Policy Analysis

Bluewater District School Board

Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Policy

Click this link to view the policy: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Policy, BP 6951 -D


Note: This policy works in conjunction with the administrative procedure document, which is labeled as Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Procedure, AP 6951 –D. The procedure is a more detailed plan of how the policy is actively used within the schools of Bluewater.

Strategic Plan

Vision: Preparing Our Students Today for the World of Tomorrow


Mission: We are a learning organization committed to providing a quality educational experience for every student in a safe and caring environment.


Priorities:

1. Ensure the well-being of students and staff in a safe supportive environment for teaching, learning and working

2. Provide quality instruction and learning experiences in an equitable and inclusive environment

3. Encourage parent engagement

4. Be accountable for the responsible stewardship of resources (added in June 2014)


Character Development - this document is another portion of what the Bluewater Board supports as effective outcomes for students based on research.


Bluewater Directors Annual Report, 2014 - This is a detailed report of the most current strategic plan.

Why is the policy document needed?

Rationale

  • Supports the strategic plan priorities of the board
  • Emphasis on the need to improve and guide student learning
  • Commitment to fair assessment and give educators direction for student assessment and achievement
  • Gives a general concern and pledge to students about Assessment for, as and of Learning
  • Defines the Board of Trustees job duty and their decisions on how to keep track of student progress
  • Public access on the Bluewater website, thus parents/guardians of students can access the document for personal interest



*Please click the SoundCloud audio file for a more detailed description \/ \/ \/

JacquelineWilhelm

Recording1-Rationale by JacquelineWilhelm
Big image

At first glance…

  • The strategic plan and policy appears as an authentic learner-centered approach and proposes a humanistic viewpoint, in saying that students will individually achieve and improve


However…

  • The policy seems more focused on the Bluewater institution and the Ministry of Education
  • It is the actual documents that are within the policy that are beneficial for educators and students (i.e. Growing Success, 2010)
  • There is a distinction between a genuine learner-center approach and one that claims the approach while actually being a priority for the needs and functions of the institution (Bailey & Colley, 2015).

What were the main events that were a catalyst for action?

  • Growing Success (2010) document – specifically the 7 Fundamental Principals of assessment, evaluation and reporting (located inGrowing Success, p. 6), as well as pages 10, 43, & 152.

  1. All students can succeed
  2. Each student has his or her own unique patterns of learning;
  3. Successful instructional practices are founded on evidence-based research, tempered by experience;
  4. Universal design and differentiated instruction are effective and interconnected means of meeting the learning or productivity needs of any group of students;
  5. Classroom teachers are the key educators for a student’s literacy and numeracy development;
  6. Classroom teachers need the support of the larger community to create a learning environment that supports all students; and
  7. Fairness is not sameness.
Applying Wiggins and McTighe (1998) six facets to the assessment, evaluation and reporting policy can allow an authentic approach for educators and students:

  1. Explanation
  2. Interpretation
  3. Application
  4. Perspective
  5. Empathy
  6. Self-knowledge


With the policy in mind, if these six facets were co-constructed with the Board of Trustees areas of accountability for the students, it could allow a more authentic stance of acknowledging how students comprehend, interpret, explain, and learn. Also how they perceive, emphasize and come to know and use their knowledge.


Check out this chart for description and student examples on using Wiggins and McTighe (1998) six facets in the classroom!


*Please click the SoundCloud audio file for a more detailed description of applying the six facets \/ \/ \/

JacquelineWilhelm

Recording2-SixFacets by JacquelineWilhelm

Who are the stakeholders and what are their interests?


  1. Bluewater Board of Trustees – this is a team that consists of the nine elected persons and two First Nations appointed trustees. [Two major areas of accountability for this team are student achievement and wellbeing]
  2. The Bluewater District School Board institution – this ensures the entire school board has a common focus of assessment, evaluation and reporting for principals and teachers to implement into schools and classrooms
  3. The students – the policy is protecting their wellbeing, improvement and achievement at school
  4. Teachers - the documents within the policy have high value for their role as an educator, however there is a lot of preparation time needed to make proper and effective use of them
  5. Parents/Guardians - the policy is there to give them confidence and awareness of how the Bluewater District School Board is going to maintain and keep track of their child's progress and valuable use of time in school


Does not seem to justify an authentic interest…

  • Board of Trustees’ main goal is to look out for the students’, however they are not actively participating with the students in the classroom.
  • Therefore, how authentic can the practices and motives actually be?
  • The policy is very general and adapted mostly from this outline from Ministry of Education – which leaves it as a 'copy&paste' document and quite vague
  • Does this then assume a false advertisement of the accountability from the Board of Trustees?

Who is not involved in establishing this policy?

