Understanding Assessments & Grades 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.
 
 
 
 
4+
 
 
4
Excelling
Student learning and work show:
Strong and/or Excellent Achievement
4+ Indicates, in addition to excelling, the student demonstrates learning that surpasses grade-level expectations.
The student has a thorough understanding of outcomes addressed to date and consistently applies learning to new situations. Work surpasses the descriptors in the “Meeting” category but is within the expectations specified for the grade/course.
 
 
 
3+
 
 
 
3
Meeting
Student learning and work show:
Appropriate and/or Proficient Achievement
3+ Indicates the student demonstrates consistent proficiency with meeting learning expectations. The student independently applies learning to familiar situations and demonstrates aspects of excelling in some learning expectations.
The student has a solid understanding of the outcomes addressed to date and often applies learning to familiar situations. Students maintaining this level will be prepared for work in the next grade/course.
 
 
 
2
Approaching
Student learning and work show:
A Combination of Appropriate and Below Appropriate Achievement
The student has some understanding of the outcomes addressed to date and with support, applies learning to familiar situations. Work on identified learning gaps is needed to ensure future success of the student.
 
 
1
Working below
Student learning and work show:
Below Appropriate Achievement
The student has a limited understanding of the outcomes addressed to date and rarely applies learning. Significant improvement in specific areas is needed for the student to be successful in the next grade/course.