests were equal in nature and measured the exact same thing? Are you healthier than your friend who received a 75% rating from their doctor the week before? Certainly NOT.
• In the classroom, teachers offer students a variety of assessment opportunities which are not equal in nature and do not ‘measure’ the same thing, therefore adding all of these together to produce a final percentage really doesn’t provide a legitimate picture. As well, adding in our Critical Thinking initiative and Inclusion focus allows students of any academic, behavior, cognitive, and physical level to engage in the learning environment. We want our learning spaces to be filled with exploration, creativity and imagination which make learning exciting and aspiring.
Watch the following video to see what a post-secondary student has to say about an education system that concerns itself with only the “what” of learning. 21st century learning can no longer be ‘sit and get’.