Growing Success

Triangulation of Assessment

By: Catherine, A, Iyanuoluwa, A & Joanne, L

Defining Goals: Why is this policy document needed?

The growing success document was created by the Ontario Ministry of Education as a way of upholding high standards in assessments, as well as improving student learning for students in grades K-12. “Beginning in September 2010, assessment, evaluation, and reporting in Ontario schools will be based on the policies and practices described in this document” (Growing Success, 2010). “The Ontario government is committed to enabling all students to reach their potential, and to succeed. Our challenge is that every student is unique and each must have opportunities to achieve success according to his or her own interests, abilities, and goals” (Growing Success, 2010). This policy document has been implemented in schools all across Ontario in the hopes of attaining authentic assessment in education.


“Assessment is the process of gathering information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject or course. The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning”...Teachers will obtain assessment information through a variety of means, which may include formal and informal observations, discussions, learning conversations, questioning, conferences, homework, tasks done in groups, demonstrations, projects, portfolios, developmental continua, performances, peer and self-assessments, self-reflections, essays, and tests” (Growing Success, 2010). However, the effective application of this policy hinges on the judgement of educators at all levels; with a seeming disconnect between different educators at the different levels, as well as expectation for educator performance at the different levels.
From the Teacher-Directed to the Student-Centered classroom.

What was the catalyst for action? Is there historical significance?

Education and it's implementation has evolved over time, as the assessment and use of assessment of students have as well.

“Authentic assessments requires students to be effective performers with acquired knowledge. Traditional tests tend to reveal only whether the student can recognize, recall or "plug in" what was learned out of context. This may be as problematic as inferring driving or teaching ability from written tests alone” (Wiggins, 1990).

“The Ministry of Education’s assessment, evaluation, and reporting policy has evolved significantly over the course of the last decade. Previously, aspects of the policy appeared in a number of documents and were not fully aligned across the elementary and secondary panels. In addition, stakeholders often expressed concerns about unevenness in the way the policies were being implemented among boards and schools”(Growing Success, 2010).

“The document is intended to ensure that policy is clear, consistent, and well aligned across panels and across school boards and schools, and that every student in the system benefits from the same high-quality process for assessing, evaluating, and reporting achievement” (Growing success, 2010).

What is the triangulation of assessment?

As outlined in the Growing Success document policy, authentic assessment is attained by utilizing assessment for, as, and of learning.

Assessment for learning: What do the students already know (prior knowledge)? What do the students need to know (helps the educator better plan their lessons)? - Knowledge

"Assessment for learning practices gives students an opportunity to reflect on their work and make decisions about what and how to improve. Although these practices are guided by the teacher, they give the student an active role in the assessment and learning process. Assessment for learning practices are driven by the principle that “standards will be raised by improving student learning rather than by better measurement of limited learning” (Gibbs & Simpson, 2004–05, p. 3; as cited by Rosemartin, 2013).

Assessment as learning: What are the students observing, absorbing, and utilizing? - Knowledge & Understanding

"Engage students in the assessment process. Although it may seem that assessment is an inherently student-centered process, Serafini (2000/2001) argued that “assessment has been something we do ‘to’ students rather than ‘with’ students". If we acknowledge that “assessment must serve students”, then we must also begin to actively involve children in the assessment processes that typically occur in classrooms. Working with students to determine their self-perceived strengths and needs engages students in the assessment process while offering teachers new insights on children’s thinking and growth" (Edwards, Turner & Mohktari, 2008).

Assessment of learning: What do the students now know (after lessons), and how do they apply it with their understanding? - Application.

"By providing students with criteria models of excellence, teachers are often rewarded with higher quality products and performances. In addition, they are helping students become more self-directed students able to distinguish between poor- and high-quality performance are more likely to be able to evaluate and improve their own work, guided by a clear conception of excellence" (McTighe, 1997).

Effective Feedback and Formative Assessment

Who are the Stakeholders and what are their interests?

