Understanding Assessments & Grades
 
Recent studies have shown that there is sometimes a disconnect between the current assessment practices
 used by teachers and what parents and students understand about how grades are determined. The province is
 currently piloting a new Middle Level Report Card that will more accurately reflect how well students have met
the standards or outcomes. This will be available next year.
We hope that the information below will provide parents with a better understanding of current assessment practices
in a standards/outcome-based curriculum.
Traditional Grades
 
-rank ordered students from highest to lowest
-often marked by comparing students
-only considered traditional tests and assignments when calculating grades
-did not provide opportunities to relearn, retest and adjust grade
 
Current Grades
 
-compare students to a provincial standard or outcome not to other students
-considers many forms and methods of assessment
-provides opportunities to relearn, reassess and adjust grade to show current level of achievement
-focus on skills learned not grade achieved

Teachers use a variety of methods throughout the grading period to determine how well students understand what is being taught. This is called “Assessment for Learning”. This type of assessment occurs when teachers observe and conference with students during daily classroom activities and usually also includes smaller quizzes, tests and assignments. This type of assessment helps the teacher determine what needs to be reinforced or reviewed and when  it is appropriate to move on to the next outcome or standard.
 
Teachers measure:
1. The prior knowledge of the outcome to determine what the student already may know.
2. The areas of strength that do not require more review and practice.
3. The areas of weakness that do require more review and practice.
 
Teachers also use larger assignments or unit tests that are given at the end of a unit or grading period. This is called “Assessment of Learning”. This type of assessment measures to what degree the student has met the outcome or standard at the end of the learning period.
 
Using all of this information, the teacher then compares the student’s level of achievement to the standard using a
rubric or marking scheme that lists what criteria should have been met at each level of achievement. The teacher
 then assigns a grade. Currently we use several different grading scales depending on the nature of each assignment
or activity. The teacher combines all of the information they have gathered to provide a % grade for each subject.
 
No Mark or Unable to Assess means that the student has not produced enough work to make an appropriate assessment. This
 could be due to missed time or missing assignments or because a student has only had a few classes in that subject (Guidance,
 Art etc.) so far this school year.
 
Below 60% is considered to be Experiencing Difficulty. The student has not met the standard or outcome.
 
60% means the teacher is acknowledging that the student is trying or making progress but has not met or barely meets the
standard.
 
 65% indicates the student has just met the outcome but may have struggled during the teaching and learning.
 
70%-85% indicates that the student has shown Appropriate Achievement. They have met the standard or outcome.
90%-100% indicates that the student has shown Strong Performance. They have met all of the possible expectations and may
have exceeded the expectations of the outcome.