The Goals of Public Education
The primary mandate of the public school system in Nova Scotia is to provide education programs and services for students to enable them to develop their potential and acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy society and a prosperous and sustainable economy.
Preparing All Students for a Lifetime of Learning
Fundamental changes are occurring in the world. The economy is becoming more diversified and is placing a greater emphasis on information-based enterprises, global competitiveness, and sustainable development. Society is becoming more diverse in family structure, language, culture, values, and perspectives. There is a growing awareness of global interdependence among peoples and nations. Nova Scotia’s future is becoming more reliant upon partnerships and collaboration.
To function successfully in this changing environment, all children in Nova Scotia need a broad-based, quality education. Quality in education is demonstrated by the excellence of individual courses, programs, and shared experiences. Quality is also demonstrated by the diversity of educational experiences in which students are actively involved and by the extent to which individual student needs are met.
The challenge of education is to offer a school experience that will provide students with opportunities to develop the understanding, skills, and attitudes necessary to become lifelong learners capable of identifying and solving problems and dealing effectively with change. Students need well-developed organizational and interpersonal skills, which include working collaboratively with others and developing leadership skills.
Students need to be able to communicate clearly, competently, and confidently from a broad knowledge base to make thoughtful and responsible decisions. Achieving these educational goals will allow students to make connections between what they learn and how they live.
Fundamental to achieving these goals is the development of each student’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is most effectively fostered by a learner-centred school environment that provides opportunities for all students to experience success from a variety of achievements. This success should enable learners to build confidence regarding their abilities and competencies and, more importantly, foster an image of themselves as persons of dignity and value who deserve respect. To this end, educational programs, services, and the teaching/learning environment must be sensitive to the culture and heritage of learners and must actively promote anti-racist principles.
Our vision of an educated person is that of a competent, confident learner able to think critically and participate fully in a democratic society and in a lifetime of meaningful work. A sound education provided in partnership with the home and the community forms the basis for students to become healthy and caring persons, having a respect for self and others and a desire to contribute to society as productive citizens.
A comprehensive education must offer a balanced program of studies that includes opportunities to explore the cultural, aesthetic, social, intellectual, physical, vocational, and moral aspects of society. All partners in education must work together to provide a stimulating and supportive environment to assist individuals in reaching their full potential.
2011–2012 THE GOALS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
4 PUBLIC SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Essential Graduation Learnings
Public school education in Nova Scotia has two major goals: to help all students develop to their full potential cognitively, affectively, physically, and socially and to help all students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and
skills necessary for them to continue as thinking, learning, physically active, valued members of society.
The department believes that these goals can best be reached if school communities help students to develop in certain areas of learning called essential graduation learnings. These areas cross traditional subject boundaries and are not the monopoly of any one discipline. The Department of Education has identified six areas of learning:
v aesthetic expression
v personal development
v problem solving
v technological competence
The departments of education of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation (APEF), have developed statements describing what all students should know and be able to do in these areas of learning by the time they graduate. The essential graduation learnings are as follows:
Aesthetic Expression: Graduates will be able to respond with critical awareness to various forms of the arts and be able to express themselves through the arts.
They will, for example, be able to
v use various art forms as a means of formulating and expressing ideas, perceptions, and feelings
v demonstrate understanding of the contribution of the arts to daily life, cultural identity and diversity, and the economy
v demonstrate understanding of the ideas, perceptions, and feelings of others as expressed in various art forms
v demonstrate understanding of the significance of such cultural resources as theatres, museums, and galleries
Citizenship: Graduates will be able to assess social, cultural, economic, and environmental interdependence in a local and global context.
They will, for example, be able to
v demonstrate understanding of sustainable development and its implications for the environment
v demonstrate understanding of Canada’s political, social, and economic systems in a global context
v explain the significance of the global economy on economic renewal and the development of society
v demonstrate understanding of the social, political, and economic forces that have shaped the past and present and apply those understandings in planning for the future
v examine human rights issues and recognize forms of discrimination
v determine the principles and actions of just, pluralistic, and democratic societies
v demonstrate understanding of their own and others’ cultural heritage and cultural identity and of the contribution of multiculturalism to society
Communication: Graduates will be able to use the listening, viewing, speaking, reading, and writing modes of language(s) and mathematical and scientific concepts and symbols to think, learn, and communicate effectively.
