ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION OF STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning. Information gathered through assessment and evaluations helps teachers to identify students’ difficulties as well as to detect weaknesses in programs. Assessment and evaluations are important tools for adapting curriculum and instructional approaches to students’ needs and for determining the overall effectiveness of programs and classroom practices. Assessment is the process of gathering information from a variety of sources (including assignments, projects, and a midterm) that accurately reflect how well students are achieving the curriculum expectations. As part of assessment, teachers provide students with descriptive feedback that guides their effort towards improvement.

Please note that the breakdown of the final mark of any course will be as follows: 70% of the grade is based on evaluations conducted throughout the course, with special consideration being given to more recent and more consistent evidence of achievement, and 30% of the grade is based on a final evaluation, in a form suitable to the course content. See below for a full mark breakdown.

Assessment and evaluation strategies are based on the provincial curriculum expectations and on the achievement level descriptions and categories in the achievement chart. Assessment and evaluation strategies are varied in nature, administered over a period of time and designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning. In addition, teachers will use both their professional judgment and student observations in evaluating specific criteria and achievement.

Torah High has an intricate system of assessment, evaluation, and reporting, which ensures that students have an accurate reflection of what is expected of them academically throughout the year.

Information gathered through an assessment helps teachers determine students’ strengths and weaknesses as well as their overall understanding of course material. In addition, an assessment helps educators adjust their teaching methods in order to insure the maximum amount of effective learning for each student.

An assessment is the process of gathering information from a variety of products, observations and conversations that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a course.

As part of an assessment, teachers provide students with descriptive feedback that guides their efforts towards improvement. Evaluation refers to the process of judging the quality of student work on the basis of established criteria, and assigning a value to represent that quality. In Ontario secondary schools, the value assigned is in the form of a percentage grade.

In order to ensure that assessment and evaluation are valid and reliable, and that they lead to the improvement of student learning, teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies which:

  • address both what students learn and how well they learn;
  • are based both on the categories of knowledge and skills and on the achievement chart descriptions given in Ministry
  • are varied in nature, administered over a period of time, and designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
  • are appropriate for the learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of the students;
  • are fair and transparent to all students;
  • ensure that each student is given clear directions for improvement;
  • promote students’ ability to assess their own learning and to set specific goals;
  • are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the course and at other appropriate points throughout the course

 

Student’s marks are calculated using the following breakdown:

 

Percentage of Final Mark

 

Categories of Mark Breakdown

70% Evaluations throughout the term based on performance in products, observations, conversations, experiential education
30%  Final Written Examination: 15%

Final Project: 15%

 

The balance of the weighting of the categories of the achievement chart throughout the course is:

Knowledge:          25%                                              Communication: 25%

Thinking/Inquiry: 25%                                              Application:        25%

 

Breakdown of Course Evaluation:

  Term 1 Term 2 Cumulative
Mini Responses/Assignments Written Responses

Oral Presentations/Debates Observation/Conversations Experiential Education

Tests

 

 

 

30% 40%  
Final Exam     15%
Final Independent Study Project     15%
TOTAL 30% 40% 30%

 

The Achievement Chart

The Ontario curriculum for Grades 1 to 12 comprises content standards and performance standards. Assessment and evaluation will be based on both the content standards and the performance standards. The content standards are the curriculum expectations identified for every subject and discipline. They describe the knowledge and skills students are expected to develop and demonstrate in their class work, on tests, and in various other activities on which their achievement is assessed and evaluated.

There are two sets of curriculum expectations – overall expectations and specific expectations. The overall expectations describe in general terms the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of each grade or course. The specific expectations describe the expected knowledge and skills in greater detail. Taken together, the overall and specific expectations represent the mandated curriculum – the content standards.

The performance standards are outlined in the achievement chart that appears in the elementary and secondary curriculum document for every subject or discipline. The achievement chart for each subject/discipline is a standard province-wide guide and is to be used by all teachers as a framework within which to assess and evaluate student achievement of the expectations in the particular subject or discipline. It enables teachers to make consistent judgements about the quality of student learning based on clear performance standards and on a body of evidence collected over time. It also provides teachers with a foundation for developing clear and specific feedback for students and parents.

