The Ministry of Education recently revised assessment and evaluation practices for all Ontario schools. The revised practices – to be implemented this fall – are outlined in the document Growing Success, which can be found on the Ministry’s websitewww.edu.gov.on.ca.
Teachers view “assessment” as the process of gathering
information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the expectations of a particular subject or course. But assessment itself has three roles:
providing students with feedback about their work (known as assessment for learning)
helping students to set learning goals and monitor their own progress (known as assessment as learning)
evaluation and reporting of progress in the form of grades or marks (known as assessment of learning).
Both ‘assessment for and as learning’ provide students with day-to-day feedback on their work, and are far more valuable to the learning process than a final mark on a report card (an example of assessment of learning).
The purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning
In the past, most of the attention was paid to marks/grades on student work. Today, the shift in thinking has moved more toward the on-going descriptive feedback that teachers provide to students so that they clearly understand what they need to do to improve their work. While the final mark/grade is important, it is provided at the end of the learning cycle.
The Growing Success document embodies these newer ways to view assessment, and it is the responsibility of all teachers to re-focus their teaching and assessment practices to provide opportunities for students to set individual learning goals and to provide on-going descriptive feedback to improve their learning.