Policy Analysis Assignment

York Region District School Board's Policy #305.0

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Defining Goals

The York District School Board believes that Assessment, Evaluation and Communication of Student Learning and Achievement are “integral components of the teaching and learning process and form the basis of an effective educational program” (York Region District School Board, 2012)

Equity, Inclusivity and respect are the three things that outline how assessment, evaluation and communication need to be conducted within the board.The policy ensures that board members comply with the Growing Success Document :Ministry’s Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools, First Edition, Grades 1 to 12, 2010 policy document.

The policy’s purpose is to ensure that students are being provided with timely feedback, information and details that would help each individual learner meet their strengths, needs and interests. It understands the need for ongoing communication with home and school are necessary measures needed to support each learner.

Policy's Purpose

To ensure proper implementation of assessment, evaluation and communication, the board requires the policy stakeholders to follow the seven fundamental principles outlined by the Growing Success Document:

1. are fair, transparent, and equitable for each student;

2. support each student, including those with special education needs, English language learners, and those who are First Nations, Metis, or Inuit;

3. are carefully planned to relate to the curriculum expectations and learning goals and, as much as possible, to the interests, learning styles and preferences, needs, and experiences of each student;

4. are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the school year or course and at other appropriate points throughout the school year or course;

5. are ongoing, varied in nature, and administered over a period of time to provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;

6. provide ongoing descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful and timely to support improved learning and achievement; and

7. develop students’ self-assessment skills to enable them to assess their own learning, set specific goals, and plan next steps for their learning (Growing Success, 2010)

What were the event(s) that was a catalyst for action? Is there historical significance?

This policy was implemented after the introduction of the Ministry’s Growing Success Policy in 2010. The Growing Success Policy set forth to align assessment, evaluation and reporting across boards and schools within the elementary and secondary panels all across Ontario. Its intention is to ensure that every learner within the Ontario school system “benefits from the same high-quality process for assessing, evaluating, and reporting achievement” (Growing Success, 2010). Policy #305.0 is York Region District School Board’s own mandate on ensuring the Growing Success policy is followed. Before this current version there was another Assessment, Evaluation and Communication policy which was approved in 2001 and revised in 2002. The final version of this policy was revised in 2012.

Establishing Goals

The Board has done a thorough job describing the stakeholders and each of their responsibilities. They made sure not to leave any potential members behind as all interests were taken into consideration. The following chart on the right depicts the stakeholders and each of their responsibilities.

Implementing Policy

York Region District School Board implemented Policy #305.0 in order to ensure that the Ministry of Ontario’s Growing Success Policy was enforced and followed by its members.

Evaluating the Policy

The Assessment, Evaluation and Communication of Student Learning and Achievement Policy is achieving its goals by ensuring that its stakeholders follow through and adhere to their responsibilities as outlined in Policy #305.0. As a recent hire to the school board, I noticed that many of the interview questions revolve around this Assessment Policy. The school board is expecting answers that show teacher candidates understand and implement the appropriate assessment measures set forth in the Growing Success Policy in order to provide the best possible instructional practices for their learners.

Another way this policy is achieving its goals is by ensuring teachers go through their performance evaluations which includes a section dedicated to how assessment, evaluation and communication is carried through in the classroom. During my own LTO evaluation, I had to demonstrate to the principal that I was carefully planning my units in accordance to the curriculum, taking into account the individual needs of each student (being equitable and differentiating), that I gave my students multiple ways to show their learning and that I had open lines of communication with parents. I also had to show that I provided timely and descriptive feedback to my students, and that I used a variety of assessment practices (for, as and of) to effectively evaluate my students and help them become life-long learners.

I believe that the current impact of this policy is to help inform instructional decisions, promote student engagement and improve student learning achievement.

What Changes Would you Make to the Policy to Make it More Effective? Is it Authentic?

One change to the policy I believe would make it more effective is to include a clause ensuring assessment and evaluations being conducted are meaningful and authentic. The policy mentions keywords like “varied”, and “carefully planned”, but these do not ensure stakeholders are placing emphasis on assessments and evaluations that demonstrate how students apply their knowledge in various situations that truly reflect their understanding and that are more reflective of real-world tasks they will encounter in the future.