GROWING SUCCESS

assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

tab l e o f co n te n ts
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION | Policy | Context | Illustration |

ELEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES | Policy | Context | Illustration |

THE ACHIEVEMENT CHART | Policy | Context | Illustration |

GRADING AND REPORTING | Policy | Context | Illustration |

ASSESSING LEARNING SKILLS | Policy | Context | Illustration |

LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS | Policy | Context | Illustration |

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS | Policy | Context | Illustration |

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS | Policy | Context | Illustration |

CREDIT RECOVERY | Policy | Context | Illustration |

OUTSTANDING ISSUES

FUTURE WORK: PROCESS AND TIMELINES

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Welcome to the 2008 symposium on assessment, evaluation, and reporting. On behalf of Minister Wynne, our thanks and appreciation for your involvement in this exciting new initiative. Over the past few years, through the shared commitment of educators across the province, Ontario has set and achieved a standard that is recognized around the world. Out of forty countries participating in the 2006 PIRLS Grade 4 reading literacy study, only two countries outperformed Ontario. Our 2006 PISA results likewise placed us among the elite in the worldwide education community in science, reading and math. Together, we have accomplished a great deal in a very short time. Since 2002–03, the numbers of English-language students passing the OSSLT are up 12 percent and the numbers for French-language students are up 4 percent. Likewise, primary French-language students at Level 3 and above in writing are up 15 percent, and junior English-language students at Level 3 and above in reading are up 8 percent. We are also seeing positive early results in credit accumulation and graduation rates among our secondary students. Today, we mark the launch of an important step forward that will help us maintain that high standard, and benefit students, parents and teachers by consolidating and coordinating our K-12 policies in assessment, evaluation and reporting. Our policies in Ontario for assessment, evaluation, and reporting are well aligned with the best thinking of experts in this field, and current with international policies and research. At the same time, we know there is work to be done. First and foremost, our policies for assessment, evaluation, and reporting reside in many documents and in many forms, including: • Guides to the Provincial Report Card • Curriculum policy documents • Program planning and assessment documents • Program and diploma requirements documents • The Ontario Student Record • The Ontario Student Transcript • ESL and ELD programs and services documents • Memos, PPMs, Q&As and other documents. These policies have also evolved over the years. So we need to update policy in some of our documents. At the same time, we have heard concerns from you and our stakeholders about inconsistent and uneven implementation. That is another important issue we need to address together, and one that is particularly critical in building public trust and confidence.

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G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Parents and students need to know that the marks we give them are fair, and that the process is transparent. They need to know what we are looking for in student work. They need to know that we are being consistent in making our decisions for both elementary and secondary students. And they need to know that they can make decisions about secondary pathways and post-secondary pathways with confidence. Clearly, while much of our policy is well established, there is an urgent need to clarify and consolidate, to ensure that policy is aligned, consistent, and clear, and that every student in the system is benefiting from the same high-quality process. The role that assessment and evaluation play in improving student learning is undeniable. It is important to recognize that there may be a need for modifications and accommodations throughout the assessment and evaluation process. We must recognize that individual students or specific student groups may have different needs. This government has demonstrated its commitment to this goal through supporting the needs of specific groups such as Aboriginal students, students who receive special education services and programs, boys in literacy, English Language learners and students in ALF/PDF programs. The program we are launching today will enable us to better support students with specific needs. Equally important, the comprehensive process we begin today should provide clarification for the assessment and evaluation of the two generic curriculum expectations for the French-language education system. These reflect the need for students in French-language schools to master the French language and the cultural referents of the francophonie in order to excel in their learning. These two generic expectations are at the centre of their success in school. Achieving this goal will require the commitment of the entire education community. It is a very ambitious task, and one that we believe must be undertaken “by educators, for educators”, using all of the knowledge and experience and resources we have available across the province. Your contribution, as system leaders, will be critical to the success of this important initiative. Through your collaboration we will be able to establish a common understanding of the issues and address the challenges we face, taking many perspectives and points of view into full consideration.

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G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS We welcome you to the task, and once again thank you for the key role you will play in maintaining the highest standards of excellence for education in Ontario.
George Zegarac Dominic Giroux Avis Glaze

Assistant Deputy Minister Strategic Planning and Elementary/Secondary Programs Division

Assistant Deputy Minister French-Language Education and Educational Operations Division

Chief Executive Officer Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat

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THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning. Information gathered through assessment helps teachers to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses in their achievement of the curriculum expectations in each subject/course in each grade. This information also serves to guide teachers in adapting curriculum and instructional approaches to students’ needs and in assessing the overall effectiveness of programs and classroom practices. Assessment is the process of gathering information from a variety of sources (including assignments, day-to-day observations, conversations or conferences, demonstrations, projects, performances, and tests) that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject/course. As part of assessment, teachers provide students with descriptive feedback that guides their efforts towards improvement. Evaluation refers to the process of judging the quality of student work on the basis of established criteria, and assigning a value to represent that quality.
Ontario curriculum documents (revised)

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The recognition that improved student learning is the primary purpose of assessment and evaluation practice is one of the most important changes in policy over the past fifteen years. Assessment and evaluation are no longer used solely to assign final grades and to rank and sort students. While assessment, evaluation, and reporting will always serve the purpose of identifying levels of student performance, their major purpose is to teach and to contribute to student growth. This is a core belief that must live in each and every classroom if we are to meet our stated goals of “success for all” and “closing the gap”. In the classroom, we foster student growth by clearly defining learning goals, scaffolding learning experiences, providing varied opportunities for practice, and giving meaningful feedback.

Assessment and evaluation are terms that have often been used interchangeably. Policy
differentiates them in order to ensure that diagnostic and formative assessment are given as much of a profile as summative assessment or evaluation. Too often, evaluation – the assigning of a value or grade – has been the focus of assessment, evaluation and reporting discourse.

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION

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Research has shown that the most effective type of assessment for improving student learning is formative assessment, or “assessment for learning”. Lorna Earl, in her book Assessment as Learning, describes three different approaches to classroom assessment: (1) assessment of learning, (2) assessment for learning, and (3) assessment as learning. Assessment of learning has a summative purpose and is done near the end of the year/course/unit. This type of assessment collects evidence for evaluating the student’s achievement of the curriculum expectations and for reporting to students and parents/guardians. Assessment for learning and assessment as learning have a formative purpose. Lorna Earl describes assessment for learning as follows: “When they are doing Assessment for Learning, teachers collect a wide range of data so that they can modify the learning work for their students. They craft assessment tasks that open a window on what students know and can do already and use the insights that come from the process to design the next steps in instruction. To do this, teachers use observation, worksheets, questioning in class, student-teacher conferences, or whatever mechanism is likely to give them information that will be useful for their planning and teaching. Marking is not designed to make comparative judgments among the students but to highlight… [students’] strengths and weaknesses and provide them with feedback that will further their learning… [Teachers] use their personal knowledge of the students and their understanding of the context of the assessment and the curriculum targets to identify particular learning needs. Assessment for Learning happens in the middle of learning, often more than once, rather than at the end. It is interactive, with teachers providing assistance as part of the assessment. It helps teachers provide the feedback to scaffold next steps.” She describes assessment as learning as follows: “Students, as active, engaged, and critical assessors, can make sense of information, relate it to prior knowledge, and master the skills involved. This is the regulatory process in metacognition. It occurs when students personally monitor what they are learning and use the feedback from this monitoring to make adjustments, adaptations, and even major changes in what they understand. Assessment as Learning is the ultimate goal, where students are their own best assessors… Effective assessment empowers students to ask reflective questions and consider a range of strategies for learning and acting. Over time, students

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION move forward in their learning when they can use personal knowledge to construct meaning, have skills of self-monitoring to realize that they don’t understand something, and have ways of deciding what to do next… Students routinely reflect on their work and make judgments about how they can capitalize on what they have done already. Comparison with others is almost irrelevant. Instead, the critical reference points are the student’s own prior work and the aspirations and targets for continued learning.”
Lorna Earl, Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. 2003), pp. 24–25.

