The Ontario Ministry of Education states that the primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning. In Blue Gene, assessment, evaluation, and reporting system, which is based on the Ontario curriculum policies, aims to set high standards of achievement for all students and promote consistency in teaching and learning. To support this aim, teachers will collect information through assessment to provide descriptive feedback that guides the student’s efforts towards improvement. Teachers will use the Ministry achievement charts to evaluate evidence of the student’s performance demonstrated over time. Student achievement will be communicated formally to students and parents by means of the Provincial Report Card, which also provides a record of the learning skills demonstrated by the student.
Definitions and Policies of Assessment and Evaluation
In accordance with the Growing Success document issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education, assessment is the process of gathering information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject or course. The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning. Evaluation is the process of judging the quality of student achievement of overall expectations.
Assessment is a method and process for teachers to gather information from a variety of sources (including assignments, demonstrations, projects, performances, and tests) to accurately reflect how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject or course.
The Growing Success document distinguishes three types of assessment: assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of learning.
Assessment for learning (diagnostic) records student’s prior knowledge, and helps assess future goals for individual improvement with respect to course curriculum expectations. It occurs through observation, before instruction and determines students’ readiness to learn new knowledge and skills; it also obtains information about students’ interests and learning preferences.
Assessment as learning (formative) illustrates student’s progress through self-monitoring and self-critical assessment of learning. In assessment as learning, teachers help all students to develop their independent learning skills, ability to set individual goals, and measure and reflect on personal progress.
Assessment of learning (summative) reports on student progress at the end of the task/unit/course in relation to curriculum learning outcomes; student’s application of key concepts, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are measured through culminating activities. This assessment occurs at or near the end of a period of learning, and may be used to inform further instruction.
While assessment is more of a qualitative approach, evaluation focuses more on formatted testing of students’ academic performance. It is a process of judging the quality of student work on the basis of established criteria, and assigning a value to represent that quality. The value assigned will be in the form of a percentage grade. In Blue Gene, students will be evaluated based on the Achievement Charts in the Provincial Curriculum Policy Documents for the courses in which they are enrolled. Evaluation is based on the level of achievement the student demonstrates in the skills and knowledge covered in a course.
Seventy percent (70%) of the evaluation is based on classroom work and may be determined through a variety of methods, such as ongoing class demonstrations, presentations, essays, performances and classroom tests and quizzes. Thirty percent (30%) of the evaluation is based on a final summative evaluation that may be determined through one or a variety of methods in the latter portion of the course, such as a portfolio, essay, examination and demonstration. This final evaluation reflects the range and level of student skills and knowledge towards the conclusion of the course and will give students an opportunity to synthesize the different aspects of their learning for each particular course.
Assessment and evaluation methods at Blue Gene are based on the Ontario Provincial curriculum expectations and the achievement levels outlined in the curriculum policy document for each discipline. Through the well-designed assessment and evaluation, teachers in Blue Gene can be able to gather information to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses in their achievement of the curriculum expectations in each course. They can also adapt their curriculum and instructional approaches to students’ needs and assess the overall effectiveness of programs and classroom practices. In order to ensure that assessment and evaluation are valid and reliable, and that they lead to the improvement of student learning, teachers at Blue Gene are required to use assessment and evaluation strategies that conform to the following criteria based on the seven fundamental principals from the Growing Success document:
ü Are fair, transparent, and equitable for all students;
ü Support all students, including those with special education needs, those who are learning the language of instruction (English or French);
ü Are carefully planned to relate to the curriculum expectations and learning goals and, as much as possible, to the interests, learning styles and preferences, needs, and experiences of all students;
ü Are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the school year or course and at other appropriate points throughout the school year or course;
ü Are ongoing, varied in nature, and administered over a period of time to provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
ü Provide ongoing descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful, and timely to support improved learning and achievement;
ü Develop students’ self-assessment skills to enable them to assess their own learning, set specific goals, and plan next steps for their learning.
