Evidence Records

Part 4 of 4 in a series of blog posts about Standards-Based Grading

No more MarkBook

We’ve arrived at the last piece in the A&E puzzle; the evidence record. This is where you will be recording the levels each student received for the various expectations on each test/task. MarkBook (a marks management software) no longer meets our needs as it will simply calculate an average based on the weighting of each test which would be set out ahead of time and remain the same for each student. An average is not necessarily the best representation of what a student knows in a course. Growing success describes how to determine a student’s final grade as such:

“Determining a report card grade will involve
teachers’ professional judgement
and interpretation of evidence
and should reflect the student’s most consistent
level of achievement,
with special consideration given to more recent evidence.”

Most consistent, more recent.

The idea being that if a student performs poorly at the beginning of a course, but puts in the work needed to catch up and learn the material, they should be assigned a mark that reflects their current ability and knowledge in the course at the end (despite the fact that they had a rough start). An average will negatively impact this student by always pulling their grade down due to the low marks early in the course.

For example, let’s look at the example below which looks at the marks that sky diving students received for packing parachutes:

All 3 students have the same average. But when asked “which student would you want to pack your parachute?” I believe we would all have the same answer. So clearly, an average does not always give us the most accurate picture of student achievement.

Evidence Record Template

Below is an example of an evidence record for a math course. This would be printed out as one page per student. It does mean a binder full of these sheets in order to track a student’s grade and progress. Some teachers are not keen on these being a paper-pencil tool. There are electronic versions of evidence records starting to be made; the OCDSB is piloting the online MaMa+ version this semester, and Bruce McLaurin over at Glebe C.I. has created some excel spreadsheets that self-populate the marks into evidence records for you. However, I have found that trying evidence records for the first time with pencil and paper gives you a much better feel for how they work & what they represent. I find that by handwriting a student’s achievement on to this paper record, I notice trends in the students’ marks much better than if I were relying on a program to create the evidence record from my class list of marks.

Math evidence record

Update (2014.12.04): This fall, OCDSB teachers have access to the MaMa (Marks Manager) software online which allows us to keep electronic evidence records.
Here are some screenshots of what it looks like.
Inputting test marks by class list:
MaMaMarkEntryMaMa then automatically populates each student’s evidence record with the marks from the test:MaMaEvidenceRecord

 How to use evidence records

Here’s a video clip explaining how to take the levels of achievement earned on the test and record that on your evidence record.
(skip to 2:50 for evidence records)

So a completed evidence record might look something like the following:

Evidence Record U

We can see, for example, the students quiz marks (code Q) and test marks (code T). Each code may appear in more than one row because a test can evaluate multiple expectations. The numbers attached to each code indicate the chronological order of the tests: T1=Test 1 and T2 = Test 2. The exam mark has been labeled with code E in the grey row above each strand. Notice the exam receives 3 separate marks; one for each strand of the course. The summative, code ST, has been recorded in its own row below the term work.

What final level of achievement would you assign to the student with the above evidence record?

Here’s a video clip of the type of discussion one has with colleagues as we learn to interpret these evidence records, and still later on when we collaborate with colleagues to interpret evidence that may be inconsistent and therefore difficult to assign a final grade. Not they are using a different evidence record in the video than the one I showed above:

This is the type of moderation I have teachers try when I offer workshops to my colleagues about this new A&E. I find it really useful to hear my colleagues interpret the evidence presented, and comforting to see how consistent we usually are in determining a final grade.

Levels VS Percents

Unfortunately, at this time, the Ministry of Education still requires us to convert each student’s final overall level of achievement into a percent for the report card. The OCDSB has provided the following “peg chart” in order to do so:PegChartOCDSB

It’s not ideal to be converting the levels back to percents in the old style, but it will do until the Ministry changes report cards to match the levels of achievement from their curriculum documents.

Here are a couple more completed evidence records to look at and practice determining an overall final grade. Note that MT is Makeup Test.

evidence record Z. . . . and another . . .

evidence record E

The more familiar we become with this template, the more conversations we have with our colleagues, the more comfortable we become with using our professional judgement in order to determine the student’s final grade. This professional judgement replaces our reliance on software that calculates averages for us that feel accurate, but that I don’t think are any more accurate than my own well-informed professional judgement (but that’s a conversation / debate for another blog post!).

The End! But it’s only the beginning . . . 

So here we are at the end of my blog series about the new A&E in the OCDSB. It’s really only the beginning; this process will evolve as we implement it in our classrooms. We’re learning how to best use these templates in order to inform not only our evaluation practices, but our instructional practices as well.