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Grant Wiggins agrees: “In designing our teaching and learning experiences, therefore, our job is not only to uncover the big ideas of content. A great shift requires us to be aggressive in assessing as we teach, uncovering the learners’ understandings and misunderstandings all along the way. Therefore, Understanding by Design emphasizes the regular use of ongoing informal and formal assessments, rather than restricting assessment to end-of-teaching performance tasks, culminating projects, and final exams.”
Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design (Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2005), p. 247 .

It is late August and Ms. J. has just received her teaching schedule in the mail. She will be teaching a new course that she has never taught before. Unfortunately she is the only teacher in the school who will be teaching the course. She has decided to begin her planning and then contact colleagues in the school district to ensure she is on the right track. To get started, she gathers all of the relevant policy documents (i.e., curriculum documents) and resource support documents (e.g., course profiles, learning resources). Step One in planning is to examine the curriculum and identify the curriculum expectations that will be assessed in the final 30% evaluation. Based on what her students are to know and be able to do, she will determine what the evidence of student learning will look like. What will the students write, say, or do? Once Ms. J. has made a decision on the final 30% evaluation, she will begin planning backwards to identify what curriculum expectations should be addressed in each unit. The assessment and evaluation of these curriculum expectations will determine 70% of the student’s final grade.

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION

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Step Two in planning is to determine what assessment methods, strategies and tools are appropriate to gather the relevant evidence of student learning. From Ms. J.’s previous experience teaching other courses, she knows that the assessment task(s) for the final 30% evaluation should be rich, complex and meaningful. It will be an opportunity for the students to demonstrate the synthesis of their learning. The assessment tasks throughout the course should prepare the students for the final 30% evaluation. Ms. J. will work with students to ensure that they understand the learning they will be expected to demonstrate. She will have them work with her to create many of the assessment tools (e.g., rubrics, checklists) so that they know how they will be assessed and evaluated.
Adapted from Policy to Practice: A Teacher Resource Document to Support the Implementation of the Ontario Provincial Secondary Assessment Policy

ELEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES

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ELEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES In order to ensure that assessment and evaluation are valid and reliable, and that they lead to the improvement of student learning, teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that: 1. address both what students learn and how well they learn; 2. are based both on the categories of knowledge and skills and on the achievement level descriptions given in the achievement chart; 3. are varied in nature, administered over a period of time, and designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning; 4. are appropriate for the learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of students; 5. are fair to all students; 6. accommodate the needs of students with special education needs, consistent with the strategies outlined in their Individual Education Plan; 7. accommodate the needs of students who are learning the language of instruction; 8. ensure that each student is given clear directions for improvement; 9. promote students’ ability to assess their own learning and to set specific goals; 10. include the use of samples of students’ work that provide evidence of their achievement; 11. are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the course or the school term and at other appropriate points throughout the school year.
Ontario curriculum documents (revised)

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These eleven principles, identified in Ontario curriculum policy documents, ensure that assessment, evaluation, and reporting are fair, valid, reliable, and focused on improving student learning. They are the backbone of all assessment, evaluation, and reporting policy. Each of the succeeding sections of this document can be seen as a reflection of one or more of these principles. They are rich, challenging statements that need to be unpacked so that they can come alive in the classroom. If they are understood and implemented we will have more meaningful data to support student learning.

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

ELEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES In ministry policy, the eleven guiding principles are referred to as “assessment and evaluation strategies”. These strategies are based on the Principles for Fair Student Assessment Practices for Education in Canada (1993). This document was developed by a Working Group guided by a Joint Advisory Committee. The Joint Advisory Committee included two representatives appointed by each of the following professional organizations: Canadian Education Association, Canadian School Boards Association, Canadian Association for School Administrators, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Guidance and Counselling Association, Canadian Association of School Psychologists, Canadian Council for Exceptional Children, Canadian Psychological Association, and Canadian Society for the Study of Education. In addition, the Joint Advisory Committee included a representative of the Provincial and Territorial Ministries and Departments of Education.

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“In daily life, our capacity to accurately self-assess and self-regulate reflects understanding. Metacognition refers to self-knowledge about how we think and why, and the relation between our preferred methods of learning and our understanding (or lack of it). The immature mind is thus not merely ignorant or unskilled but unreflective. A naïve student, no matter how bright and learned, lacks self-knowledge to know when an idea is “out there” or a projection; to know when an idea seems objectively true but really only fits the student’s beliefs; or to know how templates or frames for perception shape how and what the student understands.”
Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design (Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2005), p. 101.

“Fairness in assessment and evaluation is grounded in the belief that all students should be able to demonstrate their learning regardless of their socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, learning style, and/or need for special services… teachers should consider the following specific strategies for reducing assessment bias: • Examine how your classroom complements or conflicts with the school experiences and assessment techniques which are familiar to recent immigrants and indigenous peoples. • Develop test questions and other assessment items that reflect the multicultural and multiethnic composition of your school, district, region, province, and country. • Utilize gender-neutral terms within tests, quizzes, and other forms of assessment.

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

ELEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES

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• Provide modifications to tests and other assessment measures for students with exceptionalities and those with limited proficiency in English. • Take steps to reduce the effects of test-wiseness on academic achievement – design carefully constructed test items, utilize multiple formats, provide reviews prior to testing. • Involve students in the development of evaluation criteria – develop rubrics with the assistance of students. • Adopt a range of formative and summative assessment strategies that encompass different ways of demonstrating task mastery – speaking, writing, and performing. • Balance the weight given to different types of traditional and authentic performance-based assessment data when arriving at final course grades. • Most importantly, reflect on pre-conceived notions that may affect the marks/grades you assign to particular groups of students.”
Louis Volante, “Reducing Bias in Classroom Assessment and Evaluation,” orbit (OISE/UT), 36, 2 (2006), p. 35

Chris’s students are asked to complete a piece of persuasive writing. Before students begin to work on the assignment, Chris discusses the criteria and rubric with the students. When Chris returns the pieces of writing with attached rubrics, she holds a conference to discuss the writing with each student. During the conference, Chris and the student set goals together on how to improve the next piece of writing.
Superior-Greenstone District School Board, Guidelines for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Achievement: Principles and Standards for Effective Practice, p. 15

THE ACHIEVEMENT CHART

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THE ACHIEVEMENT CHART
Principle 2: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are based both

on the categories of knowledge and skills and on the achievement level descriptions given in the achievement chart.
Principle 9: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that promote students’

ability to assess their own learning and to set specific goals.
Principle 10: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that include the use

of samples of students’ work that provide evidence of their achievement.

