Below are summaries of the discussions, recommendations and ideas, and further questions from the first CSLcamp36 session. Please make constructive comments, elaborations, or responses where you’d like by “Insert”-ing comments.
It sounds like competency-based assessment for university entrance is having a student show portfolio evidence that matches a university program’s competency list. Can anyone confirm this?
Challenges seem to centre around authenticity of the grade as we move away from percentages and into evidence based assessment. How do we convince parents that our subjective professional assessment of their child is valid?
It would be good to have a continuum of communication, rather than communicating in discrete spurts 3 - 4 times per year.
Use FreshGrade in the classroom to post assignments - students can use words, pictures, videos, and demonstrate the process of their learning
Professional role: we hear mixed messages – are we trusted or not? We can and do make professional judgments based on observation.
To what extent can grades be completely abandoned? I feel like the whole apparatus of grading and report cards is left-over from a previous era in educational philosophy which is completely at odds with the notion of ‘communicating student learning’ in organic and innovative ways.
Assessment based on assignments (spreadsheets) versus skills: averaging marks does not reflect abilities/progress towards mastery at the end. Making critical assessments allows for growth.
Students given opportunities to develop their own growth plans.
Student conferencing with teacher to settle and discuss student progress and grades: opportunity to talk about growth, evidence-based and mutual decision based on student progress.
In order to come up with grades without grading, we require authentic evidence: portfolios have potential to showcase growth, critical processes in student learning.
When asked “Don’t fail kids”: allowing students to fail gives them a chance to work through the processes in that course again, giving second chances. Not failing and “pushing through” can come at a cost for learners.
How will students who seem to “do nothing,” who are used to handing in work at last minute or at the end of the year: how does a process/competency-oriented focus change the way we look at progress and success?
Learning outcomes need to be carefully laid out for students, who can self-track and reflect – taking ownership for own learning rather than having teachers tell students (top down) where they are at, causing learning to stop (evaluation).
What could marking based on development look like? If students need to show growth with metacognition? Will students intentionally flub assignments in order to show growth later? What does this say about reliability of measurements? What diagnostic activities can help to strategize for collective student/teacher agreement on where a learner’s “baseline” is.
Examples of some of our shifts
How do you convert formative assessment into summative assessment?
What competency-based assessments exist outside BC? (source of inspiration)
Rethinking Letter Grades https://www.amazon.ca/Rethinking-Letter-Grades-Five-Step-Standards/dp/1553795008
With redesigned curriculum, we are finding that having inquiry projects that combine curricular competencies of many subject areas connect students to holistic perspective of learning.
Competency assessment leads to more flexibility for students (rather than what we think needs to be done).
How have others been assessing inquiry projects? What does tracking of curricular competencies look like?
Are interdisciplinary projects a way to end the year? Or a way of learning throughout the semester?
Consider “innovative schools” (Ministry website) that have journeyed through much of the resistance we find in our current attempts to increase perceived value in interdisciplinary ways of being and teaching.
Examples of some of our shifts:
Science & Physical Education - Study of Viral STIs
Math & Science – Boat Building & Sailing Competitions
Humanities & Science – famous scientists & connect w/ technology fro the Renaissance
ADST – connecting entrepreneurial thinking (Business Education) with design opportunities in Home Economics (Foods, Culinary, Textiles, Sociology/Family Studies) and Technology Education (Woodwork, Metalwork, Robotics, Electronics)
LEAD program (summer): enhancement program for Grade 8/9s for students who have C- or lower in 2 or more “academic” subjects
Science, Math, English, Socials, & Planning: gamification year-long cross-curricular learning. Connecting big ideas using games students currently play (consuming) to creating games (producting).
Pilot: English & Math pilot
Social Justice – students developing essential questions at beginning of semester; process and journey through investigation with respect to authentic social issues can help them communicating their own learning.
Many secondary teachers have never done true inquiry interdisciplinary teaching, often feel pressured to remain in silos, departments, and interdisciplinary teaching is perceived to be “add-on” rather than a way of connecting, authentically, the world.
Mathematics, though some connections starting to be made with Home Economics, is isolated.
No “one way” to live inquiry in the classroom: some students may need guidance and scaffolding of processes; some students may be more capable of open inquiry. Inquiry itself is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Teachers need to use professional judgment but if it doesn’t work once, does not mean we go back to stand-and-deliver as lowest common denominator. We need to consider for teachers AND students where they are with having permission to think about guiding their own thinking outside of what they think they “need” to do for teacher or for the district/ministry. Learning is not about appeasing others.
Start the year with assessing skills at the beginning to determine baselines of competencies: how do we craft this?
Start with guided inquiry especially for our current students who have had a system that perpetuates stand-and-deliver schooling vs. student-driven philosophies.
Teachers can provide essential questions and help students in focusing questions, guide inquiry. Inquiry is about the process and allows students to explain thinking from personal level.
Teacher can define the overarching question/theme for the semester. Example: What makes for a meaningful life. Based on new curriculum - do we need all students to work from the same question? Can they develop their own sub-questions? How do we scaffold full commitment?
Help students figure out how to design good questions:
Students have to explain how their projects meet the big ideas/curricular competencies/learning standards.
Students are given all the competencies to establish common language.
What do we need to prepare students with before beginning inquiry?