THE GOALS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION 2011–2012
PUBLIC SCHOOL PROGRAMS 5
They will, for example, be able to
v explore, reflect on, and express their own ideas, learnings, perceptions, and feelings
v demonstrate understanding of facts and relationships presented through words, numbers, symbols, graphs, and charts
v present information and instructions clearly, logically, concisely, and accurately for a variety of audiences
v demonstrate a knowledge of the second official language
v interpret, evaluate, and express data in everyday language
v access, process, evaluate, and share information
v critically reflect on and interpret ideas presented through a variety of media
Personal Development: Graduates will be able to continue to learn and to pursue an active, healthy lifestyle.
They will, for example, be able to
v demonstrate preparedness for the transition to work and further learning
v make appropriate decisions and take responsibility for those decisions
v work and study purposefully both independently and in groups
v demonstrate understanding of the relationship between health and lifestyle
v discriminate among a wide variety of career opportunities
v demonstrate coping, management, and interpersonal skills
v demonstrate intellectual curiosity, an entrepreneurial spirit, and initiative
v reflect critically on ethical issues
Problem Solving: Graduates will be able to use the strategies and processes needed to solve a wide variety of problems, including those requiring language and mathematical and scientific concepts.
They will, for example, be able to
v acquire, process, and interpret information critically to make informed decisions
v use a variety of strategies and perspectives with flexibility and creativity for solving problems
v formulate tentative ideas and question their own assumptions and those of others
v solve problems individually and collaboratively
v identify, describe, formulate, and reformulate problems
v frame and test hypotheses
v evaluate ideas and examples and ask for explanations
v ask questions, observe relationships, make inferences, and draw conclusions
v identify, describe, and interpret different points of view and distinguish fact from opinion
Technological Competence: Graduates will be able to use a variety of technologies, demonstrate an understanding
of technological applications, and apply appropriate technologies for solving problems.
They will, for example, be able to
v locate, evaluate, adapt, create, and share information using a variety of sources and technologies
v demonstrate understanding of, and use, existing and developing technologies
v demonstrate understanding of the impact of technology on society
v demonstrate understanding of ethical issues related to the use of technology in a local and global context
2011–2012 THE GOALS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
Essential Graduation Learnings and the School
Providing opportunities for students to achieve the Essential Graduation Learnings is a shared responsibility within the whole school community—none of the six “learnings” is the monopoly of one subject or discipline alone, and none is to be developed in isolation from the others. For instance, enabling students to use language as a tool for learning is the responsibility of all teachers; activities in math or science classes centring on problem solving may develop both problem-solving skills and aesthetic expression.
Aesthetic expression begins with an aesthetic awareness or sensitivity that engages both thoughts and feelings. That awareness involves a kind of knowing that goes beyond the acquisition of information. It has to do with knowing on a deeper level; with understanding the contexts of time, place, and community; and with internalizing human experiences and expression in a unique manner. For example, students in a social studies class may read a poem about an event or create a drama or dance to represent it, and thus deepen and enhance their understanding.
Aesthetic expression, then, has to do with response to experiences and involves the students directly. In responding or expressing aesthetically throughout the curriculum, students become aware of such qualities as rhythm, repetition, unity, symmetry, contrast, sequence, climax, balance, harmony, counterpoint, pace, and tone.
The arts, in particular, are concerned with deepening students’ sensitivities and extending their aesthetic mode of knowing. Through direct engagement in the arts, whether it be in music, science, dance, math, visual arts, or language arts class, students learn about themselves and society and their potential for contributing to the interplay of ideas, emotions, and values that shape society. For example, mathematical equations and theoretical proofs can evoke an aesthetic response for some. For students in science, an understanding of the resilience and fragility of nature and the interdependence and importance of all life forms may be an aesthetic experience. For others, movement experienced as a participant or as an observer has aesthetic meaning.
Opportunities to develop aesthetic awareness enable students to recognize the importance of aesthetic expressions in their daily lives (whether it be the music they listen to, the videos they view, the local art gallery they visit, the buildings around them, or their own poetic musings) as those expressions enrich and shape selfand community, cultural identity, and diversity.
Citizenship education involves helping students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable them to have a sense of belonging and to understand, actively participate in, and contribute positively to local, regional, national, and global communities.
To this end, all students engage in co-operative learning experiences that enable them to practise the democratic principles upon which their society is based. Through the study of Canada and its development, students develop an understanding of the foundations of their democratic society. Multiple learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom enable students to develop and demonstrate their understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Canadians, the rule of law and the ways changes to the law might be made, and the dynamicsof the pluralistic and multicultural society in which they live.