Blue Gene Education sets achievement levels according to the curriculum expectations as described in the achievement charts in the secondary curriculum policy documents. The Levels of Achievement are organized into broad categories of knowledge and skills and teachers provide students with detailed descriptions of each level of achievement. The broad categories of knowledge and skills are: Knowledge/Understanding, Thinking/Inquiry, Communication, and Application/Making Connections. The names of the categories may vary slightly from one discipline to another, reflecting differences in the nature of the disciplines. The achievement levels provide a reference point for all assessment practice, and serve as a guide for gathering assessment information and a framework of assessing and evaluating each student’s achievement. As such, the achievement levels enable teachers to make consistent judgments about the quality of students’ work and to provide clear and specific information about their achievement to students and their parents.
The levels of achievement are associated with percentage grades and are defined as follows:
|Identifies achievement that surpasses the provincial standard.
The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with a high degree of effectiveness. However, achievement at level 4 does not mean that the student has achieved expectations beyond those specified for the grade/course.
|Represents achievement at the provincial standard.
The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with considerable effectiveness. Parents of students achieving at level 3 can be confident that their children will be prepared for work in subsequent grades/courses.
|Represents achievement that is below, but approaching the provincial standard.
The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with some effectiveness. Students performing at this level need to work on identified learning gaps to ensure future success.
|Represents achievement that falls much below the provincial standard.
The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with limited effectiveness. Students must work at significantly improving learning in specific areas, as necessary, if they are to be successful in the next grade/course.
|Below 50% **
||Insufficient achievement of the curriculum expectations. A credit will not be granted for the course.
*Note: Level 3 is defined as the provincial standard. A student achieving at this level is well prepared for work in the next grade or the next course.
**Note: A student whose achievement is below 50% at the end of the course will not obtain a credit for the course.
Evidence of Student Achievement for Evaluation
Evidence of student achievement is collected over time from three different sources:
ü student products
Using multiple sources of evidence increases the reliability and validity of the evaluation.
ü Reporting on student achievement of overall expectations.
ü Clear communication of criteria to students prior to learning activities. Students should be made aware of the evaluation process prior to beginning an assignment.
ü “Student products” in the form of tests or exams and/or assignments for evaluation. Such assignments may include rich performance tasks, demonstrations, projects and/or essays.
ü Equity for all students. Assignments for evaluation and tests or exams are to be completed, whenever possible, under the supervision of a teacher.
ü Sufficient evidence of student achievement within the four categories of the achievement chart is needed to determine grades and to demonstrate to the teacher, parents/guardians and students the level of achievement of the curriculum expectations at the time of reporting. The amount of evidence varies, depending on the grade and the curriculum.
The evaluation of student learning is the responsibility of the teacher and must not include the judgement of the student or of the student’s peers.
- It is the students’ responsibility to ensure that they have completed all of the assigned requirements of the course before writing the final exam or assessment task.
- Once the final exam is written or the final assessment is submitted, no further assignments may be submitted, unless prior arrangments have been made between the student and the subject teacher. Students will receive zeros for any unsubmitted assignments.
- There are a variety of assignments such as essays, term papers, experiments, projects, participation in conference discussions, etc.
In Blue Gene Education, all courses will have final examinations unless otherwise agreed to by the Principal. The formats for a ﬁnal exam are subject to the teacher, the Principal and the Ministry of Education Curriculum guidelines and mandates. Blue Gene Education and the student will ensure that exams offered must be taken in a proper supervised location, thus ensuring the security and integrity of the exam is well maintained.
Proctoring: A proctored exam is one that is monitored or supervised by an impartial individual, usually called a proctor, while a student is taking an exam. The responsibility of the proctor is to ensure the security and integrity of the exam process. When the student is taking an exam online instead of physically in a supervised classroom, the parent/guardian of the student can be the family proctor. The teacher then contacts the proctor to ensure credibility via a checklist and provides instructions for the exam in consultation with both the student and the proctor. The Proctor then provides evidence of supervision via a form that accompanies the exam back to the teacher. Students are personally responsible for any Proctor fee that arises.