Do we teach students by telling them what the end result will look like?
What are ways to scaffold research skills?
What models of inquiry are being used and explored in your classes?
What does pro-d need to look like to fully understand and practice inquiry?
Focus on Inquiry (Alberta Learning)
Inquiry-based, Interdisciplinary, Competency-based Graduation Structure:
Moving Beyond Translation to Transformation
School(s): Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry
Proposal: We propose to develop and to demonstrate a new structure leading to graduation from high school in B.C. This inquiry-based approach includes the building of an interdisciplinary portfolio management system that ties artifacts to key competencies as opposed to behavioural outcomes, and a reporting system that is tied directly to the portfolio
Questions around software: Will we have FreshGrade next year at the Secondary Level.
What do we do for families who do not speak English – or do not have access to technology. Does helping these families out mean going back to percentages/letter grades?
Are check-lists based on skill a good way to track student progress? What are implications of using continuums vs. check-lists? What does it say about learning?
Rubrics and assignment of a % - is this any different than assigning marks w/ feedback? What does assigning % do to learning?
Use of portfolios - how do you gather data for each child? What goes in the portfolio?
Use of reflection sheet when w/out a prep - interviewing / conference with each child is not feasible - lack of time.
When evidence is uploaded for parents to see - do they understand what they are seeing? How do we scaffold learning for parents? “Parents understand letter grades and percentages.”
Teachers w/ websites know that parents are not logging in. What’s the point?
How many accounts do parents need to keep? Multiple teachers plus extra curricular / community activities.
Math & Science teachers are giving a percent / letter grade - English / Humanities are providing feed back w/out grade - parents are confused. Is this similar for your schools?
I don’t want to spend my time as an archivist … I want to be a teacher.
What is the effect we are seeing on students? Huge. Even though parents will lag behind in their understanding.
There is value in paper portfolios too!
Students organize their work and learning moments in a portfolio based on skill.
Use of a continuum that summarized the rubrics used in assessment - using key words - Parents given one document vs multiple rubrics.
Organize activities by skill - writing, critical thinking, oral language.
For Home Ec, uses FreshGrade/online platforms as a place for reflection, collecting goals, collecting evidence of learning
Inquiry & Keeping track:
FRESHGRADE –look beyond “gradebook” to organize portfolios. District supported/ FOIPPA compliant
QUIO – does this platform make learning goals and Curricular Competencies easier to track?
SCHOLANTIS application: Richmond SD exploring
GOOGLE classroom is another resources – potential integration into FreshGrade
Are the learning standards the same for all the grades? Repetitive?
No - going deeper and broader- more connections
No grades? Feedback + self-assessment + conference (in agreement with students)
Sharing samples of exceeding examples and not meeting expectations
Time consuming to get set up - but did share Learning standards with parents and they love it
Some parents are very ‘argumentative’ about not reporting grades, even though lots of feedback, student voice from assessment for learning.
Teachers meet and discuss /assess together - to develop consistency
Having an essential question for the course helps to guide student inquiry but also allow students and teachers to work together to discuss what is good evidence of learning and should be tracked/identified.
Teacher discusses assessment during the first week to set the classroom culture to set the ‘tone.’ It is about the relationships.
Math @ QE (Figure 1) - trying to set up a common language and bring in ‘assignments’ and activities that bring out language of competencies (eg. How to explain) and develop student communication skills
Track ‘PROBLEM-solving’ using the draft in Figure 1
Use student language to convey what we are looking for: teaching students how to recognize which activities match which skill (students taught the language and recognizing skills). Visuals in classroom (posters with curricular competencies) in the classroom.
Strategy to invite parents into the curriculum redesign (Math):
Provide skills being developed and specifics on strength and areas for improvement & strategies for improvement. How do our parents who are learning English help or implement home strategies.
Visual continuum to show student progress in each of the skill development areas - using key words from the rubrics.
Snapshots - use of the overall snapshot from the performance standards may be more manageable and more parent friendly.
Need a better platform to connect student-parent-teacher so that everyone can see the learning continuum
No letter grades and percentages … instead have pass/fail? Or other alternatives? (Only for gr 8&9...until further clarification from Ministry of Education in regards to grad portfolio and university’s shifting entrance requirements)
Be thoughtful of the “audience” (parents’) experiences when they were in school. The traditional 3 reporting dates framed their experiences. They need time to reflect on summative vs formative assessment purposes.
Evidence of student learning has shifted. Authenticity vs traditional paper/pencil tests.
Re-Designing Assessment in a Middle School
School: Trafalgar Middle school
Proposal: Trafalgar Middle school is working to incorporate more meaningful assessment practices into our work with students. Clear criteria, rubrics, self and peer assessment, and timely feedback from teachers form the basis for communicating student learning to parents. Our goal is to shift from three formal reporting periods to regular, ongoing communication about student learning through the use of e-Portfolios and letter grade free report cards.
Communicating Student Learning
School(s): Carson Graham Secondary school, Rockridge Secondary school, Mulgrave Independent school
Community: North Vancouver, West Vancouver
Proposal: The Communicating Student Learning innovation project transcends traditional school district boundaries by incorporating three school districts from both the public and independent educational sectors. The project focuses on the International Baccalaureate approaches to learning skills and the communication of students’ development of these skills through a standards-based report card.