Throughout the public school program, students will be assisted to become informed and responsible Canadian citizens who can think creatively and critically, make judgments in an informed way, solve problems andnegotiate conflict, and actively participate in the democratic process.
Communication involves articulating and interpreting information, ideas, or emotions to learn, create, or inform. To communicate, we use not only written and spoken language, numbers, and symbols, but also images, gestures, movement, music, and other sounds.
In all disciplines, language serves two very important functions: it is an instrument for learning and a means of communicating. Through formulating tentative thoughts in language, we give order and meaning to information, experiences, and concepts and so come to understand them better. In all subject areas, small group talk and exploratory writing provide students with opportunities to use language for learning.
Research shows a close connection between a student’s growth in language use and his/her growth in thinking ability. Even as they use language for communication, students make ideas clearer for themselves. Through language, we make our thoughts known to others. To develop the ability to use language as an instrument for learning and communication, students need opportunities to talk and write in all subject areas for a variety of audiences and purposes. They also need to read and listen thoughtfully and sensitively. Students calculate, estimate, measure, and use mathematics and science concepts in a wide range of disciplines.
In making connections to language arts, social studies, and physical education, to name just three areas of study, students frequently interpret data found in everyday life, make judgments about
their interpretations, and communicate their judgments and reasoning to others, usually using everyday language but also using the signs and symbols of mathematics.
All disciplines may provide opportunities for students to represent or clarify their ideas, knowledge, or emotions using images in, for example, drawings, photographs, or video. Students may also use movement, music, or other sounds in various combinations with language and images to give richness and complexity to their communication.
The public school program offers students opportunities to develop their intellectual potential and to develop attributes that promote individual, social, emotional, and physical well-being. The school program at all levels provides opportunities for fostering students’ growth as collaborative and independent lifelong learners who can take responsibility for their own health and lifestyle.
The program also affords students opportunities to discover their particular interests and abilities. Each subject area engages students in reflecting on how they they learn as well as what they have learned, so that they might better know themselves as learners and build on their learning strengths. Many subject areas offer learners career education and opportunities to reflect on and integrate their personal, family, school, and community experiences to facilitate lifestyle and career choices.
All students need learning experiences that help them to understand themselves and to co-operate, negotiate, and build strong relationships with others. Experiences that help students develop entrepreneurial spirit and initiative, respond to opportunities to participate in their community, and be flexible in their outlook are important components of the public school program.
In addition, the learning environment and learning experiences must help students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to lead healthy and active lives. A healthy, active lifestyle includes a commitment to lifelong learning and includes a commitment to positive lifestyle choices. Active, healthy living pursuits lead to an enriched use of leisure time and recognition of the importance and benefits of personal physical fitness. The public school program provides opportunities for learners to discuss and express their own ideas and feelings, question and clarify their own values and beliefs, and examine ethical issues from critical perspectives.
Students need learning experiences that enable them to gain an understanding of and commitment to the principles of fairness and equity. The public school program offers opportunities for students to focus on these issues so they may deal with others in a respectful way.
In all subject areas, students demonstrate the important techniques of problem solving as they try to identify, describe, and reformulate problems from a variety of different perspectives; as they express their tentative ideas to others; as they explore, generate, and develop ideas; and as they listen and respond to the ideas of others, reflecting critically on the methods chosen and learning from mistakes as well as successes.
Students demonstrate the important techniques of problem solving as they show curiosity and
open-mindedness, ask for explanations, make generalizations and supply specific evidence, question their own assumptions and those of others, read critically, and evaluate ideas and examples.
In the public school program, technological competence involves an understanding of the interrelation of technology, society, and the environment and the ability to use technology to manage information. All subjects help students to understand how technology shapes and is shaped by society and to become aware of the risks and benefits that result from technological development. Students also theorize about how technological problem-solving strategies can be used to take advantage of opportunities for innovation.
In all subjects, students write and manipulate their writing using word processing; in many subjects, students access and manage data in databases and spreadsheets and use information networks.
Students who face academic or physical challenges also explore technology as a facilitative tool.
