Assessment and Reporting – The Whole Picture. The whole Child.
Dave Carter – January 2015
At a recent parent night at the end of the evening one parent came to me. He said ‘the changes in assessment and reporting make a lot of sense to me. I own an engineering company. I really don’t care what percentage marks my employees got in school or university, as long as they met the standard. What I do care about is how good they are at solving problems, how well they can work on a team and whether they will show up to work on time.’
In the past decade school systems have made great progress in separating academic and behaviour grades. Before this happened a student’s academic grade might reflect attendance, late work or participation in class. Indeed one Prairie Spirit parent stated that “my daughter almost didn’t get into the college of kinesiology because she missed one English assignment”. The Prairie Spirit learning behaviours (lifelong learner, engaged citizen, sense of self and work habits) are reported at all grade levels, but these reports are not commonly requested by employers or post-secondary institutions.
What is directly at stake for passing credits and ultimately high school graduation is the academic grade. Since the majority of post-secondary programs still require percentage grades these have inevitably become the ‘currency of success’ in our school systems. Part of the challenge for school systems is to move from the 19th Century ‘grading game’ to a system where our children are “well-educated, good citizens who are prepared for the challenges of a constantly evolving world. Transforming the culture around grades will give students a more holistic understanding of their learning and role as learners. It’s time to break the rules of this tired game and start the movement for a lifelong learning process” (Watkins, 2014).