The achievement chart identifies four categories of knowledge and skills. The achievement chart is a standard province-wide guide to be used by teachers. It enables teachers to make judgements about student work that are based on clear performance standards and on a body of evidence collected over time. The categories, defined by clear criteria, represent four broad areas of knowledge and skills within which the subject expectations for any given course/grade/subject are organized. The four categories should be considered as interrelated, reflecting the wholeness and interconnectedness of learning. The categories of knowledge and skills are: • Knowledge and Understanding • Thinking • Communication • Application Teachers will ensure that student work is assessed and/or evaluated in a balanced manner with respect to the four categories, and that achievement of particular expectations is considered within the appropriate categories. The characteristics given in the achievement chart for level 3 represent the “provincial standard” for achievement of the expectations in a given course/grade/subject. Parents of students achieving at level 3 can be confident that their children will be prepared for work in the next grade or subsequent courses. Level 1 identifies achievement that falls much below the provincial standard, while still reflecting a passing grade. Level 2 identifies achievement that approaches the standard. Level 4 identifies achievement that surpasses the standard. It should be noted that

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THE ACHIEVEMENT CHART achievement at level 4 does not mean that the student has achieved expectations beyond those specified for a particular course/grade. It indicates that the student has achieved all or almost all of the expectations for that course/grade, and that he or she demonstrates the ability to use the specified knowledge and skills in more sophisticated ways than a student at level 3. The descriptions of the levels of achievement given in the chart should be used to identify the level at which the student has achieved the expectations. In all of their courses/grades/subjects, students should be given numerous and varied opportunities to demonstrate the full extent of their achievement of the curriculum expectations across all four categories of knowledge and skills.
Ontario curriculum documents (revised)

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In Ontario, as well as in other jurisdictions, we have moved from norm-referenced assessment to criterion-referenced assessment. Teachers evaluate student work in reference to criteria that are standard across the province, instead of comparing it with work done by other students, ranking student performance, or assessing it in relation to standards developed by individual teachers for their own classrooms. In the previous system of assessment, standards varied from teacher to teacher, and school to school, and this led to results that were not always fair for all students. With criterionreferenced assessment, we have well-defined standards commonly understood and consistently applied across the province. As a result, assessment of student achievement is fairer and more reliable. The achievement chart identifies four categories of knowledge and skill that are consistent across subject areas and across panels. These categories help teachers demonstrate the interconnectedness of learning. They focus the teacher’s assessments and feedback on knowledge and skills, rather than the particular tools or methods of assessment, such as tests or labs, which may vary. They assist teachers in focussing assessment on the higher level skills – thinking, communication and application – that allow students to manipulate, organize and use the knowledge and skills they have acquired.

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

THE ACHIEVEMENT CHART

Illustration
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Philip Cohen suggests that it is critical that the criteria for an assessment be carefully designed, including the specific tasks that will be required of the student and the way in which each element will be assessed. Cohen uses the example of a Grade 4 teacher who teaches a unit on the life cycle of a plant. The teacher has her students create a children’s book that explains the subject to Grade 3 students. Before they begin, the teacher shows the students models of children’s books that fit the criteria for the levels of achievement. For each achievement level, specific criteria are provided that relate to content (e.g., understanding the function of seeds and flowers), as well as to quality of writing (e.g., how well the text is organized). Instead of taking a test at the end of the unit, students receive ongoing supervision, guidance, and feedback as they work on their books. The teacher reports that, with this kind of assessment, “the students’ learning has tremendously increased”, along with their engagement with the material, because “they know what they are doing has a valid purpose”.
Adapted from Cohen’s quote in Me Read? No Way! A Practical Guide to Improving Boys’ Literacy Skills (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2004), p. 43.

GRADING AND REPORTING

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GRADING AND REPORTING
Principle 1: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that address both

what students learn and how well they learn.
Principle 2: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are based both

on the categories of knowledge and skills and on the achievement level descriptions given in the achievement chart.
Principle 8: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that ensure that each

student is given clear directions for improvement.
Principle 11: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are communicated

clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the course or the school term and at other appropriate points throughout the school year.

All curriculum expectations must be accounted for in instruction, but evaluation focuses on students’ achievement of the overall expectations. A student’s achievement of the overall expectations is evaluated on the basis of his or her achievement of related specific expectations. The overall expectations are broad in nature, and the specific expectations define the particular content or scope of the knowledge and skills referred to in the overall expectations. Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine which specific expectations should be used to evaluate achievement of the overall expectations, and which ones will be covered in instruction and assessment (e.g., through direct observation) but not necessarily evaluated.
Ontario curriculum documents (revised)

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Achievement is reported on the Provincial Report Card using letter grades and percentage marks. For all students in Grades 1 to 6, student achievement should be reported as a letter grade (A, B, C, etc.) with a plus or minus sign as required. For all students in Grades 7 and 8, student achievement should be reported as a percentage mark (85, 72, etc.). The following table shows how the four levels of achievement used for assessment in the new ministry curriculum documents correspond to the letter grades/percentage marks used for reporting.

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GRADING AND REPORTING

E l e m e n t a r y Po l i c y

Level Level 4

Definition The student has demonstrated the required knowledge and skills. Achievement exceeds the provincial standard. The student has demonstrated most of the required knowledge and skills. Achievement meets the provincial standard. The student has demonstrated some of the required knowledge and skills. Achievement approaches the provincial standard. The student has demonstrated some of the required knowledge and skills in limited ways. Achievement falls much below the provincial standard. The student has not demonstrated the required knowledge and skills. Extensive remediation is required.

Letter Grade (Grades 1–6) A+ A AB+ B BC+ C CD+ D D-

Percentage Grade (Grades 7 and 8) 90–100 85–89 80–84 77–79 73–76 70–72 67–69 63–66 60–62 57–59 53–56 50–52

Level 3

Level 2

Level 1

R or Below 50

R

Below 50

“R”/ “Below 50” does not correspond to one of the four achievement levels. “R”/ “Below 50” is used for reporting purposes to flag the need for remediation and parent involvement. “R” signals that additional learning is required before the student will begin to achieve success with this grade’s expectations. For subjects for which strands are indicated, fill in the student’s letter grade or percentage mark for each strand, for the appropriate reporting period. No composite grade for the subject as a whole is required. For all other subjects, fill in the student’s letter grade or percentage mark for the subject.
Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1–8, 1998

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GRADING AND REPORTING

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New Policy re: Strands in Mathematics First, Second, and Third Reporting Periods. Fill in the student’s grade/mark for each strand that is part of the student’s instructional program. If a particular strand is not part of the student’s program during a reporting period, indicate this in the comments and leave the grade/mark column blank. A grade/mark must be filled in for each strand for at least two reporting periods, and each reporting period must show a grade/mark for at least two strands.
Deputy Minister Memo dated September 5, 2000

New Policy re: Strands in Language In the revised Grades 1 to 8 Language, 2006, curriculum policy document the number of strands has been changed from three to four; Oral and Visual Communication is now divided into Oral Communication and Media Literacy. Student achievement of the expectations for Oral Communication and Media Literacy is to be reported in the existing Oral and Visual Communication field on the elementary provincial report card. Implementation of this curriculum policy began in September, 2006.
Director Memo dated June 22, 2006

Student achievement must be communicated formally to students and parents by means of the Provincial Report Card, Grades 9–12. The report card provides a record of the student’s achievement of the curriculum expectations in every course, at particular points in the school year or semester, in the form of a percentage grade. The percentage grade represents the quality of the student’s overall achievement of the expectations for the course and reflects the corresponding level of achievement as described in the achievement chart for the discipline. A final grade is recorded for every course, and a credit is granted and recorded for every course in which the student’s grade is 50 per cent or higher. The final grade for each course in Grades 9 to12 will be determined as follows: • Seventy per cent of the grade will be based on evaluations conducted throughout the course. This portion of the grade should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement throughout the course, although special consideration should be given to more recent evidence of achievement. • Thirty per cent of the grade will be based on a final evaluation in the form of an examination, performance, essay, and/or other method of evaluation suitable to the course content and administered towards the end of the course.

