Why is my K-9 child not getting letter grades?
The Ministry of Education and Child Care is implementing a new student reporting policy for K-12 students this year. As an Independent school, we have some discretion in how we implement this policy at Cedars. Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing information with parents/caregivers to help them understand how student learning will be communicated through this school year.
In this installment, we will address the following question: Why is my K-9 child not getting letter grades?
Letter grades, percentages, and scores are some of the first things that we look at (when present) to get feedback on our performance. These measures, however, do not always help us think about our learning and/or set targets for improved learning. Proficiency scales that indicate progress on specific learning targets have the potential to provide more information – but also focus attention on our learning vs. comparison with others’ overall performance assessment. Letter grades, percentages, and scores often indicate to students (and parents) that the learning journey is over; proficiency scales highlight specific areas where a student has opportunity to continue their learning journey.
Letter grades indicate excellent (A), good (B), or satisfactory (C) “progress with respect to learning standards”. Percentages attempt to indicate how excellent (86-100%), good (73-85%), or satisfactory (50-66%) student progress has been.
Like letter grades and percentages, proficiency scales indicate a range of performance (Emerging, Developing, Proficient, Extending) without a numerical quantifier. The focus is not on averaged assessment scores that then indicate a letter grade and level of performance; rather, the focus is on what assessment data is indicating about the student’s proficiency on specific areas of learning.
The following image provides an example of a proficiency scale for Grade 7 Social Studies developed by Dr. Jennifer Katz. Our teachers are developing their own proficiency scales in collaboration with colleagues and teaching professionals across our school and province.
Letter grades and percentages will continue to be used at this time for Grade 10-12, as post-secondary institutions continue to use these summative measures for entrance into specific programs. At Cedars, we will provide both traditional letter grades and percentages and proficiency scale data to represent student learning. Alignment of proficiency and traditional grades and percentages is not straightforward. Our staff is currently engaged in school-based discussions to determine a framework that can be used consistently across Grade 10-12.
What to learn more? Check out this Ministry article for more details about what you can expect to see on your child’s Learning Updates.
Note: Parent Orientation Night – MOVED to Wednesday, October 25 at 7:00pm.