10 Principles of Assessment

Principle #9

Communicating student learning must be clear, transparent, and ongoing, with a focus on performance standards-based language and meaningful descriptions, collections, and demonstrations of student learning.

When we give students grades – when we evaluate them- we want to grade them on what they have learned – grades are based on evidence gleaned from ongoing authentic assessment…work samples, student talk, performances, artifacts…we evaluate and give grades ONLY after students have had time to internalize the strategies and skills we have taught and we base grades on a substantial body of evidence that stands as proof of learning and current understandings.

—Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels

In British Columbia, the Ministry of Education provides regulations and procedures for assessing and reporting student progress as outlined on their website under Classroom Assessment and Reporting, and in relevant policy documents including Reporting Student Progress: Policy and Practice. These policy documents are developed according to regulations and requirements set out in the Ministerial Orders, including in particular the Student Progress Report Order and the Provincial Letter Grades Order, which are authorized under the School Act.

Throughout each school term, teachers gather and record assessment and evaluation data regarding students’ level of performance in relation to criteria established for the learning activities. The records may be in the form of teacher observations, work samples, tests, assignments, projects and other performance tasks. Prior to issuing report cards, the teacher reviews the assessment data and judges each student’s overall performance for that term.

The purpose of reporting is to communicate student achievement to students and their parents/guardians. Student performance is evaluated based on information collected through assessment activities over an instructional period. “Teachers use their professional expertise, knowledge about learning and experience with students, along with specific criteria, to make judgements about student performance in relation to learning outcomes” (Ministry of Education, 2009)

British Columbia provincial regulations require that parents be provided with a minimum of three formal written report cards and two informal reports each year.

Formal Written Report Cards
Formal written report cards follow the requirements for the grade and program as in policy.

Formal reports identify student progress and are part of the Permanent Student Record. British Columbia’s Student Progress Report Order authorizes the requirements for reporting the progress of all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students.

Informal Reports
Two informal reports each year provide parents with updates on students’ progress and suggestions for ways learning may be supported. In the North Vancouver School District, two parent-teacher conferences are scheduled each year to communicate student progress informally with parents. A record of each informal report should be kept, noting the date and topics discussed.

In addition, teachers communicate with parents throughout the year in-person, by telephone, through email, or through class websites/blogs. Informal reports are an important link between home and school that help to support student progress.

Letter Grades
Letter grades are used in Grades 4-12 to indicate a student’s performance in relation to the learning standards set out in provincial curriculum guides for each subject or course and grade, including Board Authorized courses. Criterion referenced letter grades indicate a student’s level of performance in relation to learning standards, and may be assigned for an activity, unit of study, or end of term mark.

At the end of the school year or completion of a course, teachers assign a letter grade to indicate each student’s overall performance in relation to the learning standards: the final letter grade is not necessarily derived by averaging the term marks.

Letter grades and associated percentages are set out in the Provincial Letter Grades Order and are currently used in student progress reports.

Use of the Letter Grade “I”
The letter “I” will be used to alert parents when students, for a variety of reasons, are not demonstrating minimally acceptable performance in relation to the learning standards or expected learning outcomes.

The “I” may be used at any time during the school year on informal or formal reports. The underlying principle is that parents and students should be alerted to a problem as soon as teachers detect it.

When an “I” reporting symbol has been assigned:

  • students and parents must be informed, and must be provided with an opportunity to consult with teachers about the problems students are having and possible solutions; and
  • teachers must be prepared to identify what the problems are and specify plans of action to help students achieve the learning outcomes. An “I” may be communicated in a variety of ways, including: through a written plan, verbally by telephone, or in a direct meeting involving teacher, parents and students.

The “I” letter grade must be converted to another letter grade or percentage:

  • before students’ records are transferred to another school, unless there is agreement between the principals of the two schools to defer conversion of the “I” reporting symbol;
  • when letter grades are recorded on the permanent student record card; and,
  • before submission of Grades 10, 11 or 12 marks to the Ministry for inclusion on students’ transcripts of grades.

An “F” letter grade can only be assigned if an “I” reporting symbol was previously assigned, or as a result of failing a provincially examinable course.

