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Monday, 25 August 2014

Preparing for the New School Year - #5

Evaluation and Reporting

Evaluation and reporting – assessment oflearning – requires that teachers’ professional judgment is informed and clearly communicated. Developing our informed professional judgment is a key professional undertaking. And, taking a fresh look at our grading and reporting practices prior to beginning a new school year can set us AND our students up for success.


As teachers learn more about summative assessment, it is important to engage in processes to deliberately inform professional judgment since professional judgment is a key aspect of summative assessment.

Teachers are working thoughtfully to make sense of grading and reporting structures in order to better reflect what students know, do, and say in light of changing learning priorities. They are rethinking assessment of learning to better communicate their informed professional judgment about what students have learned. There was a powerful research study done by the Assessment Reform Group called The Role of Teachers in the Assessment of Learning (2007). You can download a copy here.

It found that teachers’ professional judgment is more reliable and valid when teachers engage in looking at student work, co-construct criteria about quality, score the work, and check for inter-rater reliability. This is the kind of work that can help teachers improve their professional judgment regarding the learning and achievement that has occurred.

To deliberately inform professional judgment, educators: 
  • Agree to work with colleagues over time to come to agreement about quality.
  • Collect student work samples related to key aspects of learning (could be product or application).
  • Examine those samples in terms of expected quality levels.
  • Work together to co-construct criteria for quality. This may be in the form of a development continuum or progression.
  • Practice using the criteria to look at student work and giving specific, descriptive feedback.
This process informs professional judgment. It is very powerful professional learning. 

Professional judgment is a key part of the evaluation process.

Four Actions for Teachers:

1.     Read more about the process of coming to understand quality and informing our professional judgment in Chapter 4 of Making Classroom Assessment Work. Or, read more about this important topic in Chapter 3 of A Fresh Look at Grading and Reporting in High Schools.

2.     Read Chapter 10 of Making Classroom Assessment Work. Notice the different ways teachers work within their current rules and regulations regarding reporting and yet still exert their professional judgment regarding student learning and achievement. Do the end-of-chapter tasks on page 104.

3.     View a Secondary Q&A with a group of high school teachers regarding giving percentage grades and letter grades. 

4.      Revisit an earlier blog about moving From Reporting to Informing. There is a link to a great video that might be useful as you plan for the new year.

Three Actions for Leaders:

    1. Read Chapter 12 in Transforming Schools and Systems Using Assessment. It is titled Standards-based Grading and Reporting.
    2. Read our blog about Zeros, No Zeros and the Dangers of Dichotomies.
    3. Join an online learning opportunity about this topic. We suggest this one focused on using samples in support of learning.
         As we close this series and approach the new school year, we wish the best for all those who work so hard on behalf of children and their future. In particular, our thoughts are with our colleagues in British Columbia.

    All our best,

    Anne and Sandra

         PS If you need any assistance, please call our office and speak with our helpful staff. They will connect you to the resources and support that will best suit your learning needs.  

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