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GRADING AND REPORTING

S e c o n d a r y Po l i c y

The following table provides a summary description of achievement of each percentage grade range and corresponding level of achievement:
Percentage Grade Range 80–100% 70–79% 60–69% Achievement Level Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Summary Description A very high to outstanding level of achievement. Achievement is above the provincial standard A high level of achievement. Achievement is at the provincial standard. A moderate level of achievement. Achievement is below, but approaching, the provincial standard. A passable level of achievement. Achievement is below the provincial standard. Insufficient achievement of curriculum expectations. A credit will not be granted.

50–59% Below 50%

Level 1

Percentage grades below 50 per cent indicate insufficient achievement of curriculum expectations and signal that additional learning is required before the student can achieve the expectations to a passing level. (The actual percentage grade assigned should be determined in accordance with school and school board policy.) At the end of a course, a student who receives a grade below 50 per cent will not receive credit for the course.
The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9–12: Program Planning and Assessment, 2000; Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 9–12, 1999

Reporting student achievement on curriculum expectations is an extremely important function of the teaching profession. It is essential for the reported grade to be valid and fair. It is essential that we as a professional community to do everything in our power to ensure that grading across the province becomes as consistent as possible. Each reporting period has a significant impact for students and parents. Certain reports have greater overall impact and can affect promotion in elementary school and graduation in secondary school. Grades from high school can affect potential employment opportunities, postsecondary placements, and scholarships.

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GRADING AND REPORTING

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Given the importance of reporting, we must have a common understanding of the task and the rules that govern the task. We must continually be working for accuracy and provincial consistency in grading in relation to provincial standards.

Co l l ec t i n g S u ffi c i e n t Ev i d e n ce
Miss Jones is a Grade 5 teacher. She plans her classroom programs with the end in mind, which means she determines what the final learning should look like. She designs a culminating assessment task that addresses all four categories of the achievement chart. She also plans a variety of smaller assessments and administers them throughout the term. She uses the results of these smaller assessments to reflect on and modify her teaching practices and programming. She identifies which of the assessments could be used to collect data so she has sufficient evidence to confidently assign a grade on the report card. Miss Jones ensures that both she and her students understand the categories and levels of the achievement chart. At the beginning of each assessment task, she works with her students to develop a rubric or other assessment tool that is aligned with the achievement chart. She shows students exemplars, and they use them as models. She and the students discuss what good work looks like and the criteria for it. Miss Jones also discusses good assessment practices with her colleagues, participates in group marking in her school, and attends professional development sessions. Miss Jones ensures that her students are provided with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning.
Adapted from Ontario Provincial Elementary Assessment and Evaluation: A Resource Document to Support the Implementation of Effective Elementary Assessment and Evaluation Classroom Practices

ASSESSING LEARNING SKILLS

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ASSESSING LEARNING SKILLS
Principle 1: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that address both

what students learn and how well they learn.
Principle 3: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are varied in

nature, administered over a period of time, and designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning.
Principle 4: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are appropriate

for the learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of students.

Po l i c y
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Po l i c y f o r E l e m e n t a r y S c h o o l s
The Provincial Report Card focuses on two distinct aspects of student achievement: (1) achievement of curriculum expectations, and (2) development of learning skills. Accordingly, the report card has sections for reporting on the student’s achievement of the curriculum expectations in each subject in the curriculum, and a separate section for reporting on the student’s development of the learning skills required for effective learning. The learning skills identified on the report card can be demonstrated by the student in all subjects and in other behaviour at school. The nine Learning Skills are: Independent Work; Initiative; Homework Completion (work habits); Use of Information; Cooperation with Others; Conflict Resolution; Class Participation; Problem Solving; and Goal Setting to Improve Work.
Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1–8, 1998

Po l i c y f o r S e c o n d a r y S c h o o l s
Policy for the provincial curriculum and report card requires that students be evaluated in two areas of learning: (1) curriculum expectations, and (2) learning skills. Teachers are required to report student achievement for these two areas separately. The report card provides a record of the learning skills demonstrated by the student in every course, in the following five categories: Works Independently, Teamwork, Organization, Work Habits, and Initiative. The learning skills are evaluated using a four-point scale

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ASSESSING LEARNING SKILLS (E–Excellent, G–Good, S–Satisfactory, N–Needs Improvement). The separate evaluation and reporting of the learning skills in these five areas reflect their critical role in students’ achievement of the curriculum expectations. To the extent possible, the evaluation of learning skills, apart from any that may be included as part of a curriculum expectation in a course, should not be considered in the determination of percentage grades.
Ontario secondary curriculum documents (revised); Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 9–12, 1999

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By reporting a student’s achievement of the curriculum expectations separately from the student’s demonstration of skills required for effective learning, teachers can provide more specific information to parents and students and identify more clearly the student’s strengths and areas in which improvement is needed. The importance of learning skills for student success is undeniable. Many organizations highlight the importance of similar skills; for example, a list of employability skills has been developed by the Conference Board of Canada and Essential Skills and Work Habits have been identified by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC). Many researchers also highlight the importance of skills similar to the learning skills. For example, Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and colleagues write about the five dimensions of learning, and Arthur Costa and Bena Kallich describe sixteen habits of mind. Both these examinations of learning emphasize the importance of such skills as perseverance, metacognition, accuracy, listening to others with understanding, and management of impulsivity.
Robert Marzano, Debra J. Pickering, et al., Implementing Dimensions of Learning (Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1992); Arthur Costa and Bena Kallich, Describing 16 Habits of Mind, http://www.habits-of-mind.net/whatare.htm (2000–2001)

Effective learning skills are essential for students’ success in school and life. It is important for teachers to work with students and their parents/guardians to ensure that they understand the importance of these skills. Students benefit when teachers discuss and model these skills, and when teachers and parents/guardians work with students to develop these skills. Students also benefit when teachers work with them to determine how these skills will be assessed and evaluated.

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ASSESSING LEARNING SKILLS Mr. C. has a good understanding of the learning skills – both when and how they relate to the curriculum expectations and what they look like in the classroom. He knows that his students will be more successful if they have a clear picture of what behaviours and attitudes are expected regarding learning skills. On the first day of classes, he explains the role and significance of the learning skills. He outlines what they are and provides students with the descriptors from the Guide to the Provincial Report Card. For the first two weeks he works with students to help them develop a better understanding of each learning skill and to help build assessment tools they will use to self- and peer assess throughout their learning. Mr. C. has devised an effective and manageable system of observing and recording students’ demonstration of learning skills. As part of his planning, he notes when it is most appropriate to assess each of the learning skills, based on what students will be doing. He uses assessment tools such as rubrics and checklists to gather relevant evidence. He also reviews students’ self- and peer assessments to check the accuracy of the judgements he makes. Assessing the demonstration of learning skills over time, in relation to the appropriate tasks and in collaboration with his students, provides Mr. C. with evidence that he feels confident he can justify when he assigns an E, G, S, or N on the report card.
Adapted from Policy to Practice: A Teacher Resource Document to Support the Implementation of the Ontario Provincial Secondary Assessment Policy

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Illustration

LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS

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LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS
Principle 1: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that address both

what students learn and how well they learn.
Principle 5: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are fair to

all students.