Principles of Learning
The public school program is based on principles of learning that teachers and administrators should use as the basis of the experiences they plan for their students. These principles include the following:
- Learning is a process of actively constructing knowledge. Therefore, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to
v create environments and plan experiences that foster investigating, questioning, predicting, exploring, collecting, educational play, and communicating
v engage learners in experiences that encourage their personal construction of knowledge, for example, hands-on, minds-on science and math; drama; creative movement; artistic representation; writing and talking to learn
v provide learners with experiences that actively involve them and are personally meaningful
- Students construct knowledge and make it meaningful in terms of their prior knowledge and experiences. Therefore, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to
v find out what students already know and can do
v create learning environments and plan experiences that build on learners’ prior knowledge
v ensure that learners are able to see themselves reflected in the learning materials used in the school
v recognize, value, and use the great diversity of experiences and information students bring to school
v provide learning opportunities that respect and support students’ racial, cultural, and social identity
v ensure that students are invited or challenged to build on prior knowledge, integrating new understandings with existing understandings
- Learning is enhanced when it takes place in a social and collaborative environment.
Therefore, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to
v ensure that talk, group work, and collaborative ventures are central to class activities
v see that learners have frequent opportunities to learn from and with others
v structure opportunities for learners to engage in diverse social interactions with peers and adults
v help students to see themselves as members of a community of learners
- Students need to continue to view learning as an integrated whole.Therefore, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to
v plan opportunities to help students make connections across the curriculum and with the world outside and structure activities that require students to reflect on those connections
v invite students to apply strategies from across the curriculum to solve problems in real situations
- Learners must see themselves as capable and successful. Therefore, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to
v provide activities, resources, and challenges that are developmentally appropriate to the learner
v communicate high expectations for achievement to all students
v encourage risk-taking in learning
v ensure that all students experience genuine success on a regular basis
v value experimentation and treat approximation as signs of growth
v provide frequent opportunities for students to reflect on and describe what they know and can do
v provide learning experiences and resources that reflect the diversity of the local and global community
v provide learning opportunities that develop self- esteem
- Learners have different ways of knowing and representing knowledge.
Therefore, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to
v recognize each learner’s preferred ways of constructing meaning and provide opportunities for exploring alternative ways
v plan a wide variety of open-ended experiences and assessment strategies
v recognize, acknowledge, and build on students’ diverse ways of knowing and representing their knowledge
v structure frequent opportunities for students to use various art forms—music, drama, visual arts, dance, movement, crafts—as a means of exploring, formulating, and expressing ideas
- Reflection is an integral part of learning.
Therefore, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to
v challenge their beliefs and their practices based on continuous reflection
v encourage students to reflect on their learning processes and experiences
v encourage students to acknowledge and articulate their learnings
v help students use their reflections to understand themselves as learners, make connections with other learnings, and proceed with learning
Senior High Years: Grades 10–12
A High School Graduation Diploma is awarded to students who have successfully completed the required subjects and electives as described below.
Each school should offer to all students patterns of courses appropriate to their individual needs. The counselling and teaching staffs should help each student select courses that meet the entry requirements of the post-secondary education or employment choice of the student and that help him or her develop personal interests and a broader range of abilities.
Courses at the grade 10 level are designed to provide all learners with access to a strong foundation of common educational experiences. These courses engage students in a variety of groupings and interactions as contexts for learning, and offer a range of experiences that provide both challenge and support. To prepare students for a range of post-secondary destinations, grade 11 and grade 12 programs include course offerings that are increasingly specialized; as such, these grades are referred to as the specialization years.
Courses are identified by course title, grade level (10, 11, or 12); credit value (one credit or ½ credit); and credit type (academic, advanced, graduation, or open). A number of courses have a modular design: learning modules, each involving 25–30 hours of scheduled time, may be grouped as a full credit or a half credit.
