Parents new to Chute Lake Elementary: Why do we Communicate Student Learning through Growth Based Language?
BC's "re-designed" curriculum has changed with the times, to a competency-driven, concept- based approach to learning. It's no longer a content-driven way of learning, but a model that emphasizes understanding, knowledge and skills. With this change of emphasis to deeper learning also comes a change in how we report on student learning. Our assessment practices need to make sense to students and be timely (in the moment). We know from current research that students learn best collaboratively, through engaging, relevant and meaningful tasks which may integrate subject matter and also happen in various environments. We continually assess students with feedback that helps them to improve and grow. We want students to engage in meaningful learning experiences, take ownership of their learning and be able to describe the process of how they best learn. In fact, we want students to be able to say:
• "I know what I am learning and why it is important."
• "I can self-reflect and articulate where I am in my learning."
• "I can select and provide evidence that best represents what I am in my learning."
• "I can give and receive feedback to understand how to take the next steps in my learning."
• "I know how I learn best and actively seek opportunities togrow."
Ultimately, we want parents also to be well informed about their child's progress. Our goal is to communicate with parents in an on-going fashion. Currently this is taking various forms as we evolve in our communication skills. Many of our teachers report to parents in an on-going way with "Fresh Grade and Google (e-portfolios)" and other staff members are using more of a paper portfolio method as they also transition to an electronic platform. Each portfolio is a purposeful collection of a child's work showcasing their learning and growth.
At Chute Lake we are in alignment with Ministry expectations and we have created a report card that uses strength-based language. We will be focusing on competencies, the learning standards and communicating student growth in an explicit manner throughout the year. The ways we will communicate learning:
• Student-led conferences
• Parent/teacher meetings
• Written interim reports
• Communication through student portfolios (written/electronic)
• Authentic samples and celebrations of student learning
Our Strengths-Based Rating Scale:
• Acquiring- student requires teacher direction and support to acquire skill
• Developing- student is learning to practice and apply skill with some teacher support
• Refining-Student is refining skills with increasing consistency and independence
• Mastering- student consistently and independently demonstrates competence in applying skills
• Extending- student takes ownership and self-initiates innovative use of skills
Descriptive feedback guides learners to improve outcomes by developing next steps in the learning journey. Just a note - our strength-based language does not equate to letter grades. Extending for instance is not equitable to an A and is expressive of a student who has gone well above and beyond in passionately learning about something of interest. All of us may have opportunities to "Master" various areas of learning, but we may "Extend" in a particular area far less frequently. "Extending" comes after you have fully mastered something and is the ladder to life-long learning.
When we extend in our learning we take ownership to seek further knowledge and create and/or apply it to something new. Extending is something we all work towards with a passion or interest; it is self-initiated, based in our continual growth and learning. This is a part of having a growth-mind set. We try to help students understand that even if they are strong achievers they may wish to go extremely deep in their learning to further an area of great interest or passion outside of regular classroom activities.
To truly be 21st century ready, the skill sets we need to instill in students are about creativity critical thinking, and developing a growth mindset.
Please view our video on the school website on our assessment practices if you would like to learn more.