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The provincial report card focuses on two distinct, but related aspects of student achievement: (1) the achievement of curriculum expectations, and (2) the development of learning skills.
Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1–8, 1998; Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 9–12, 1999

To the extent possible, the evaluation of learning skills, apart from any that may be included as part of a curriculum expectation in a course, should not be considered in the determination of percentage grades.
The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9–12: Program Planning and Assessment, 2000; Ontario secondary curriculum documents (revised)

Po l i c y C l a r i f i c a t i o n S t a t e m e n t
Policy for the provincial curriculum and report card requires that students be evaluated in two areas of learning: (1) curriculum expectations, and (2) learning skills. Teachers are required to report student achievement for these two areas separately. At the elementary level, the nine learning skills identified on the report card are: Independent Work, Initiative, Homework Completion, Use of Information, Cooperation with Others, Conflict Resolution, Class Participation, Problem Solving, and Goal Setting to Improve Work. At the secondary level, the five learning skills identified on the report card are: Works Independently, Teamwork, Organization, Work Habits/Homework, and Initiative. The position of the ministry is that the separate evaluation of the achievement of the curriculum expectations and the development of the learning skills provides students and parents with better information and more clearly identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses.

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LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS Late assignments should be reported as part of learning skills such as “Independent Work” and “Homework Completion” at the elementary level, and “Works Independently” and “Work Habits/Homework” at the secondary level. Teachers may use a variety of methods for dealing with late and missed assignments, including: • assisting students to develop better time-management skills; • preparing a full-year calendar of major assignment dates for every class; • maintaining ongoing communication with parents about due dates and late submissions and scheduling parent conferences if the problem continues; • taking into consideration legitimate reasons for missed deadlines, allowing for the extremely busy lives students have today – and, for some, a lack of home support – and using counselling or peer tutoring to try to deal positively with problems; • holding teacher/student conferences; • setting up student contracts; • having major assignments submitted in stages so students are less likely to be faced with an all-or-nothing situation at the last minute; • using detentions to require the student to work on the assignment; • mark deduction – mark deduction as a consequence of late and missed assignments should however be used as a last resort. In some cases, district school boards have provided guidelines that further interpret ministry policy and assist teachers in making these decisions. You may wish to contact your local school board to see if it has any such guidelines in place.
Clarifying Statement provided by Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch

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There is no research to indicate that using marks as a punitive measure contributes to a student’s achievement. Many experts in the field of assessment speak against this practice. For example, according to Ken O’Connor, “At the high school level in my former school district, penalties for handing work in late have been as high as 10% per day to a maximum of 50% (including weekend days!). There are two problems with these approaches. First, the penalty that students receive distorts their achievement and thus contributes to a mark and, ultimately, to a grade that does

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LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS not have clear meaning. Second, the punitive nature of the penalty provides a powerful disincentive for students to complete any work after it is more than one or two days late. In both examples, no intelligent student would bother completing the work after three days. Such policies are obviously opposed to a learning/success orientation – that the work is done and that learning occurs holds more importance than when the work is done and when learning occurs.”
Ken O’Connor How to Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards (Glenview, IL: LessonLab, 2002), p. 100.

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Also, according to Douglas Reeves, “there are at least a few educators experimenting with the notion that the appropriate consequence for failing to complete an assignment is to require the student to complete the assignment. That is, students lose privileges – free time and unstructured class or study-hall time – and are required to complete the assignment. The price of freedom is proficiency, and students are motivated not by threats of failure but by the opportunity to earn greater freedom and discretion by completing work accurately and on time.”
Douglas B. Reeves, “The Case Against the Zero,” Phi Delta Kappan 86, 4 (December 2004): p.324

The fact that a student submits work late or fails to submit an assignment does not provide information regarding his/her achievement of the curriculum expectations. Not meeting deadlines for assignments or not submitting required work are inappropriate behaviours that are disciplinary issues best addressed by the teacher or administration and best reported under the learning skills. Using mark deductions for late assignments or assigning zeros for missed assignments leads to a misrepresentation of student achievement. The awarding of a zero is particularly unfair, because it lowers a student’s overall grade by a disproportionate amount.

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LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS

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In an effort to deal with lates and absences, the York Region District School Board has developed a positive approach called “A Culture of Responsibility”. They suggest the following steps: • Establish a school (preferably) or departmental policy which identifies key learning skills which students have responsibility to demonstrate – for example, > punctual and regular attendance > responsibility for completing tasks, including all work missed when absent from class > completion of assignments on time and with care > working consistently, effectively, and cooperatively to meet the requirements of each course • Discuss with students the issue of deadlines, the reasons for them, and the importance of meeting them. Invite students to share experiences they have had or know about which show the importance of deadlines and the consequences of not meeting them. • Explain clearly the importance to you and to the students for submitting assignments on time. You teach other classes and wish to put a quality effort into assessing the needs and achievement of all your students. You also wish to move on to other work, ensuring that students have the prerequisite knowledge before you proceed. • Assure students that you are aware of the fact that they have assignments and tests for other subjects, and that there can be some flexibility within a reasonable time frame around due dates if students make you aware of their other obligations. • Allow for the possibility that there may be some occasions when certain obstacles may interfere with a student’s completion of work, and encourage individuals to approach you ahead of due dates if possible – with their concerns or difficulties. • Provide a reasonable time frame within which assignments will be accepted. • Establish fair consequences for work not submitted on time, which place the emphasis on achievement; e.g., make-up responsibility, parent contact, out- of- class follow-up. • Take significant actions early in the game to help students break old, bad habits such as failure to do assignments or tests. Involve them in encouraging dialogue and specific instruction. Contact parents for assistance and support. • Help students to understand why they may be having difficulty submitting assignments on time and show them how to take some initiative to identify their particular problem and to seek assistance in solving it.

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LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS

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• Let students know very clearly that you cannot give them a grade on work that they do not submit. To earn the credit, they must demonstrate that they can meet the expectations in your subject.
Adapted from Cathy Costello and Barry McKillop,”Dealing with Lates and Absences,” orbit (OISE/UT) 30, 4 (2000): pp. 45–46

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

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STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS
Principle 4: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are appropriate for the

learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of students.
Principle 5: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are fair to all students. Principle 6: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that accommodate

the needs of students with special education needs, consistent with the strategies outlined in their Individual Education Plan (IEP).