The Learning Environment
A supportive, structured learning environment in senior high is
v challenging, engaging, and relevant
v participatory, interactive, and collaborative
v personalized, safe, and positive
v responsive to students’ diverse learning styles
v open to experimentation and analysis
The environment should promote
v active learning throughout the school
v lifelong learning
v core beliefs and values
v respect and caring among staff, between staff and students, and among students
v a strong sense of community
v teamwork, collaborative planning, and shared decision making
v responsibility and student involvement in decision making at the classroom and school levels
v worthwhile student-initiated activities
v peer support systems
v open and diversified co-curricular and extra-curricular activities
v full participation in the life and work of the school by the entire learning community
v strong and productive communication and relationships with students’ families and with community agencies and organizations as partners in the students’ education
v values and practices for active, healthy living
v respect for the natural environment
Essential Learning Experiences
Schools have a responsibility to provide a range of experiences to meet the diverse learning needs of senior high students. The senior high program must provide opportunities for students to
v think critically and engage in disciplined inquiry
v develop as self-directed learners
v develop the generic skills and attitudes that are transferable to the work world
v make connections between their learning in school and a variety of career options
v experience success that represents solid achievement and genuine accomplishment
v complete substantial and meaningful academic work
v generate solutions to genuine problems
Students should have multiple opportunities to
v engage in authentic and relevant learning situations that have enduring value beyond the classroom
v interact in environments that affirm and promote diversity
v make and reflect on connections across the curriculum
v connect their learning to life outside the school
v develop and learn through their multiple intelligences and preferred learning styles
v use technology in a variety of ways
v use visual tools as pathways to learning and as avenues for representing knowledge
v assess their own learning
v reflect on and articulate what and how they have learned
v work in a variety of grouping arrangements
v make informed decisions
v demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways
High School Credits
Definition of a Credit
A credit is awarded in recognition of the successful completion of an approved course that would normally be completed in a minimum of 110 hours of scheduled time.
In courses defined through curriculum outcomes statements, students are expected to have demonstrated achievement of the outcomes at an acceptable level of proficiency.
Each course is categorized as one of the following credit types:
Academic—Academic courses are designed for students who expect to enter college, university, or other post-secondary institutions.
Advanced—Advanced courses are designed to meet the needs of students who have demonstrated an exceptional degree of academic ability or achievement.
Graduation—Graduation courses are designed for students who wish to earn a graduation diploma with a view to proceeding to employment or some selected area of post-secondary study.
Open—Although none of the open courses are designed to meet the specific entrance requirements of any post-secondary institution, individual courses may meet entrance requirements of some institutions.
Credits for a Graduation Diploma
Note: Individual Program Plans (IPPs) approved by the school board for students with special needs and locally developed courses approved by the department are recognized as credit courses and count toward a High School Graduation Diploma.
Although the minimum number of credits required for graduation is 18, it is highly recommended that schools develop schedules that allow students to complete 20, 21, or even 24 credits. Schedules should be designed to meet student needs, interests, and abilities.
Students require a minimum of 18 credits to graduate. No more than seven of the 18 credits may be for grade10 courses, and at least five must be for grade 12 courses. The following are compulsory credits for graduation:
Language, Communication, and Expression
v 3 English language arts, one at each grade level, or for students in Acadian or Francophone schools, 3 French language arts, one at each grade level
v 1 arts: dance, drama, music, or visual arts
Science, Mathematics, and Technology
v 2 mathematics
v 2 science: one from biology, chemistry, Science 10, or physics, and one other approved science course
v 2 others from mathematics, science, and/or technology: eligible courses include Audio Recording and Production 12; Business Technology 11 and 12; Communications Technology 11 and 12; Computer Programming 12; Construction Technology 10; Construction Trades 11; Design 11; Electrotechnologies 11; Energy, Power, and Transportation 11; Film and Video Production 12; Food Technology 10; Exploring Technology 10; Housing and Design 12; Multimedia 12; Production Technology 11 and 12; Skilled Trades 10; Skilled Trades Co-op 12; Textile Production 10; Textile Technology 12; and Transportation Trades 11.
Personal Development and Society. Availability of courses is dependent upon availability of teaching personnel and interest.
v 1 Physical Education: eligible credits include Physical Education 10, Physical Education 11, Dance 11, Fitness Leadership 11, Physically Active Living 11, Yoga 11, Physical Education 12, and Physical Education Leadership 12
v 1 Canadian History: African Canadian Studies 11; Canadian History 11/Histoire du Canada 11; Étude acadiennes 11; Gaelic Studies 11; and Mi’kmaq Studies 10
v 1 global studies: Global Geography, Advanced Global Geography, Global History, Advanced Global History, and Global Politics
Within the 18 course requirements for a graduation diploma, in most cases, no student may receive credit for two courses in the same specific subject area at the same grade level. There are a few exceptions: these include co-op courses, Canadian Literature, Global Geography, Global History, Global Politics, family studies, and technology-related courses.
Students enrolled in the Correspondence Studies Program or school board adult high school programs who are earning credits for the Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma require a minimum of 18 credits to graduate. No more than seven of the 18 credits may be for grade 10 courses, and at least five must be for grade 12 courses. Compulsory credits for the 2012 Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma will be those listed above. These requirements will apply to any student who wishes to earn the 2012 Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma, regardless of the year in which the student registered in grade 10 for the first time.