1. Teachers are not involved


  • Yet, the policy insists “what they should do”
  • Heavy load of demands and procedures in one academic school calendar from the Board of Trustees
  • If the effectiveness of the school, or institution and improving student learning is dependent upon the status of a ‘good teacher’ (Larsen, 2005) then there should be a wider range of quality teacher-concerns for the assessment, evaluation and reporting policy to be authentic for all parties involved

2. Principals are not involved


  • Yet, the policy provokes and forces them to ensure their educators are following Ministry expectations and the Bluewater policy guidelines for assessing students
  • Being observed and monitored by the members of the Board to follow and implement policies accordingly in their individual schools



Why…

Should educators in the Bluewater District School Board be responsible to follow such high requests from the Ministry of Education and Board of Trustees, if the policy is not created with respect to their individual well-being and the students in combination. Students need the best teachers to receive the best support to ensure they are going to achieve.


Maybe…

Policies should provide security for teachers first, in order to ensure students are being served security of the policy from their teachers.

Has the agency changed the policy (from earlier versions) to reflect its own interests and goals?

The Bluewater District School Board was opened in 1998 as a combination of two previous school boards; The Bruce County Board of Education and The Grey County Board of Education. This has an affect on all policies within the board as they have all been created and updated in the last decade.


*There is no evidence where the initial policy originated from.


Revision dates include:

  • June 17th, 2008
  • February 15, 2011 – Revision from the first draft in 2009 of the Learning for All (2013) document and the first issue of the Growing Success (2010) document.
  • February 21, 2012 (rev. Rationale-Strategic Plan)


Based on the revision dates of this specific policy, the Bluewater School Board revises this policy based on the government’s implementations and revisions of educational documents.

For example: the Growing Success (2010) document was issued by the Ministry of Education in 2010, and the next Bluewater revisions date following 2010 was February 15th, 2011. This current policy is largely influenced and adapted from Growing Success (2010) document.


How could it be made more authentic?

  • Find out what the students are actually saying about assessment
  • Hear out the teachers concerns, struggles, comments, time-restrictions
  • Member in Board of Trustees should go into schools first-hand to see how assessment, evaluation and reporting is being practiced and its effectiveness
  • Base the policies on a combination of evidence from the actual participants and research

How is the policy achieving it's goals?

Administration and System Leadership Team monitor student progress and school improvement by:


  • participating in school visits using the School Effectiveness Framework (p. 3 of the assessment, evaluation and reporting policy document)
  • reviewing the implementation and progress of the School Program Plan


Annual meetings and revisions are made to the policy as new documents. This ensures goals are being achieved and guided by the Bluewater Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan Priorities

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The School Effectiveness Framework is used by the Bluewater District School Board as Indicators of Effective Assessment and Evaluation Practice. Bluewater District School Board believes that assessment, evaluation and reporting practices are effective whenthey are based on research and include - Assessment for, as and of Learning


Are the goals actually able to be measured?


  • Good intentions, however it seems impossible to measure how the goals are being achieved?
  • Who and what would be measured to understand acheivement? Who and what is not being measured? How would this be monitored and not biased to suit policy results?
  • Difficult for the public (or outsiders) to locate the data - does this mean the results are private?

What changes could be made to make this policy more authentic?

  • Teachers’ voices need to be involved in the making of policies, whether small or big. Keeping the emphasis on the students, educators need to be spoken about with a higher degree of professionalism.

When there is performance criteria and target setting by the Ministry of Education, Bailey & Colley (2015) imply these documents take a portion of control over teachers and undermines their sense of professionalism. Thus, policies need to be careful of what they are targeting, how high the demand is and whom they are heavily relying on to carry out the duties (typically teachers), without being mindful and respectful to the profession. Do the educators understand the policy's expectations and are the documents relevant for their teaching practices?


  • Technology – assistive technology tools and amplification systems


These two research documents were on the Ministry of Education website and would be beneficial for teachers as well as board-level members to include in their assessment practices


  1. Assistive Technology Tools
  2. Amplification - FM systems

Final thought…

The policy of assessment, evaluation and reporting should act as nothing higher than a starting-point for educators and their students because it is unable to prove authentic measures of how effective it its demands are for every individual student and educator within the system.

References

Bailey, G. & and Colley, H. (2015). Learner-centredassessment policies in further education: putting teacherstime under pressure. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 67(2), 153168.


Larsen, M. A. (2005). A critical analysis of teacher evaluation policy trade. Australian Journal of Education, 49(3), 292-305.


Ontario Ministry of Education (2010). Growing success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools. First Edition Covering grades 1-12. Retrieved from https://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/growSuccess.pdf


Ontario Ministry of Education (2013). Learning for all: A guide to effective assessment and instruction for all students, kindergarten to grade 12. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/LearningforAll2013.pdf


Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 85-97.