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E l e m e n t a r y R e p o r t C a r d Po l i c y f o r S t u d e n t s w i t h S p e c i a l Ed u ca t i o n N eeds
If the student has an Individual Education Plan that applies to a particular strand/subject, it is not necessary, nor is it advisable, to check the IEP box on the student’s report card when a student has received only accommodations for that subject/strand.
Deputy Minister Memo dated November 19, 2004

If the expectations in the IEP are based on The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8 but vary from the expectations of the regular program for the grade, the following statement must appear in the “Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Steps” section: “The (grade/mark) for (strand/subject) is based on achievement of the expectations in the IEP, which vary from the Grade expectations.”
Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 1–8, 1998

S e c o n d a r y R e p o r t C a r d Po l i c y f o r S t u d e n t s w i t h S p e c i a l Ed u ca t i o n N eeds
If the student has an Individual Education Plan that applies to a particular course, it is not necessary, nor is it advisable, to check the IEP box on the student’s report card when a student has received only accommodations for that course.
Deputy Minister Memo dated November 19, 2004

If some of the student’s learning expectations for a course are modified from the curriculum expectations, but the student is working towards a credit for the course, it is sufficient simply to

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STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS check the IEP box. If, however, the student’s learning expectations are modified to such an extent that the principal deems that a credit will not be granted for the course (see section 7.12 of Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9–12: Program and Diploma Requirements, 1999) or if the expectations are alternatives to the curriculum expectations, the following statement must be included in the “Comments” section (along with comments about the student’s achievement): “This percentage grade is based on achievement of the expectations specified in the IEP, which differ significantly from the curriculum expectations for the course.”
Guide to the Provincial Report Card, Grades 9–12, 1999

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It is exceptionally important that all educators understand the distinction between modifications and accommodations and the importance of providing them to students with special education needs. It is not only a matter of fairness and social justice but a legal right established by regulation. The obligation of school boards and schools to provide accommodations for students with special needs is reinforced by both legislation and Ministry of Education policy. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, 1981, which sets out provisions on the “duty to accommodate” all persons with disabilities, school boards have the responsibility to provide appropriate accommodations that will enable students with special needs to participate in the educational setting.

“[I]f the purpose of a lesson is the development of reading skills, the student should work with materials that are consistent with his or her instructional level. The student may have modified learning expectations that are drawn from a lower grade. In this case, the lesson

would be modified.
However, if the purpose of the lesson is to appreciate and respond to a particular story, poem, or other piece of literature, the materials might be consistent with the student’s listening comprehension or grade placement levels. In this case, the teacher may have to ensure only that the student can easily access the text. The student might need supports, or ‘accommodations’, in the form of a taped text, a reading buddy, assistive technology, or the voice of the teacher. In this case, the lesson would be accommodated.”
Education for All: The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy and Numeracy Instruction for Students With Special Education Needs, Kindergarten to Grade 6 (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2005)

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STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

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M o d i fy i n g Exp ec ta t i o n s a n d Prov i d i n g Acco m m o d a t i o n s
The process for modifying expectations includes the following steps: • The teacher looks at the strengths and needs of the individual student with special education needs in relation to the subject/course. • The teacher reviews the overall and specific expectations in the curriculum policy document. • The teacher distils the learning expectations found in the Ontario curriculum policy document to outline a measurable performance task for the particular student. All learning expectations listed in the IEP should represent what a student can reasonably be expected to achieve during each reporting period. The student’s Provincial Report Card or alternative report card for the term/semester must include his/her achievement of the learning expectations listed in the IEP. Example of a modified elementary expectation: Grade 5 Mathematics: Number Sense and Numeration: Term 1 Overall Expectation:

(Students will) read, represent, compare, and order whole numbers to 100,000, decimal numbers to hundredths, proper and improper fractions, and mixed numbers.
Modified Overall Expectation for IEP:

(The student will) read, represent, compare, and order whole numbers up to 10,000, decimal numbers to hundredths, proper fractions, and mixed numbers, and complete five sample problems in each of quantity relationships, counting, operational sense, and proportional relationships.
Example of an elementary accommodation: The student will have access to a study carrel and access to a calculator in mathematics class. Example of modified secondary expectations Grade 9 Applied English: Reading and Literature Studies Overall Expectation:

(Students will) read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literacy, informational and graphic texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning.

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STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

Illustration
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Specific Expectation:

(Students will) read student-and teacher-selected texts from diverse cultures and historical periods, identifying specific purposes for reading.
Modified Specific Expectation for IEP:

(The student will) read five teacher-selected texts from diverse cultures and identify two purposes for reading each text.
Example of a secondary accommodation: The student will have access to teacher-selected texts in audio format and present performance tasks in oral and/or written format.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

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ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS
Principle 4: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are appropriate

for the learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of students.
Principle 5: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are fair to

all students.
Principle 7: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that accommodate

the needs of students who are learning the language of instruction.

When learning expectations are modified for English language learners, evaluation will be based on the documented modified expectations. This will be noted on the report card and explained to parents. Teachers will indicate, using the appropriate box on the report card, when modifications to curriculum expectations have been made to address the ESL or ELD needs of English language learners. In completing the report card, teachers do not check the modification box to indicate: – that the student is participating in ESL or ELD programs or courses; or – that accommodations have been provided (e.g., extra time to complete assignments, access to a bilingual dictionary, opportunities to work in the student’s first language).
English Language Learners, ESL and ELD Programs and Services: Policies and Procedures for Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2007)

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It is exceptionally important that all educators understand the distinction between modifications and accommodations and the importance of providing them to English language learners. It is a matter of fairness and social justice in an increasingly multicultural world. Ontario schools have some of the most multilingual student populations in the world. The first language of approximately 20 per cent of the students in Ontario’s English language schools is a language other than English. Ontario’s linguistic heritage includes several Aboriginal languages; many African, Asian, and European languages; and some varieties

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ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS of English, such as Jamaican Creole. Many English language learners were born in Canada and raised in families and communities in which languages other than English were spoken, or in which the variety of English spoken differed significantly from the English of Ontario classrooms. Other English language learners have arrived in Ontario as newcomers from other countries; they may have experience of highly sophisticated educational systems, or they may come from regions where access to formal schooling was limited. Research has shown that it takes five to seven years for most English language learners to catch up to their English-speaking peers in their ability to use English for academic purposes. Moreover, the older the children are when they arrive, the greater the language knowledge and skills that they have to catch up on, and the more direct support they require from their teachers.
Ontario curriculum documents (revised)

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Accommodations
There are a variety of accommodations that will support English language learners as they develop English language proficiency. These include: Accommodations to instructional strategies • extensive use of visual cues, • provision of graphic organizers, • peer tutoring, • strategic use of students’ first languages, • extra time, • providing key words, • pre-teaching key words, • simplifying/repeating instructions as needed, and • providing oral and written instructions simultaneously. Accommodations to learning resources • extensive use of visual materials, • simplified texts, • bilingual dictionaries, • use of dual-language materials, and • use of audio recordings.

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ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

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Accommodations to assessment strategies • the granting of extra time. • the use of alternative forms of assessment ( e.g., oral interviews, learning logs, or portfolios), and • the use of simplified language and instructions (e.g., through tasks that require completion of graphic organizers and cloze sentences).
Adapted from English Language Learners, ESL and ELD Programs and Services: Policies and Procedures for Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12 Ontario Ministry of Education, 2007)

M o d i fi ca t i o n s
Modification of some or all of the course expectations will also support English language learners, especially those students in the early stages of learning English or those who have had limited prior schooling. The following is an example of a modification for Grade 8 Language: Grade 8 Writing expectation:

(Students will) write complex texts of a variety of lengths using a wide range of forms.
Modified expectation:

(The student will) write short, coherent, patterned compositions.
The following is an example of a modification for Grade 9 Academic Mathematics: Grade 9 Academic Mathematics expectation:

(Students will) describe trends and relationships observed in data, make inferences from data, compare the inferences with hypotheses about the data, and explain any differences between the inferences and the hypotheses.
Modified expectation:

(The student will) identify and demonstrate trends and relationships observed in data.

