Communicating Student Learning
As an innovative and diverse learning community, with a goal of challenging and supporting each student to achieve his/her best, we believe a collaborative approach to educating children will ensure success. Students, teachers, parents/guardians can all work effectively together when they have a shared understanding of expectations and achievements. This plan outlines the means by which we will celebrate and communicate our students growth as learners and global citizens.
The Halifax Regional School Board has developed the new Student Assessment and Evaluation Policy. The policy indicates that the basis for assessing and evaluating student learning will be the expected learning outcomes as established by the Nova Scotia Department of Education. These outcomes describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes the student will demonstrate by the end of each grade level.
Tools for Assessment and Evaluation
The staff at LeMarchant are continually learning about and working towards developing alternate methods of assessment and evaluation. Assessment is defined as the process of gathering information for student learning. Providing a balanced assessment requires that a variety of methods in assessing student learning are used, so that staff are able to gain a more complete, and accurate picture of what students know and are able to do.
At LMST, each teacher will use some of the following methods of assessment to ensure a balanced assessment of each student:
- Work samples – collected, dated, daily assignments
- Models – two or three dimensional representation or construction
- Journals – informal writing shared between student and teacher
- Reports/Projects/Presentations – formal assignments extending over a period of time which demonstrate the student’s understanding of a concept or topic
- Performances – skits, puppet shows, pubic speaking, debates, plays, role playing singing, dance, instrumental music
- Tests/Quizzes – a time-limited, written or oral response to teacher questions on a specific topic
- Peer and Self Evaluation – students assessing their own and each others work using clear guidelines
- Observation/Anecdotal Records/Checklists – specific methods that support continuous gathering of information on student learning
- Rubrics -identifies and describes the criteria used to assess student performance
- Observation Survey – structured assessment activities giving evidence of student’s reading ability ( Grades Primary and 1 only)
- Questioning – the use of question and answer in various settings to determine what a child knows
- Conferencing – discussion between student and teacher regarding student accomplishments
Ongoing gathering of information using a variety of assessment tools allows for continuous evaluating of student learning. Evaluation involves weighing and balancing all available information and using a high level of professional judgment in making decisions based upon that information. It is important for teachers to share this information with students and parents for effective collaboration in supporting student learning.
Communicating Student Learning
Just as there are many ways for effective assessment of student learning, there are also many ways that information can be communicated and shared with all members of the learning community. These include Curriculum Night, monthly school newsletters, calendars, special events, students’ homework, agendas as a two-way communication tool, email, reading-at-home programs, reading logs, assemblies, phone calls, performances, conferences and report cards. Some of these possible ways for communicating student learning in relation to the expected learning outcomes will be undertaken on a school-wide basis and others pertain to individual classes and teachers.
In addition to the ongoing communication of student progress, three progress reports will be issued. The first reporting period ends November 30th, the second ends, in March and the final reporting period ends in June. Just as our curriculum planning and assessment are focused on the learning outcomes outlined in our provincial curriculum guides, this report will provide information about your child’s progress in meeting these outcomes.
There are two Conferencing periods. The first, an information sharing in November, provides an opportunity for the parent to share information with the school about their child that will enable the teachers to plan the best program to support the student’s individual learning style. The second, a parent-teacher session, in April, provides an opportunity to communicate growth since the December progress report. Parents are not limited to the scheduled Conferencing times and are encouraged to make an appointment with the teacher to discuss any concerns whenever necessary. Appointments can be arranged by calling the school, or through a note in the agenda.
Children Requiring Additional Support
LMST is committed to supporting the learning of all students. Staff believe in the early identification of students requiring additional support. Early identification and timely intervention is the most effective approach in meeting the needs of children. Parents are informed before any intervention such as resource support or adaptations are undertaken.
The school has established a process for the identification, assessment, and program planning for students with special needs. Classroom teachers, resource staff and parents may initiate and/or assist in the identification process. In some cases where a student is identified as having special needs a referral is made to the School Planning Team. The School Planning Team consists of the Principal, school psychologist, resource teacher, classroom teacher and other teachers. If needed, an individual Program Planning Team may be set up to support a student. This team consists of the classroom teacher, an administrator, specialists as required and the parent/guardian.
Parents/guardians are consulted, and written permission is required for any formal individual assessment. Parents/guardians are informed of the test results. The test results, along with other information will be used in making adaptations to the student’s program or developing an Individual Program Plan (IPP) for the student. The IPP will be reviewed and approved by parents/guardians twice annually.
Throughout the year there may be questions and concerns that arise concerning student progress. When concerns exist, the teacher should be addressed first. A meeting can be arranged with the teacher where the administration may or may not be present. If a follow up meeting is arranged with the administration, resolution of the matter raised will involve the teacher, even if the teacher is not present at all meetings. The goal is to resolve the issues in a climate of mutual respect while maintaining the dignity of all concerned and keeping in mind the best interest of the student.
If the standard means of communication to parents prove to be inappropriate ( for example: non English speaking parents), alternate methods of communication will be pursued to ensure that all parents have a clear understanding of their child’s progress.
Review of the School Plan
The School Plan for Communicating Student Learning will be reviewed and amended as needed by the principal after consulting with staff and the School Advisory Council.