Formal Reporting Periods
There are two formal reporting periods: Mid-Term and Final. Both will be transferred to the student’s home school where the OSR resides or retained by Blue Gene Education as the home school. The Report Card can also be issued to the Ontario University Application Centre on behalf of the student, when the student provides his/her current Application Reference Number to Blue Gene Education.
The Provincial Report Card
In Blue Gene, student achievement is communicated formally to students and their parents/guardians by means of the Provincial Report Card. The report card documents the student’s achievement in every course, at particular points in the school year, in the form of a percentage grade. It also includes teachers’ comments on the student’s strengths and weaknesses, specifying the areas in which improvement is needed and the ways in which it might be achieved. The report card contains separate sections for recording attendance and for evaluating the student’s learning skills in every course.
At the end of each course, a final grade is recorded, and credit is granted for every course in which the student’s grade is 50 per cent or higher (reflecting achievement at level 1 or above). The final grade for each course will be based on a) assessments and evaluations conducted throughout the course, and b) a final evaluation. The relative weights assigned to these two components are specified in the Ministry’s curriculum policy document: assessments and evaluations conducted throughout the course accounts for 70%; and final evaluation constitutes 30%.
Policies and Procedures for Reporting and Communicating Student Achievement
The teacher will maintain regular contact with the parent(s)/guardian(s) regarding the learning progress of students, as deemed appropriate to their age. Students will also receive continuous feedback on the course progress. Attendance will be monitored to ensure that course requirements are met. The parent(s)/guardian(s) will receive a ﬁnal report card as deemed appropriate.
The final grade for a course must be submitted by the subject teacher first to the Principal’s Office. The Principal will collect the final grade report(s) of all the courses currently offered in the term that contain students’ grades for every graded component of the course, and the percentage weighting of each component. Then the Principal will keep the hard copies away in the central filing storage and saving the electronic copies in the computer database of student academic records. The final grades of all the courses each student has completed will be recorded in the Provincial Report Card provided to the student at the end of each course.
Communication is vital for teaching and ensuring success and is a main category that is identified clearly in the Ministry of Education’s document Growing Success, 2010.The teachers and Blue Gene Education will determine the form of communicating with students and parent(s)/guardian(s).Various forms of communication may be employed by Blue Gene Education as acceptable for educational purposes only. The student will have access to the Blue Gene Education online course system, chat rooms and others such as uploaded audio or visual files. The teacher may also employ programs like Skype, MSN, etc.
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)
Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside Ontario secondary school classrooms. Students may have their skills and knowledge evaluated against the overall expectations outlined in provincial curriculum policy documents in order to earn credits towards the secondary school diploma. The PLAR process involves two components: challenge and equivalency. The challenge process is the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a course developed from a provincial curriculum policy document. The equivalency process involves the assessment of credentials from other jurisdictions. For students who are transferring from home schooling, a non-inspected private school, or a school outside Ontario, principals will grant equivalency credits for placement purposes based on their evaluation of the student’s previous learning. The Principal will determine the number of credits, including compulsory credits that a student needs in order to meet diploma credit requirements.The total number of equivalent credits and the corresponding number of compulsory credits will be recorded in a student’s OST.
Blue Gene Education Procedure: Does not offer PLAR challenge. Blue Gene Education is prepared to accept students from out-of-province and grant equivalent credits if/when the student is enrolled as a full-time student where Blue Gene Education establishes and maintains the OSR.
The Property of Blue Gene Education
All members of Blue Gene must show proper care and regard for the property of Blue Gene and the property of others. In case any damage to the property is caused either intentionally or unintentionally, Blue Gene reserves the right to demand compensation for the losses which shall be more than the cost of a replacement of the damaged property.
Reinforcement of the Code of Conduct
In Blue Gene, any student who is charged with violations of the code of conduct shall be subject to disciplinary action decided by the Principal. The Principal has the authority to issue warnings, impose penalties and recommend dismissal.
Visitors, Invitees, or Trespassers whose behaviour violates the maintenance of order in Blue Gene will be asked to leave the premises. Failure to leave promptly upon request will result in the Principal using all reasonable means, including but not limited to calling for assistance of the police, to effect removal. The person(s) involved may be held accountable for the acts of misconduct of the guests while on the premises.