CREDIT RECOVERY

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CREDIT RECOVERY
Principle 3: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are varied in nature,

administered over a period of time, and designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning.
Principle 4: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are appropriate

for the learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of students.
Principle 5: Teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that are fair to

all students.

Credit recovery has as its foundation Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9 to 12: Program and Diploma Requirements, 1999, which states that, for students who have failed a course, “Where possible the student should be allowed to repeat only the material relating to the expectations not achieved”. Based on this policy, many different varieties of credit recovery programs have been developed throughout the province. Relevant communications sent to the field about credit recovery are as follows: May 4, 2005: A memo from Ben Levin– outlining the codes for credit recovery and signalling to boards that credit recovery is an expected program in all boards of education. August 4, 2005: A memo from Catherine Rankin and Dominic Giroux, describing to boards how to implement the credit recovery course codes. June 28, 2006: A memo from Ben Levin outlining guiding principles related to credit recovery as determined by the Student Success Commission (see below). December 13, 2006: A memo from Sue Durst, Kirsten Parker, and Ginette Plourde on the credit recovery implementation process providing the operating structure for credit recovery. February 7, 2007: CDs providing course profiles and relevant memos related to credit recovery (sent to all Student Success Leaders). April 4, 2007: A memo from Kirsten Parker and Ginette Plourde on credit recovery Questions and Answers.

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Po l i c y

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CREDIT RECOVERY

Po l i c y
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April 20, 2007: A memo from Andrew Davis on credit recovery and summer school providing approval for credit recovery programs to be funded in summer school. September 2007: An updated CD covering all approved courses (sent to the field).

T h i r tee n G u i d i n g Pr i n c i p l es o f Cred i t R ecover y
1. Credit Recovery is part of a whole school culture and has equal status with other forms of course delivery. 2. Credit Recovery is not a replacement for effective, positive instruction and intervention during the initial credit attempt including the normal supports provided through Special Education. 3. Credit Recovery is one of several options for any student who fails, but the final determination of Credit Recovery Placement is made by the Credit Recovery Team. 4. Decisions regarding the final placement in Credit Recovery programs must consider all factors that limited success. 5. The final credit granting for Credit Recovery programs is the responsibility of the Principal. 6. Access to Credit Recovery must be through a recommendation by the Principal and agreed to by the student and, where appropriate (e.g., students under the age of majority), the parent(s)/guardian(s) who must share some responsibility for the learning. 7. Credit Recovery programming must consider all factors that limited success in the initial program. 8. The teacher of the initial program (Subject Teacher) must provide the Credit Recovery Team with relevant information to be considered when placing the student. 9. Programs must be pedagogically sound and have real and credible educational value. The integrity of the recovered credit must be preserved by the student demonstrating achievement of the overall course expectations. 10. Students must have an opportunity to meet course expectations. Students must have an opportunity to demonstrate achieving course expectations in a variety of ways. 11. Within the Board’s capacity to deliver Credit Recovery programs and adhering to the terms and conditions of collective agreements, Credit Recovery programs should be available to every student in publicly funded schools and are to be delivered by members of the Ontario College of Teachers employed by the board.

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CREDIT RECOVERY

Po l i c y
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12. Eligibility to gain access to a Credit Recovery program shall be based on a variety of indicators and not solely on a mark designation. 13. The final mark should reflect the achievement of all course expectations. Depending on the student’s Credit Recovery program, the mark may be based solely on performance in the Credit Recovery program or may include results from the initial course and/or measures of prior learning. Regardless of the method used to determine the final mark, the evaluation practices must be consistent with Ministry and Board policy.
Deputy Minister Memo dated June 28, 2006

All overall expectations for which the student has not demonstrated level 1 or above (as indicated in the Credit Recovery Profile provided by the subject teacher) must be covered and assessed through credit recovery. The final grade for each course in Grades 9 to12 will be determined as follows: Seventy per cent of the grade will be determined by either of the two options indicated below, depending on the student’s Credit Recovery Program. This portion of the grade should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement, although special consideration should be given to more recent evidence of achievement. (The Ontario Curriculum,

Grades 9 to 12: Program Planning and Assessment, 2000).
Option 1: The grade may be based solely upon the performance in the Credit Recovery Program. Option 2: The grade may be determined by the merging of previous evaluation provided by the Subject Teacher for successful attainment of course expectations (as evidenced on the Credit Recovery Profile) with marks determined through evaluations conducted during the Credit Recovery Program. Where the Principal has determined that prior learning will be recognized towards credit recovery, such achievement may also be merged with marks earned through credit recovery. Thirty per cent of the grade will be based on a final evaluation in the form of an examination, performance, essay, and/or other method of evaluation suitable to the course content and administered towards the end of the course (The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 to 12:

Program Planning and Assessment, 2000).
Director Minister Memo dated December 13, 2006

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CREDIT RECOVERY

Po l i c y

1. Which students can be considered for credit recovery? Students who have, within the last two years, completed an Ontario Ministry of Education approved course and received a failing grade may be approved by the Credit Recovery Team to recover the course through the credit recovery process. Students may only recover the credit of the actual course failed, which limits them to the same type, grade, and level. For example a student who fails MPM1D can only recover MPM1D and is not eligible to recover MFM1P. Students who withdraw from a course are not eligible to recover it through the credit recovery process. 2. Is it possible for a student to fail in a Credit Recovery Program? A student who does not meet the expectations outlined in the Credit Recovery Learning Plan may fail in his/her attempt to recover a credit. This failing grade is reported on the transcript for Grade 11 and 12 courses each time the student attempts a course unless the student withdraws prior to the completion or submission of the culminating activity (see question #3). 3. May a board/school require the student to have achieved a minimum mark in the original course in order to be considered for credit recovery? No. The Credit Recovery Team determines a student’s admission to the Credit Recovery Program. The mark achieved in the original course is only one factor considered in determining admission. The course must have been failed within the last two years of the request for admission to a Credit Recovery Program in order for the student to be considered by the Credit Recovery Team. 4. May a board/school predetermine a final grade for a student in the credit recovery program? No. The final grade a student receives in the Credit Recovery Program is individually determined based upon achieved expectations in accordance with The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 to12: Program Planning and Assessment, 2000.
Thirty per cent of the grade will be based on a final evaluation in the form of an

examination, performance, essay, and/or other method of evaluation suitable to the course content and administered towards the end of the course
Seventy per cent of the grade will be determined by one of the following:

a) Solely upon the student’s performance in the Credit Recovery Program. b) The merging of previous evaluation provided by the Subject Teacher for successful attainment of course expectations (as evidenced on the Credit Recovery Profile) with marks determined through evaluations conducted during the Credit Recovery Program.
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CREDIT RECOVERY Where the Principal has determined that prior learning will be recognized towards credit recovery, such achievement may also be merged with marks earned through credit recovery. 5. Can a board/school carry over the culminating activity portion of the grade from the original course failed? No. This portion of the mark is determined by the credit recovery teacher.
Questions and Answers, April 4, 2007

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Credit Recovery represents the first recommendation of the Student Success Commission. The Student Success Commission – representing the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, the Ontario Public Supervisory Officials’ Association, the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers’ Association, Association des gestionnaires de l’éducation franco-ontarienne, the Council of Ontario Directors of Education, the Ontario Principals’ Council, the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario and the Ministry of Education – has a dual mandate: • to provide advice to the Minister with respect to the implementation of current and proposed Student Success Initiatives, and • to endorse implementation models that will promote the sector’s commitment to every student. Credit Recovery was identified as a first area of focus because consistency in existing programs is desirable and because it is an essential option for students who fail one credit or more in Grades 9 and 10. It is important that each student receives a quality Credit Recovery experience.
Deputy Minister Memo dated June 28, 2006.