Evaluation/Assessment of Learning

Evaluation refers to the process of judging the quality of student learning on the basis of established performance standards and assigning a value to represent that quality. Evaluation accurately summarizes and communicates to parents, other teachers, employers, institutions of further education, and students themselves what students know and can do with respect to the overall curriculum expectations. Evaluation is based on assessment of learning that provides evidence of student achievement at strategic times throughout the grade/course, often at the end of a period of learning.

All curriculum expectations must be accounted for in instruction and assessment, but evaluation focuses on students’ achievement of the overall expectations. A student’s achievement of the overall expectations is evaluated on the basis of his or her achievement of related specific expectations. The overall expectations are broad in nature, and the specific expectations define the particular content or scope of the knowledge and skills referred to in the overall expectations. Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine which specific expectations should be used to evaluate achievement of the overall expectations, and which ones will be accounted for in instruction and assessment but not necessarily evaluated.

Teachers use a variety of assessment strategies to elicit information about student learning. These strategies are triangulated and include observations, student-teacher conversations, and student products.

Teachers gather information about learning by:

  • designing tasks that provide students with a variety of ways to demonstrate their learning; • observing students as they perform tasks;
  • posing questions to help students make their thinking explicit;
  • engineering classroom and small-group conversations that encourage students to articulate what they are thinking and further develop their thinking.

Teachers then use the information gathered to adjust instruction and provide feedback. (Growing Success, 2010)

Determining a Report Card Grade

Teachers will take various considerations into account before making a decision about the grade to be entered on the report card. The teacher will consider all evidence collected through Triangulated Assessment strategies which include: observations, conversations, and student products (tests/exams, assignments for evaluation). The teacher will consider the evidence for all the tests/exams and assignments for evaluation that the student has completed or submitted, the number of tests/exams or assignments for evaluation that were not completed or submitted, and the evidence of achievement that is available for each overall expectation for a subject in a particular grade or course. In addition, the teacher will consider that some evidence carries greater weight than other evidence; for example, some performance tasks are richer and reveal more about students’ skills and knowledge than others.

Learning Skills and Work Habits

The development of learning skills and work habits is an integral part of student learning. Assessing, evaluating, and reporting on the achievement of curriculum expectations and on the demonstration of learning skills and work habits separately allows teachers to provide information to the parents and student that is specific to each of the two areas of achievement.

The learning skills and work habits are evaluated and reported as follows:

E – Excellent, G – Good, S – Satisfactory, N – Needs Improvement

 

Learning Skills and Work Habits Sample Behaviours
Responsibility The student:

• fulfils responsibilities and commitments within the learning environment;

• completes and submits class work, homework, and assignments according to agreed-upon timelines;

• takes responsibility for and manages own behaviour.

Organization The student:

• devises and follows a plan and process for completing work and tasks;

• establishes priorities and manages time to complete tasks and achieve goals; • identifies, gathers, evaluates, and uses information, technology, and resources to complete tasks.

Independent Work The student:

• independently monitors, assesses, and revises plans to complete tasks and meet goals;

• uses class time appropriately to complete tasks; • follows instructions with minimal supervision.

Collaboration The student:

• accepts various roles and an equitable share of work in a group;

• responds positively to the ideas, opinions, values, and traditions of others;

• builds healthy peer-to-peer relationships through personal and media-assisted interactions;

• works with others to resolve conflicts and build consensus to achieve group goals;

• shares information, resources, and expertise and promotes critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions.

Initiative The student:

• looks for and acts on new ideas and opportunities for learning;

• demonstrates the capacity for innovation and a willingness to take risks; • demonstrates curiosity and interest in learning;

• approaches new tasks with a positive attitude;

• recognizes and advocates appropriately for the rights of self and others.

Self-regulation The student:

• sets own individual goals and monitors progress towards achieving them; • seeks clarification or assistance when needed;

• assesses and reflects critically on own strengths, needs, and interests;

• identifies learning opportunities, choices, and strategies to meet personal needs and achieve goals;

• perseveres and makes an effort when responding to challenges.

 

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