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Communicating Student Learning

First and foremost, staff at Nightingale understand that everyone is part of a learning community (parents, staff, and students).  Learning isn’t about age, race or gender.  Rather, it’s about the individual.  We exist to meet learner needs.  To assume that we can do the same with everyone in a grade level, or learning community, assumes that everyone has had the exact same experiences and is at the same level.  This is obviously not so.

In recent years, the District and Ministry of Education has stated the importance of schools emphasizing skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, and personal and social development which students need to develop to thrive as individuals in today’s world. Also referred to as the core competencies, these skills, along with literacy and numeracy foundations and essential content and concepts are at the centre of BC’s curriculum and assessment. 

All BC schools are focusing on the core competencies, on instilling a growth mindset in our learners (the belief that intellect and talent can be developed through effort, hard work and a love of learning) and using a strengths-based reporting language.  Rather than using the traditional five-point rating scale (not yet meeting, minimally meeting, meeting, fully meeting and exceeding), we use language that highlights the level of effort and independence displayed by the learner (beginning, developing, applying and extending) and more importantly, provide ongoing descriptive feedback. Descriptive feedback guides learners to improving outcomes by developing next steps in their learning journey. 

Numerous educational researchers such as Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam show that descriptive feedback, not letter grades, raise student achievement and that letter grades and test scores are not an indication of later success in life. Well known American education author and lecturer, Alfie Kohn, suggests the following:

1.     grades tend to diminish students’ interest in whatever they are learning

2.     grades create a preference for the easiest possible task

3.     grades tend to reduce the quality of student’s thinking

Reporting Schedule

Parents will get a minimum of five communications throughout the school year:

Two formal written reports:

  • A mid-year progress report will be sent home to families by the end of January
    • It will indicate where the child is in relation to the age/grade expectations using written comments and a proficiency scale
    • It will include a summary of the progress toward the goals in the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), where applicable
  • A summative report will be sent home to families by the end of June
    • It will indicate where the child is in relation to the age/grade expectations using written comments, a proficiency scale, and the student’s self-assessment of the Core Competencies (Communication, Thinking, and Personal and Social)
    • It will include a summary of the progress toward the goals in the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), where applicable 
    • minimum of three ongoing communications with families (timing at the teacher’s decision):
  • These ongoing communications will happen in different ways. They may be a three-way (student, parent, teacher) conference, an electronic portfolio review, a parent/teacher meeting, reflections on student work, an online platform, a telephone conversation, interim written reports, or demonstrations of learning.

Report Card Format

Report cards will include:        

  • Descriptive written comments addressing:
    • student learning strengths
    • areas for growth
    • ways to support learning
  • A student proficiency scale for each subject area (in relation to grade level expectations):
    • BEGINNING to acquire knowledge, skills, strategies and processes
    • DEVELOPING the ability to apply knowledge, skills, strategies and processes
    • APPLYING knowledge, skills, strategies and processes consistently
    • EXTENDING knowledge, skills, strategies and processes creatively and strategically.

At Nightingale, as a way of providing feedback, teachers help students showcase their learning in a variety of ways throughout the year. For more information about ongoing learning and assessment, please talk to your child's teacher.

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