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

CREDIT RECOVERY It is September 5th and sitting before you is an anxious young woman named Hope who has failed Grade 10 Applied Mathematics (MFM 2P). Also present are her parents. You have reviewed the Credit Recovery Course Placement Form provided by Hope’s original teacher. It indicates that she had attained a final grade of 37 during semester 2 of last year. Her teacher Ms. Trig indicated that Hope had achieved level 1 in two of the overall expectations in the Measurement and Trigonometry strand (“use their knowledge of ratio and proportion…” and “solve problems involving right triangles…”) and level 2 in one of the overall expectations in the Modelling Linear Relations strand (“manipulate and solve algebraic equations…”). She was below level 1 in the remaining six overall expectations which she is therefore required to cover. During your conversation with Ms. Trig, she also indicated that Hope would be successful if she attended regularly but had experienced some personal family problems which resulted in serious non attendance causing major gaps in her knowledge and understanding of the course material. The Course Placement Form also included the School Credit Recovery Team’s approval for Hope to participate in the credit recovery process. Together you develop a learning plan for Hope which identifies the overall expectations she must cover as well as the types of assessment you will be using to determine a final grade for her. You explain the policy requirement that 70% of the final mark will be for course work and 30% will be for culminating activities she will do near the conclusion of the credit recovery process. You advise her that you will take into account her success in the three overall expectations she is exempt from studying and that these expectations may be part of the culminating activities. You also indicate that there will be some online learning which you think she will find both useful and enjoyable. Your interview concludes with your expectations for her attendance and the workload. Throughout the interview, you have provided encouragement for her to succeed. The document is then signed by everyone present. Two months later, Hope has finished the credit recovery process and you are pleased to record Hope’s final grade of 73 on the Credit Recovery Learning Plan.

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OUTSTANDING ISSUES

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

OUTSTANDING ISSUES The following is a preliminary list of issues that have frequently arisen in relation to the policy statements under the preceding tabs in this document. The consultation process will address these issues, as well as others that are identified by stakeholders.

THE PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION

• What can we do to make assessment and evaluation less burdensome for teachers? • How can a teacher assess so many expectations? • What does a classroom that uses assessment to improve student learning look like? • How does a teacher create a meaningful balance between “assessment for learning” and “assessment of learning”?

ELEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES

• Why should teachers be concerned with these principles? • Are the eleven principles listed in order of importance? • How are these principles made visible in the classroom?

THE ACHIEVEMENT CHART

• Why is the achievement chart so important in the Ontario Curriculum? • How is the achievement chart used to develop rubrics and how do the two differ? • Are the four categories of the achievement chart of equal importance? • Why are there no descriptors for “below level 1” in the achievement chart?

GRADING AND REPORTING

• How should the achievement chart categories be balanced to determine marks? • Should the four levels of achievement be “pegged” to certain marks? • What is meant by “more recent… most consistent”?

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G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

OUTSTANDING ISSUES • How should assessment evidence be collected for secondary students for the 70 per cent/30 per cent mark division? Should there be policy related to the timing of assignments? • What role does professional judgement play in the evaluation of student achievement? • Why is there a 20 per cent range for “A” and a 50 per cent range for failure? • Is it necessary to report grades/marks by strands for the elementary panel? • Should student achievement be reported by achievement chart categories? • Do grading and reporting practices provide meaningful information to parents and engage them? • How can the Response Form be improved on the provincial report cards?

ASSESSING LEARNING SKILLS

• Should “learning skills” be aligned to “essential skills”? • Should the learning skills be aligned for the elementary and secondary panels? • How are learning skills taught, assessed and evaluated? • How can the learning skills be better highlighted?

LATE AND MISSED ASSIGNMENTS

• Should students receive a zero for missed assignments? • Should students be deducted a certain number of marks for late assignments? • What should the criteria be for deducting marks? • What is meant by “to the extent possible”? • How should the 0–50 mark range be handled when students’ marks are averaged?

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G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

OUTSTANDING ISSUES
STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

• What is the difference between a modification and an accommodation? • What is the process for developing an IEP with modifications and accommodations linked to provincial assessment, evaluation, and reporting policy? • How are assessment and evaluation conducted for students with special education needs? • How is achievement for students with special education needs reported on the provincial report card? • How can fair and effective modifications be made for gifted students?

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: MODIFICATIONS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

• What is the difference between a modification and an accommodation? • What supports can be provided to teachers to assist them in correctly incorporating modifications and accommodations in the assessment, evaluation, and reporting of achievement for English language learners? • How is a teacher to report if a student has received a modification to a program?

CREDIT RECOVERY

• How should the final mark be calculated for a course recovered through the credit recovery process, keeping in mind the assessment policies of the ministry? • Should the assessment practices for credit recovery programs be different from those for other courses taken for the first time? • Should the culminating activity required in all credit recovery programs be an exit examination and reflect all of the course expectations, and should a student be required to pass it in order to receive the credit?

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G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

OUTSTANDING ISSUES
OTHER ISSUES

• What is the policy for assessing, evaluating, and reporting for “external credits”? • How should assessment, evaluation, and reporting be done for cooperative education placements? • How should assessment, evaluation, and reporting be done for prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR)? • Are the existing assessment, evaluation, and reporting policies and practices inclusive and fair for all students?

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FUTURE WORK: PROCESS AND TIMELINES

G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

FUTURE WORK: PROCESS AND TIMELINES We have invited a team of elementary and secondary educators from each board to attend this symposium. Our intention is that your teams will play a key role in the work of the ministry in the next several months. As a first step, we trust you will share what you have learned at this symposium with your colleagues when you return home. It is our hope that this symposium will stimulate the development of a Professional Learning Community in each board related to the assessment, evaluation, and reporting (AE&R) of student achievement. In order to develop a new K-12 assessment, evaluation, and reporting policy document and to determine how best it can be implemented across the province, we will need your expertise and your access to educators at the local level. First, in January and February, we want to collect your opinions and suggestions on a number of issues. Topics will include: • identification of AE&R policies that need greater clarification, greater specificity, and/or revision for elementary and secondary educators; • identification of strategies to achieve greater consistency across the province in the implementation of AE&R policies and among teachers in the assignment of marks and grades; and • identification of the kinds of supports and/or professional development needed to assist elementary and secondary educators in the implementation of AE&R policies. We will be contacting you shortly with further details of the process. As mentioned earlier, there are several other steps involved in the development process. A preliminary timetable is outlined below. • Consultation with other stakeholders, including educator councils/associations, federations, parents/guardians, and students. • Analysis of research results for the elementary report card pilot project (to be completed on February 29, 2008). • Review of secondary report card consultations conducted in 2007. • Review of local board policies and guidelines. • Review of policies in other jurisdictions. • Development of draft materials. • Sharing of draft materials with stakeholders for feedback. • Revision of draft materials to incorporate feedback.
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G R OW I N G S U C C E S S | assessment, evaluation and reporting: improving student learning

FUTURE WORK: PROCESS AND TIMELINES • Publication and distribution of K-12 document and strategies for implementation. • Optional implementation – February 2009 to June 2009. • Mandatory implementation – September 2009.

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