K-7 Guidelines for Communicating Student Learning on Report Cards

Goals for Communicating Student Learning:

  • Communicate student progress meaningfully to parents
  • Focus on learning standards and competencies
  • Provide descriptive feedback on progress shown
  • Articulate next steps for learning
  • Provide meaningful, relevant descriptions, concrete evidence/artifacts that show learning

Principles from the North Vancouver School District Communicating Student Learning K-12 Handbook that specifically relate to Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting:

  • Assessment and evaluation practices must be aligned with essential curricular concepts, content, expectations and learning goals.
  • Students must be provided with ongoing feedback that is clear, specific, and timely to support their progress towards achieving learning goals.
  • Summative assessments must be based on clear criteria (aligned to core competencies and curricular outcomes) and include a variety of opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning.
  • Evaluation and grading must reflect achievement and progress over time in relation to specific learning outcomes or student goals; evaluation is tied to learning not behavior and attitude.
  • Communicating student learning must be clear, transparent, and ongoing, with a focus on performance standards-based.
  • Assessment and reporting practices and procedures support all students, including those with special needs and those who are learning a second or additional language. Language and meaningful descriptions, collections, and demonstrations of student learning. K-7 Guidelines for Communicating Student Learning.
MyEd BC Report Card

Note:

  • As of September 2016, report cards will not be printed, they will be uploaded to the MYED BC parent portal
  • Length is not an issue for comments – each course has 2000 characters of space for comments

As of the 2016-2017 school year NVSD will issue:

  • Two snap shot report cards (December and March)
  • One summative report card (June)
  • Student self-assessment: to be included on summative June report card only
  • Cumulative grading (one term)

On the MYED BC Report card the school statement is to be completed by school based administrators and may include reference to:

  • New report card format
  • Overarching changes to curriculum and assessment
  • General School notices
  • Parent Teacher interview

On the MYED BC Report card the teacher overarching statement is to be completed by classroom teachers and may include reference to:

  • Units covered
  • Big ideas
  • Inter/trans disciplinary themes
Comments

Written comments should include:

Kindergarten  3 point performance standards
Grades 1-3       4 point performance standards

Kindergarten Performance Standards:

Approaching
Expectations
  • work may be inconsistent, but meets grade-level expectations at a minimal level
  • evidence of progress toward relevant learning outcomes
  • needs support in some areas
Meeting
Expectations
  • work meets grade-level expectations
  • evidence that relevant learning outcomes have been met
  • proficienctly demonstrates academic performance
Exceeding
Expectations
  • work exceeds grade-level expectations
  • demonstrates superior performance and in-depth understanding of learning outcomes


Grades 1-3 Performance Standards:

Not Yet Meeting
Expectations
  • work does not meet grade-level expectations
  • may be evidence of progress toward relevant learning outcomes
  • requires ongoing support
Approaching
Expectations
  • work may be inconsistent, but meets grade-level expectations at a minimal level
  • evidence of progress toward relevant learning outcomes
  • needs support in some areas
Meeting
Expectations
  • work meets grade-level expectations
  • evidence that relevant learning outcomes have been met
  • proficiently demonstrates academic performance
Exceeding
Expectations
  • work exceeds grade-level expectations
  • demonstrates superior performance and in-depth understanding of learning outcomes

Course-Based Comments

  • Report Card comments will be uploaded to MYED BC and the length of comments is not an issue  each course has 2000 characters of space to comment
  • To be included in each course comment box:

– Areas to support further development
– Ways to support learning

  • Please comment on any adaptations received by the student, according to their IEP, in the anecdotal comment
  • Comments can be used from either the NVSD comment bank or your personal comment bank

Suggested comment starters:

  • Areas to support further development (to be included in each course comment)
  • Ways to support learning (to be included in each course comment)

– …should focus on continued development of …

– …needs to … to ensure a more complete understanding of the curricular competencies.

  • Where the student is in regards to…..

– … demonstrated a strong understanding of …..

  • What the student knows (content), can do (competencies) and understands (transfer big ideas)
  • Where the student is in relation to the learning standards: – the curricular competencies

– the big ideas
– core competencies which are integrated

  • Student’s strengths
  • How parents can support learning
  • Growth mindset comments

– Where are the students now?
– Where are they going?
– How will they get there?
– Not yet…
– Next steps…

North Vancouver School District K-3 Reporting Summary

There are two proficiency scales to report learning:

  • For Kindergarten students   Three point: Approaching, Meeting, Exceeding Expectations
  • For grades 1-3 students        Four point: Not Yet Meeting, Approaching, Meeting, Exceeding

Performance standards are based on achievement only. Factors such as behaviour are important and should be communicated through conversations and comments on the report card. These factors should not be used in determining students’ achievement in relation to grade level/age-range learning standards.

Detailed guidelines for reporting progress in the primary grades may be found in the BC Ministry of Education’s Reporting Student Progress: Policy and Practice document.

North Vancouver School District Grades 4-5 Reporting

Performance standards and letter grades are based on achievement only. Factors such as behaviour are important and should be communicated through conversations and comments on the report card. These factors should not be used in determining students’ achievement in relation to grade level/age-range learning standards.