Teachers, students, parents & Government are the stakeholders in the creation and implementation of policies and procedures that affect education.

"We know that parents have an important role to play in supporting student learning. Studies show that students perform better in school if their parents or guardians are involved in their education... Students and parents need to know that evaluations are based on evidence of student learning and that there is consistency in the way grades are assigned across schools and boards throughout the province. With this knowledge, students can have confidence in the information they use to make decisions about secondary pathways and post-secondary opportunities” (Growing Success, 2010).

Educators must be able to work with parents within communities to build up trust and to earn the confidence of parents and students so as to ensure the continual growth in accessible and authentic education for all. The government utilizes these policies and procedures for assessment, evaluation, and reporting to develop better policies and procedures over time, as more is learned about how students learn. Assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of learning is encouraged to be utilized in order to achieve this goal. “Teachers have a leading role to play in the implementation of the seven fundamental principles. On a daily and hourly basis, teachers make professional judgement that ensure effective implementation of these principles, making decisions with respect to individual students and groups of students that have profound implications for them.” (Growing Success, 2010).

A Brief History of Assessment.mp4

What agency/organization implemented this policy and why?

The Ontario Ministry of Education in conjunction with the 'Joint Advisory Committee, as well as the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation, at the University of Alberta created this assessment policy focused on Ontario Schools from K-12.

It was implemented to maintain consistency and to create a baseline. “The policy is based on seven fundamental principles, the first of which tells us that assessment, evaluation, and reporting practices and procedures must be fair, transparent, and equitable for all students...The policy outlined in this document is designed to move us closer to fairness, transparency, and equity, as well as consistent practice” (Growing Success, 2010). The purpose of the policy is to enhance student success, and encourage student achievement as educators adhere to a consistent methodology (which can be tailored to each individual style) across all grades.
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What has been changed in the policy to reflect interests and goals?

“The present document updates, clarifies, coordinates, and consolidates the various aspects of the policy, with the aim of maintaining high standards, improving student learning, and benefiting students, parents, and teachers in elementary and secondary schools across the province. The document is intended to ensure that policy is clear, consistent, and well aligned across panels and across school boards and schools, and that every student in the system benefits from the same high-quality process for assessing, evaluating, and reporting achievement ” (Growing Success, 2010). Using the seven fundamental principles, this policy is to build up the students and parents with the guidance of the teachers utilizing effective and authentic assessment.

How is the policy achieving its goals?

It has created an even playing field for assessment. It's goal is to ensure that assessment, evaluation, and reporting are valid and reliable, and that they lead to the improvement of learning for all students is being encouraged across all boards, at all levels of K-12 education in Ontario.

According to page 9 of the Growing Success policy (2010), achievement of the goal is attained through “Fair, Transparent, Equitable; Support for all students; Carefully planned; Clearly communicated; On-going and varied opportunities for all learners and constructive feedback are employed; Promote self-assessment.”

It allows every students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways as informed by their learning styles regardless of their social or ethnic background. The policy is also achieving its goal in that it creates room for the students to be able to articulate their learning and use the constructive feedback of their peers and teachers to improve their learning. The policy challenges teachers to implement differentiated instruction, products, and assessment based on the need of the learners and what the learners are required to know. It is equitable in the sense that it’s not one cap fits all, and it does not mainly focus on pen and paper.

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What is the current impact of this policy?

Within the York Region District School Board, this policy is having a tremendous impact in the way students are made aware of what they will be assessed on, the variety of options they have to show their understanding and learning, as well as how they can communicate what they have learned. As educators within this board, there is an observance of confidence in students that they will be treated equitably, and that they have a choice in how to show their work, and also in how they are able to demonstrate understanding of the contents learned; with the understanding that there is not only one way to share their learning. Students are aware that their assessment is based on clear success criteria and expectations. Students were able to set achievable learning goals, self assess themselves, use the clear success criteria, and the constructive feedback given by their peers and or teachers to improve learning.

