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Assessment & Reporting : Frequently Asked Questions
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Assessment & Reporting

Frequently Asked Questions

What is assessment?

Assessing student le​arning is an ongoing cycle of gathering, interpreting, and responding to student work. Assessment is used to inform the next steps in learning and evaluate student knowledge and understanding in relationship to the learner outcomes.

How are assessment and grading related?

Daily, ongoing assessment and report cards are not separate. They inform each other. Both are based on outcomes and Front Matter from the Programs of Study and inform next steps for learners and teachers. Formative assessment supports learning, summative assessment verifies learning, grading and reports cards summarize learning.​

​Andrea Petroni, teacher at Sir Wilfrid Laurier School explains the connection between assessment and grading

What is outcomes-based reporting?

Outcomes-based reporting in the CBE is when student learning is assessed and understood against an outcome, and communicated using an achievement indicator. Outcomes-based reporting provides clear descriptions of how well your child demonstrates the key skills, knowledge and attitudes identified in each course.

How can parents use an outcomes-based report card to help support their child’s learning?
​Principal Pat Thalheimer emphasizes
the important role that parents play
CBE parent, Patricia Wood talks about how
parents can be informed and involved

As a parent, you can better understand how to work with teachers to support your child’s learning by looking at the outcomes within each course. Through these outcomes, areas of strength and growth can be explored with your child in an ongoing dialogue that leads to the development of goals and strategies to support continued learning and success.
 
What does an outcomes-based report card look like?

This example is a section from a Grade 8 outcomes-based report card.
Example of a section from a Grade 8 outcomes-based report card


What are stems?

The stems describe what your child is expected to know and be able to do according to the Alberta Education Program of Studies. Alberta Education publishes resources for parents that further describe what your child is expected to know and be able to do in each grade: My Child's Learning: A Parent's Resource.
Outcomes/stems


What are achievement indicators?

Achievement indicators are established measures such as a 1 to 4 scale. They are used to express the extent to which your child has demonstrated understanding of the outcomes. A 2014/2015 K-9 report card indicator legend is provided below.
Current elementary report card legend

How are the stems de
veloped?

The report card stems are the synthesis of Front Matter and outcomes for each course derived from the Alberta Programs of Study. The Program of Studies for each course sets out learning objectives for the content your child should understand, the skills they should develop, and the learning processes they should apply.​
 
How will I know how well my child is doing in school?
​​

Teacher Andrea Petroni​ talks about conversations between parents and teachers about student learning

The report card is one component in communicating student learning. In addition to the report card, schools communicate with parents about student progress on an ongoing basis in a variety of ways. Some other ways to learn how your child is doing are informal conversations with your child and your child’s teachers, celebrations of learning, conferences, and online tools such as D2L, HomeLogic and Iris. For more information see “questions about your child's progress” in the resources section.
     
If my child transfers to another school division how will they understand my child’s progress?
 
Outcomes-based reporting communicates specifically your child’s achievement of the Alberta Programs of Study. Outcomes-based reporting will provide receiving schools with a clear understanding of your child as a learner, what they know and can do and how to further support learning opportunities for your child.
 
How does a teacher use multiple assessment tools to determine a final grade?
 
Assessment consists of a variety of conversation, observation, process-based and product-based forms over time. These multiple forms of assessment determine the extent to which learner outcomes have been demonstrated by your child.
 
Rubrics are clearly outlined sets of criteria that explain what a learner should know and be able to do. Throughout a unit of study a teacher will use a variety of assessments (rubrics, labs, tests, performance-based, observations, feedback, conversations, quizzes, portfolios etc.) At the end of their unit of study, students and teachers can assess progress in reference to the criteria, and decide on next steps in learning. A teacher then uses the most recent evidence of achievement to determine a final grade.
 
How will behavior, punctuality, and participation be graded?
 
Skills such as working with others, following directions, punctuality and participation are important for success in life. In the CBE, such skills are reported separately from academic achievement through Results 3: Citizenship, 4: Personal Development and 5: Character.
 
Who do I contact if I have questions or comments about reporting and assessment practices at my child’s school?
 
Contact the school principal to share any comments or discuss any questions you might have.
 

High school and beyond FAQs:

How will this impact my child’s transition to a high school?

​Sylvie Monfette, principal of Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School talks about assessment and reporting at high schools

The CBE is currently in the process of transitioning its formal reporting structure for K-9 to an outcomes-based report card. The reporting structure in high school is not changing. High schools will continue to use percentage grades to communicate student achievement on the report card.
     
Currently, all CBE high schools manage information from a wide variety of report card structures, both from within and from outside of our organization. In determining appropriate courses, conversations with students and parents about their strengths, challenges, areas for growth and future goals are important factors in decision-making. Middle/junior and high schools work closely together to ensure that students transition well and have access to appropriate courses in their high school setting. Report card grades are only one consideration for the appropriate placement of students in courses.
 
Will the reporting structure in high schools be changing?
 
No. Reporting structures in CBE high schools are not changing. CBE students will still have the transcripts required for transitions to post-secondary institutions or other learning environments.
 
How can I ensure that my high school student has multiple opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned?
 
Providing students the opportunity to demonstrate improvement over time supports the development of a student’s highest level of achievement. True mastery and competence are developed over time. Students carry forward concepts and skills they encounter repeatedly and they get better at skillfully applying knowledge the more experience they have. We expect different things of students during the learning process than we will expect from them when it is time to demonstrate final proficiency.
 
For example, Schimmer (2011) suggests that allowing students to redo assignments and assessments is important and in fact the best way to prepare them for adult life. Surgeons practice on cadavers before doing surgeries on live patients, emergency service professionals train and develop skills and strategies through simulations, hairstylists practice their technique on mannequins and then humans, chefs prepare hundreds of recipes in developing their palette, and mechanics work as an apprentice to gain experience. As we refine skills we become competent through practice, reflection and feedback.
 
Opportunities to learn from mistakes require students to create new learning, new thinking. It requires them to respond to feedback and holds them accountable to improve from first attempts. This is often more demanding of students than receiving an incomplete or a zero.
 
How will this impact my child’s continuing education at a post-secondary institution?
 
Students in high school receive a final course grade as a percentage. This fulfills the requirements of most universities and post-secondary institutions.
 
 

References

Last modified: 1/23/2017 4:40 PM
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