Ministry-approved letter grades as set out in the Provincial Letter Grades Order to indicate the student’s level of performance in relation to learning standards for each subject and grade.

 

Detailed guidelines for reporting progress in the intermediate grades may be found in the BC Ministry of Education’s Reporting Student Progress: Policy and Practice document.

North Vancouver School District Grades 6-9 Reporting

Performance standards and letter grades are based on achievement only. Factors such as behaviour are important and should be communicated through conversations and comments on the report card. These factors should not be used in determining students’ achievement in relation to grade level/age-range learning standards.

Ministry-approved letter grades as set out in the Provincial Letter Grades Order to indicate the student’s level of performance in relation to learning standards for each subject and grade.

Detailed guidelines for reporting progress for grades 6-9 may be found in the BC Ministry of Education’s Reporting Student Progress: Policy and Practice document.

North Vancouver School District Grades 10-12 Reporting

The Interim Student Progress Reporting Guidelines for K-9 do not apply to Grades 10-12.

  • In Grades 10 to 12, formal reports will include:

– letter grades
– percentages
– written reporting comments, where deemed to be appropriate, to indicate students’ level of performance in relation to the learning standards set out in the curriculum for each course or subject and grade.

  • All formal reports should contain a description of student behaviour, including information on attitudes, work habits, effort and social responsibility.
  • Performance standards and letter grades are based on achievement only. Factors such as behavior are important and should be communicated through conversations and comments on the report card. These factors should not be used in determining students’ achievement in relation to grade level/age-range learning standards.

Ministry-approved letter grades as set out in the Provincial Letter Grades Order to indicate the student’s level of performance in relation to learning standards for each subject and grade.

Detailed guidelines for reporting progress for grades 10-12 may be found in the BC Ministry of Education’s Reporting Student Progress: Policy and Practice document.

Letter Grades and Work Habits

Letter grades and associated percentages are set out in the Provincial Letter Grades Order and are currently used in student progress reports. They include:


The successful completion of a course numbered 11 or 12 requires a minimum of a C- (50%).


Work Habits
Work habits are reported on independently from marks in grades 8-12 and are set out in the Provincial Letter Grades Order. These are used to report on student behaviours on report cards. They include:


EXCELLENT (E)

  • Responsibility: demonstrates an industrious work ethic, ready to work and learn.
  • Cooperation: a class leader exemplified by a high degree of positive and meaningful participation initiated by the student.
  • Independence: a keen and enthusiastic learner actively seeking out personal growth and learning opportunities.

GOOD (G)

  • Responsibility: all assignments turned in, ready to work and learn.
  • Cooperation: works well with other students and teachers, participates in class in a meaningful way.
  • Independence: a self-directed learner – takes appropriate initiative and responsibility for learning.

SATISFACTORY (S)

  • Responsibility: most assignments turned in, usually ready to work and learn.
  • Cooperation: usually works well with other students and teacher(s).
  • Independence: often requires direction.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT (N)

  • Responsibility: most assignments missing, frequently not ready to work and learn.
  • Cooperation: does not work well with other students or teacher(s).
  • Independence: needs one-on-one attention most of the time.
Classroom Examples/Teacher Testimonials

1. An Elementary Teacher reports academic achievement through the established learning standards. Throughout the term, formative assessment information is gathered on these standards. Periodically, summative assessments provide a snapshot of students’ individual progress. These summative assessments reflecting student growth are reported to parents throughout the year.

2. A Secondary Teacher communicates to parents at the beginning of the year the big ideas, enduring understandings, driving questions, and summative assessment for each unit of study. All stakeholders have a clear understanding of the learning goals and expectations for success.

 

Teacher Tips

1. Develop performance standards and common grading practices among teachers at the same school or within the same department; consistency in the development, meaning, and application of grading practices from one teacher to the next is essential for accuracy and fairness in reporting student progress (O’Connor, 2011, p. 5).

2. Use the language of Performance Standards and Learning Standards with students. It helps them understand the purpose/target of their learning, enabling them to focus on understanding and performing to that standard.

3. Use student-led conferences to enable students to share their progress with their parents. Students can explain the learning targets and provide evidence of their ability to meet these targets. Use frameworks to guide students and parents in this process.

4. Structure parent-teacher conferences to provide meaningful qualitative feedback – beyond percentages and/or letter grades. Focus the meeting on what the child knows, has learned, or understands; highlight evidence of his/her growth towards the learning standards; and discuss ways to support the student in meeting goals for continued learning.