How are you feeling about the new A&E?

Start a conversation with your colleagues in your school or in your department.

Update (2014.12.04): Here is what the OCDSB published for parents this fall on the topic of their assessment & evaluation policy:
Parent Guide to Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting – Grades 9-12

I would love to hear your comments, questions, concerns . . . Leave a comment below or get in touch via Twitter!

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

Tests/Tasks & their Rubrics

Part 3 of 4 in a series of blog posts about Standards-Based Grading.

Making a test, task, or project

The first step is to decide which overall expectation(s) [OEs] you will be evaluating with the current task. You may evaluate more than one OE at a time. Then you’ll need to design a task or a set of test questions that allow your students to demonstrate their ability or knowledge for that skill or content. I find it helpful to organize my test so that all of the questions for a given OE are together (as opposed to grouping them by the categories – K/U, T, C, A – as we used to do). For example, in the grade 9 math test below, each page has questions for one of the 4 OEs being evaluated. Additionally, I have organized each page so that the simpler problems (more K/U  or level 1-2 type questions) are first, near the top of the page. The more complex problems (more Application or level 3-4 type questions) are at the bottom of the page.

mfm1P testa

mfm1P testb


PDF version of above Math test: Test 3 no answers

“Is it necessary to make a new, different rubric for each and every test or task?”

No, it is not. In fact, you could simply print out the achievement chart rubric from your curriculum document and attach that to your task or test.

achievement chart

However, I find that rubric too wordy (the students don’t bother reading it) and sometimes too vague for a specific project.

“Are we simply getting rid of the categories; K/U, T, C, A? Why include them in the assessment plan if we’re not using them to organize our tests?”

We are not getting rid of the categories. We will embed them into our test questions and tasks and often even use them to build our rubrics. For example,for the math test above, I used three of the categories from the achievement chart in order to build my rubric for the test. Notice also that I repeat the rubric 4 times; once for each of the OEs being evaluated on that test:

Math rubric

I check off the appropriate level for each of the 3 categories – which then allows me to determine an overall level for that OE. I do this 4 times; once for each OE (which also happens to be once for each page of the test since each page corresponds to a separate OE). At the end, I return the test & rubric to the student with the 4 levels. There is no “overall average” on the test, the student attempted for 4 different skills/expectations and so receives 4 separate levels of achievement.

How do we record these levels in our mark book? For that, we have Evidence Records.

More examples of tests/tasks w/ rubrics:

Gr. 9 geography test (using checkbricks): 3 test human geo

Do you have a test w/ a rubric you’d be willing to share here for colleagues in your subject area to see?
Get in touch: laura.wheeler@ocdsb.ca

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

The Assessment Plan

Part 2 of 4 in a series of blog posts about Standards-Based Grading.

We all learn about backwards planning in teacher’s college; for a given unit, that means you start by creating the unit test (deciding what are the most important skills & topics to evaluate) and then building learning & assessment activities that build towards that unit test appropriately. And this makes all the sense in the world.

But then the real world of teaching smacks you in the face; three new courses to prep, very little free time what with all the extra-curriculars, etc. you’re helping with . . . all of a sudden it’s all you can do to prep something for the next day’s lessons, let alone backwards plan your entire unit for each of your courses.

The Assessment Plan (AP) brings us back to this idea of backwards planning. We use the AP to plan the number of evaluation tasks & tests we will have in a semester and to outline which of the overall expectations (OEs) and achievement chart categories (K/U, App, T&I, Comm) that the test covers. The intent is to have a variety of task types that cover a variety of OEs and categories. If your AP is a good one, there should be no gaps in OEs evaluated or in the categories that they incorporate.

Let’s have a look at a completed AP for a course, in this case a math course:
AP math

For a closer look, here is a pdf version: MPM2D Assessment Plan 2012 rev

The AP is broken into two sections of columns; the first section lists all of the Overall Expectations, divided into their strands, while the second section lists the category expectations (K/U, App, T&I, Comm). Each row represents an evaluation task or test. The left-most column is where you write the title of your evaluation tool (ie. “Quiz 1 – solve by graphing”). There are checkmarks for each of the OEs that are being evaluated by that tool, and also each of the category expectations that are built into the tool.

For example, let’s look at “Test 3” in the above AP. The title of the test is written in the first column along with the code “T3” which will be used to record marks on each student’s evidence record. Then there are symbols, in this case *, marking which of the OEs are covered on the test. So this test 3 covered 3 out of the 4 overall expectations in the first strand. We can see the 3 *s under the OEs. We can also see that this test incorporated all of the Knowledge & Understanding (K/U) and Application category expectations as well as some of the Thinking and Communication expectations.