Policies and Procedures
Assessment of Student Learning
Assessment is the systematic process of gathering information on student learning.
High-quality assessments are essential to high-quality education and have a well-established link to student performance. Effective assessment practices can have a powerful effect upon learning.
Assessment policies and procedures should support the curriculum, instructional practices, and assessment
strategies described in current curriculum documents. Practices should reflect current knowledge about how students learn and be flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of learners.
Purposes of Assessments
The primary purpose of assessments is to provide information to improve student achievement and instructional programs, and to produce a basis for evaluation. Assessments help students to reflect on how well they have learned, to redirect their efforts, and to set goals for
their future learning. To promote learning, assessments should be used to help students to recognize their learning strengths and needs and to identify ways they can further develop as learners.
Assessments enhance teachers’ insights and knowledge about their students’ learning needs and styles. Teachers use information gathered through assessments to describe what students know, are able to do, and are working toward. They use this information to provide students with useful feedback on a regular, ongoing basis, guiding their efforts toward improvement.
Reflection on this information helps teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of their instructional approaches and to consider how they might adapt them to address learners’ needs.
Evaluation is the process of analyzing, reflecting upon, and summarizing assessment information and making judgments or decisions based upon the information gathered.
Teachers and administrators use evaluations to communicate with parents about student learning and with others who require information about levels of student performance in relation to expected curriculum outcomes.
Principles of Assessment and Evaluation
Recognizing that the best interests of the student are paramount, teachers and administrators should use the following principles as the basis of assessment policies, procedures, and practices.
v Assessment strategies and tasks should be appropriate for and compatible with the purpose and the context of the assessment.
v Students should be provided with sufficient opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, attitudes, or behaviours being assessed.
v Procedures for judging or scoring student performance should be appropriate for the assessment method used and be consistently applied and monitored.
v Procedures for summarizing and interpreting results should yield accurate and informative representations of a student’s performance in relation to the curriculum outcomes for the reporting period.
v Assessment reports should be clear, accurate, and of practical value to the audience for whom they are intended.
These principles highlight the need for an assessment process that
v informs teaching and promotes learning
v is an integral and ongoing part of the learning process
v is clearly related to and consistent with designated curriculum outcomes
v involves multiple sources of information
v provides a variety of means for students to demonstrate their learning
v is fair and equitable to all students
v accommodates the needs of students who require an individual program plan
While assessments may be used for different purposes and audiences, all assessments must give each student optimal opportunity to demonstrate what he/she knows and can do.
Classroom assessment provides information about students’ progress in achieving expected learning outcomes, by focusing on the significant aspects of the learning that the student must demonstrate. Teachers determine the
aspects of learning on which to focus the assessment and the most appropriate assessment strategies and tasks to use for that purpose.
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The teacher’s use of a broad range of assessment strategies and tasks affords students multiple opportunities and a variety of ways to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Teachers may rely on a variety of sources for their assessments, including
v the teacher’s anecdotal records and teacher journals or log books
v conferences with the student
v peer assessment
v pencil-and-paper procedures (quizzes, tests, examinations)
v performance assessments
v the student’s self-assessment
v student journals or log books
v students’ work samples
Students benefit when they clearly understand the expectations for their learning. When students are aware of the outcomes for which they are responsible and the criteria by which their work will be assessed or evaluated, they can make informed decisions about the most effective ways to demonstrate what they know, are able to do, and value.
Students also benefit from opportunities to negotiate assessment and evaluation procedures. It is important that students participate actively in the assessment and evaluation of their learning, developing their own criteria, and learning to judge a range of qualities in their work. Students who are empowered to assess their own progress are more likely to perceive their learning as its own reward and to develop as lifelong learners.
Assessment tasks should be meaningful and engaging to learners and should provide the ongoing feedback students require to set goals for improving their learning and performance. Assessment strategies should also provide the feedback teachers need to determine areas requiring intervention and support and to tailor instruction to the individual learning needs and styles of their students. Student performance should be evaluated according to specific criteria directly related to designated curriculum outcomes. Teachers bring to this process their insight, their knowledge about learning, and their experience with students.
Teachers have a special responsibility to ensure that assessment and evaluation procedures are clearly communicated to students and parents, to explain accurately what progress students are making in their learning, and to respond to student and parent inquiries about learning.