Schools change report card format

A new report card format is being developed in West Boundary elementary schools - intended to be more informative and goal focussed.

Principal Brian Foy

“How do we make the report card richer?” asked Brian Foy, principal for the four West Boundary elementary schools at an after-school coffee table meeting with parents at Midway Elementary School earlier this month.

Developments in education such as personalized learning and individualized educational plans are taking education beyond where it has traditionally gone and as important as teaching is to what goes on at school, assessment is an equally important part of the experience.

The old curriculum more closely resembled a factory where each student was taught by rote and then asked to regurgitate the information on a test in a week or two. The result was an A, B, C, D or F. At the end of the term the teacher would add all of the scores up and send a report card home with one of the aforementioned letter grades.

Guiding the new report card format is the draft curriculum that is now being discussed for adoption across the province. The draft can be found online at www.curriculum.gov.bc.ca

It moves the focus from memorization to implanting ideas and concepts in each of the subjects being taught. These ideas and concepts are more easily accessible and understood by classroom teachers, students and parents.

“And that’s the magic, is how do we bring the three together on this individualized learning path,” explained Foy. Instead of learning and regurgitating facts, core competencies are created that focus on the particular skills a student needs to have in order to be a good learner, but more importantly, problem solving and critical thinking.

“Students will be successful if they have core competencies as strong, healthy communicators; creative and problem-solving and thinking skills, and personal and social skills,” he said.

The new report card format that the West Boundary elementary schools have been fine-tuning is intended to change the focus from the curriculum alone to more fully celebrate learning and the success of learning.

“To listen and regurgitate is only one aspect of a strong learner,” Foy said, “but it is about the only aspect currently celebrated.”

The new system strives to identify each student’s strengths and challenges.

For now the new report card format is being adopted solely in the four West Boundary elementary schools. Foy explained that every school principal and their staff choose a special focus and the new curriculum is the focus of the West Boundary elementary schools.

He said he’s looked at the experience of other districts, such as Maple Ridge. The primary grades have now gone three report card periods with the different report cards—each adapted a little bit from lessons learned.

Another significant change to the assessment process is the fact that the student is at the centre of the process. They first sit down one-on-one with their teacher and go through a checklist of skills and competencies specific to the course. Following that, the teacher alone will go through the same checklist.

It is hoped that the report card that goes home will act as a catalyst for discussion between the students and their parents. Foy says the process can bring life to that conversation. “The energy and focus is around what the student should know about themselves as a learner and how they can improve that. Then you as a parent have a great tool to get into a conversation with your child when they come home with their report card.”

Next the student, parent and teacher meet together in discussion. “This puts the focus in the right place,” explains Foy, “helping kids can set themselves up to do their best everyday. The magic is in the three parties coming together—talking about what went well, about the areas that are still a challenge and setting goals that everyone has a role in.”

He explained the participation of the student allows them to be part of the goal that is set, rather than being told what the goal is.

“If the child understands what they need to do and how to do it, the success of them actually being able to do it is four or five fold,” Foy said.

Foy said currently letter grades are still going home with the students; and he promised parents that if they are not comfortable with not having a letter grade, that practice could continue on an individual basis if parents so wish.

He said students will still have standards testing done in Grades 4, 7 and 10 and there will still be provincial exams in high school.

But he told the parents he sees the new report card format as a tool that creates more conversation and makes their child’s learning path more assessable to them as parents.

“It’s about relationships,” he said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Boundary non-profits now eligible for emergency funds

Local charities can apply to get grants from the $40,000 pot, managed by the Phoenix Foundation

Drive-in theatre proposed for Grand Forks

City councillors will vote next month on whether to permit the use of the private property

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Six homes ordered to evacuate early Tuesday morning in Grand Forks due to flooding

Two of the six were put on evacuation alert Monday evening

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

B.C.’s labour minister should look at pandemic’s financial carnage amid minimum wage increase

The timing couldn’t be worse for any government decision that drives up costs for business, writes Jock Finlayson

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read