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Monitoring Activity Report

Monitoring Activity Report

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Published by John Turner

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Published by: John Turner on Jun 30, 2012
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International School of ExcellenceMonitoring Activity Report
May - June 2012
All Alberta students should have access to high-quality learning opportunities in a safe andsecure environment. The Ministry of Education has had an active monitoring relationship withthe International School of Excellence. Recently, Education reassessed the school to addressnew and ongoing questions about the school
operations.In May 2012, Education engaged in a monitoring activity to gather information about the qualityof the education programming provided by the International School of Excellence. The findingswere reported to the Deputy MinisterThe monitoring process included on-site school visits, the observation of teaching practices,examination of records and interviews with school administration, teaching and support staff, aswell as students and parents.The school is located in northeast Calgary. It is located in the basement of Showers of BlessingsChurch at 3915
34 Street NE and has ten instructional spaces. The school servesapproximately 175 students, 115 of which have been assessed as requiring English as a SecondLanguage (ESL) instruction. Students are grouped in classrooms as follows:Early Childhood Services(ECS)Grade 4
Grade 5 Grade 10ECS
Grade 1 Grade 6
Grade 7 Grade 11Grade 2
Grade 3 Grade 8
Grade 9 Grade 12
Some sections include additional information, such as analysis, and may also includerecommended action to be taken by the International School of Excellence.StaffingThe school employs ten certificated teachers, five non-certificated instructional assistants, anon-certificated Arabic language teacher and a school secretary. Two of the certificated staff areadministrators who teach part-time. Three teachers provide elementary programming and fourteach at the junior/senior high school level. One teachers delivers the physical educationprogram to all grades.
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Teacher QualificationsThe school meets the requirements associated with teacher certification.A majority of the teachers in the school are new to the profession and relatively new to theschool. Many of the teachers, having been trained outside Alberta, have been challenged to learnthe Alberta Program of Studies and to understand the provincial testing program. The school hasalso experienced high teacher turnover in past years.Recommendation(s):1.
That the school take steps to ensure teachers have the job-embedded resources andsupports necessary for them to learn and develop necessary skills and knowledge.2.
That the school develop a policy to support professional development planning andimplementation for its teachers and administrators.Teacher Supervision and EvaluationA formal teacher supervision and evaluation policy does not exist, nor does a transparent,coordinated teacher evaluation process.Parents and students expressed mixed opinions on the
quality of instruction. Educationrequires all certificated staff to follow the provincial policy on teacher growth, supervision andevaluation.Recommendation(s):3.
That the school develop a school-based policy related to teacher supervision andevaluation to address practice and procedures for teachers and administrators.4.
That all certificated staff be required to complete annual professional growth plans, to befollowed up with regular discussions between the principal and/or peers.5.
That the principal receive the necessary time and support to develop strategies withwhich to provide more effective teacher supervision and evaluation.Assessment and Student EvaluationThe school does not have a formal student evaluation policy.
The school’s s
tudent assessment and evaluation practices focus on awarding (or denying) marksbased on student attendance, homework completion, participation and behaviour. A review of student records indicates that the performance of students on unit exams is far lower than theirreport card
grades. A “policy” at the high school level suggests that final
teacher-administeredexams should not be used in diploma examination subjects. A multi-year review of diplomaexamination results at the school level indicates a decline in student performance.Teacher feedback or use of accumulated data should serve to improve instruction and studentachievement. While students and parents appreciate teachers
’ efforts
to provide opportunities forexam practice, the improved use of provincial achievement tests and diploma examinations toanalyze student learning difficulties would yield better results.
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Given the high percentage of ESL students, the school needs to develop a more co-ordinatedeffort to modify instruction and assessment for individual student needs. All teachers should beaware of provincial ESL benchmarks and have access to related professional developmentsupport.
The school’s three
-year education plan does not directly reference specific data, such as theprovincial achievement test and diploma examination results and any strategies that could beused to improve these results. The school should identify the critical relationship between high-quality teaching and improvements in student achievement in its plan.Recommendation(s):6.
That the school develop a student assessment and evaluation policy that focuses on theassessment of each student
achievement in meeting the outcomes identified in theProgram of Studies.7.
That the school’s policy identify
the importance of using school-based examinationperiods to regularly measure student progress against the intended learning outcomes.8.
That the school’s leadership
and professional teaching staff develop strategies to useformative assessment data more effectively. This will ensure individualized feedback and intervention is provided to students on a regular, ongoing basis.9.
That the teaching staff take advantage of exam interpretation workshops availablethrough the Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia.10.
That the school’s three
-year education plan include achievement test and diplomaexamination results and strategies to improve these results.11.
That the school develop a plan to recognize the individual needs of ESL learners. Allteaching staff should have an improved understanding of appropriate teaching strategiesand benchmark assessments for ESL learners.Diploma Examination and Provincial Achievement Test Administration PracticesDiploma examination and provincial achievement test administration must follow therequirements outlined in the administration directives in the Alberta Education GeneralInformation Bulletins. T
he school’s
examination administration practices have not consistentlyfollowed these requirements. On several occasions, irregularities have been reported in theadministration of the exams.Recommendation(s):12.
That Education appoint an external exam supervisor for the diploma examination andprovincial achievement test administration at the school.Diploma Examination ResultsOn a student, school and provincial basis, t
he school’s diploma examination results indicate a
substantial difference between school-awarded marks and diploma marks. Whileschool-awarded averages in individual diploma examination subjects vary slightly over time, thediploma examination averages have declined substantially. As an objective and reliablemeasure, the diploma examination results indicate that many
of the school’s students are not
achieving at an acceptable standard.

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