Ideas that influence this policy (as taken from the Growing Success document) include the understanding that:

"Inclusive education is central to the achievement of high-quality education for all learners and the development of more inclusive societies. Inclusion is still thought of in some countries as an approach to serving children with disabilities within general educational settings. Internationally, however, it is increasingly seen more broadly as a reform that supports and welcomes diversity amongst all learners (UNESCO, p. 5)".

"Fairness in assessment and evaluation is grounded in the belief that all students should be able to demonstrate their learning regardless of their socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, learning style, and/or need for special services (Volante, p. 34)".

"Education directly influences students’ life chances – and life outcomes. Today’s global, knowledge-based economy makes the ongoing work in our schools critical to our students’ success in life and to Ontario’s economic future. As an agent of change and social cohesion, our education system supports and reflects the democratic values of fairness, equity, and respect for all. The schools we create today will shape the society that we and our children share tomorrow (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2009, p. 6)"

What changes would you make to the policy to make it more effective? Is it Authentic?

Most students’ work are still teacher directed, hence students don’t really have any choice about what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. The only choice available is how to show what they have learned. There is still letter and or number grades assigned to students work. The assignment of letter and or number grades is still detrimental to students ultimate success in that those letter and or number grades are very subjective. They are not objective and don’t really show the real value of students learning because there are so many factors at work in each learner’s learning situations.

According to Growing Success (2010, p. 28; Sutton, p.2) “it is worth noting, right from the start, that assessment is a human process, conducted by and with human beings, and subject inevitably to the the frailties of human judgement. However crisp and objective we might try to make it, and however neatly quantifiable may be our “results”, assessment is closer to an art than a science. It is, after all, an exercise in human communication.” This quote is of the opinion that it’s challenging to make assessment authentic considering all human influences and factors that play a role in providing assessment. I will consider the fact that a lot of research and works need to be done to facilitate and bring about authentic assessment for learners without objectives set by the government, but with a more subjective approach giving emphasis to the varying unique methods of student learning and communication.

There is nothing to show that there is effective monitoring that is indicative of educators' use of this method of assessment. There is no plausible evidence to show how it is being executed within classrooms or within schools, and no there is no avenue of knowing or an indication of how it is being used and the effectiveness/inclusivity of its use.. The Board gave the directive for the implementation of this policy, educators across Ontario are expected to utilize this policy as a guideline in teaching as they adhere to the curriculum, but how do we know whether every educator (K-12) in Ontario is using it or not? Where is the accountability and who is the monitoring body?

However, in all this, this policy has changed the methods and methodology many educators use in assessing their students, as well as in planning their lessons. This policy has enabled educators to lean more towards a 'student-centred' approach to education, instead of a 'teacher-directed' approach. With the use of the 'triangulation of assessment', students are being encouraged to take charge of their learning, work collaboratively with teachers and peers to navigate and determine the course of their own education, but ultimately, learn and communicate their learning in diverse ways which cater to the different learning styles and different expression styles each individual students possess. Though there are still deficiencies with the implementation and overall application of this policy, this policy is a step in the right direction in how education should be directed to foster student growth, understanding, and achievement.

"Policies and procedures for assessment, evaluation, and reporting need to develop over time, as we learn more about how students learn. The policies outlined in this document reflect the current state of our evolving knowledge about the learning experience. New approaches to assessment provide both opportunities and challenges to all educators, for the benefit of all students" (Growing Success, 2010).

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Edwards, P.A, Turner, J.D & Mokhtari, K. (2008). Balancing the assessment of learning and for learning in support of student literacy achievement.The Reading Teacher, 61(8), 682-84. Retrieved from

McTighe, J. (1997). What happens between assessments? Educational Leadership, 54, 6-13. Retrieved from

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2010). Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools. First Edition, Covering Grade 1 to 12. Retrieved from

Rosemartin, D. (2013). Assessment for learning: Shifting our focus. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 49(1), 21-25. Retrieved from

Wiggins, G. (1990). The Case for Authentic Assessment. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from