Thinking About Assessment and Evaluation at #AssessSym2017

Post #1- August 15, 2017

This week I am taking part in some deeper learning about Assessment and Evaluation at the #AssessSym2017 conference at Georgian College in Barrie.  We have a team of five educators here and have met colleagues from across the entire province. The conversations have been rich. As part of our learning this week we have been asked to keep a digital portfolio, so knowing that I have been avoiding coming back to my blog seemed like an invitation to revisit some of my thinking from the past and to add to it with my new learning from this week.

We have been invited to transform our thinking about assessment.  Transform means “to make a thorough or dramatic change”.  This morning we were presented with some Big Ideas around assessment.  Have a look at the powerpoint below that outlines the four Big Ideas we wrestled with.   Transforming Assessment

The first Big Idea that resonated with me was: “Assessment plays a critical role in teaching and learning.”  This is key.  I come back to the question I often ask- Why this learning for this child at this time?  This has me asking so many more questions- What is your process for planning?  How do you ensure that you have thought through the assessment cycle during your planning process?   This also has me thinking a lot about our NTIP teachers.  How can we better support our beginning teachers to plan their teaching and learning cycle while considering our assessment and evaluation practices?

The time to think deeply about Assessment and Evaluation over a four day period is a gift.  We are thinking, reading, viewing, conversing and questioning everything we know and don’t know about the topic and as we do that we are transforming our thinking about Assessment and Evaluation on a summer day in August.  Pretty inspiring!

Post #2- August 16, 2017

Today at the #AssessSym2017 symposium, I engaged in learning about- Learning Goals & Success Criteria, IEPs and reporting and the new Initial Observation report card for Kindergarten.  This room is full of dedicated professional who knew a lot about assessment and evaluation before they got here – check out the pre-assessment that they did with us…

Our learning this week has been framed around 4 Themes:

  1.  Knowing the Learner
  2. Making Learning Visible Through the Assessment Process
  3. Evaluation and Professional Judgement
  4. Reporting and Communication

Each day we have gone deeper into discussions around topics related to these four themes.  Today’s conversations took us deeper into Learning Goals and Descriptive Feedback.

Our group decided to wrestle with creating a Learning Goal (LG) and Success Criteria (SC)  for an overall expectation from the Kindergarten Program.  We chose the Overall Expectation 3- Identify and use social skills in play and other contexts.  Our first step was to decide what our students needed to Know and Do.  We identified that our students would need to know: -that words and actions impact others and that people can have different points of view.  They would also be able to: – help someone, use kind words, help my friends, give compliments, use an appropriate tone when talking, and taking turns.

After much discussions we landed on the Learning Goal- We are learning to play with others

The Success Criteria would be:  I am able to- take turns, share with others, listen to others.

This process was powerful for our group.  Because of the unique learning environment in Kindergarten, our discussion about assessment practices took us from LG and SC to Notice and name.  What became key to us is the role of the educator with the student in making the learning visible.  This group conversation was powerful for all of us.  Funnily enough, we then went back into the Kindergarten document to see what there was to say about LG/SC at the K level ( see page 43).  I think we are really starting to understand.

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