The go-to destination for support with assessment tools and reporting is Horizon Staff University. Check it out for mini-lessons on countless aspects of both Students Achieve and FreshGrade. The "Assessment Resources" section contains interactive rubrics, long range planning templates and more. This is custom made to bridge the Alberta curriculum with our division reporting structures.
Key messages related to assessment practice in Horizon include:
- Curriculum drives assessment and both shape the best instructional strategies to be selected. Effective planning links curriculum, assessment and instruction.
- All three modes of assessment data are vital to triangulating evidence of what students know and can do: products, observations, and conversations.
- Wherever possible, it is valid to provide students with more than one way to demonstrate evidence of what they have learned.
In 2016-17, Horizon implemented a district-wide report card for all elementary schools. It is also being launched as a pilot at participating junior high/middle schools. All but WR Myers, Vauxhall High School, and our three outreach schools - Taber Mennonite, Horizon MAP, and ACE Place - participated.
"Students Achieve" is the outcomes-based gradebook program which will feed into our customized elementary and junior high/middle school report cards. The report cards were developed through our assessment committees and more broad teacher consultation.
FreshGrade is an online portfolio to help curate evidence of student learning in multiple forms: text, picture, audio or video recording. Assessment evidence can be linked directly to Alberta's Programs of Study which are built into the software. Students can contribute directly to their own portfolio and it's also possible for parents to subscribe to their child's portfolio so it can help illustrate the learning occurring in the classroom. FreshGrade is integrated with PowerSchool so that teachers can import whole class lists rather than have to input individual student data.
In 2015-16 we had three working groups comprised of Horizon teachers, examining our reporting practice and sample report cards from other schools and school districts. These groups worked through this school year exploring best practice in assessment, evaluation and reporting. The work included reviewing a wide variety of Alberta report cards as well as those developed by a number of Horizon schools. Lengthy discussion occurred about the methods of assessment as well as how to best share information with parents and students about how they have responded to the outcomes prescribed in Alberta Education's Programs of Study.
- Kindergarten Report Card Working Group
- Secondary Report Card Working Group
- Elementary Report Card Working Group
- Recommendation for division-wide templates for kindergarten, elementary and junior high report cards
- Students Achieve is the software of choice for the elementary and junior high report cards, with the ability to use it for a gradebook too.
- "FreshGrade" online portfolio is in an official pilot year for 2016-17 to help curate evidence of student learning in multiple forms. Teachers individually joined the pilot in May 2016.
- Students Achieve is mandatory for elementary and optional for implementation in junior high.
- Communication plan for parents and implementation plan for teachers are under development
On May 19, 2015, the Board of Trustees approved significant amendments to Policy HK: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting. This policy was revised through discussion and feedback from elementary and secondary teachers, as well as all principals.
Educational Leadership- Ken O'Connor and Rick Wormeli discuss the rational for changing grading practices and indicate 4 primary characteristics of effective grading.
Formative Assessment in Seven Good Moves is an Educational Leadership Article that identifies seven basic moves that are essential to rich formative assessment practice (Duckor, Honda, Pink, Wilmont, & Wilson, 2012)
Seven Practices for Effective Learning by Jay McTighe and Ken O'Connor explain how teachers in all content areas can use these seven assessment and grading practices to enhance learning and teaching.