What we can easily see is that each of the overall expectations is evaluated more than once over the course of the semester and that all of the category expectations have been met across the span of the course as well.

Here’s a video by the OCDSB that might help illustrate how the assessment plan fits into the overall framework:

Homework: Here is my suggestion for the best way to practice using an assessment plan before next September.

  1. Pick one course that you are currently teaching and feel most comfortable in.
  2. Get a copy (electronic or printed) of the AP for that course. You can find the AP for any course you teach on OCDSB’s Desire to Learn platform:
    Go to http://ocdsb.elearningontario.ca and sign in using the same username & password you use to sign on to any OCDSB computer.d2L AP
    Under “Teacher Resources” on the right hand side of the page, click on “Secondary Assessment Plan templates by Subject”.
    From there you will click on the folder for your subject area and click on the AP for your course.
    The AP will open in a viewing window.
    Click on the download button google drive download button in the bottom right-hand corner to save the file to your own computer – and from there you can open the file, edit the file, and print  a copy.
    I suggest you print out a copy.
  3. Fill it out with the quizzes, tests, & tasks that you have been using so far this semester for that course; anything for which you recorded a mark in your mark-book. Start by listing the tests/tasks in chronological order down that left-hand column.
  4. Next, check off the OEs that it touched on as well as the categories that it touched on. If you need a refresher on the OEs or categories for your course have a read through your curriculum documents. I can’t emphasize enough how you need to be intimately familiar with your curriculum documents.
  5. Finally, have a look at your AP as it stands & take a moment to reflect:
    • Have you checked off each of the overall expectations at least once?
      • If not, which ones are missing? What sort of test/task could you add in order to evaluate them?
      • If so, have you provided multiple opportunities for each overall expectation? How can you build your tests/tasks so that student have more than one chance to provide you with evidence of their learning on a particular OE?
    • Have you checked off each of the achievement chart categories at least once?
      • If not, which ones are missing? How could you modify/amend your tests/tasks to incorporate them all. Alternatively, what sort of test/task could you add in order to touch on those that have been missed?

Don’t panic if you notice big gaps in your assessment plan’s checkmarks. This is the time to notice the gaps and work to fill them in. The AP is a handy a tool to help you ensure that you have a well-balanced set of evaluation tools which will allow your students to provide the best evidence possible of their learning across the expectations of your course.

Next up: Creating tests/tasks & the rubrics to go with them.

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

Teacher Interviews

It’s that time of year again: student teachers are graduating and looking for jobs, and supply teachers & LTOs are looking to find work for September.

In much the same way as students should never be surprised by the material/questions on our tests, I firmly believe that a school board’s interview process, question topics, and look-fors should not be a secret or come as a surprise to any teacher.

A few acronyms to get out of the way:

  • OT: Occasional Teacher (day to day supply teacher)
  • LTO: Long Term Occasional (a teacher hired for a duration of minimum 10 days and maximum of one semester).
  • Contract Teacher (a permanent position; don’t ask me why they coined this as “contract” which would mean short-term work in any other industry)

DISCLAIMER: While I am an OCDSB secondary teacher, I am not in charge of any part of the hiring process. Everything written in this post reflects my understanding of the process at the time of posting and is not an official account of the OCDSB’s hiring process. Please contact the OCDSB directly if you have any questions.

“The Lists”:

To get on “the lists”: The hiring process in Ontario was complicated significantly by the introduction of regulation 274 a couple of years ago. First, a teacher new to our board will apply for an interview in order to be added to the OT list. The interview will occur at a central location with one OCDSB principal and one OCDSB vice-principal. Once on that list for at least 10 months and having taught at least 20 days, a teacher can apply for an interview in order to be added to the LTO list. These lists only “open up” a couple of times per year.

To get a specific LTO posting: At peak times of hiring (Aug-Sept & Jan-Feb) the school board looks at the LTO list which is organized according to seniority and makes decisions centrally about which LTO-eligible teacher will be given which position, according to seniority; no interviews. At less busy times of the year you may be granted an interview at the school for which the LTO was posted (see the next paragraph for that process), or the board might still centrally assign a teacher to the position.

To get a specific contract position: As far as I understand, teachers are not assigned centrally to these positions; they are always interviewed first. However, the interviews will be granted to the top 5 senior teachers qualified for that position off the list. I see to remember hearing that you have to have at least 4 months in an LTO position in order to qualify for a contract position.

So if you’re lucky enough to be granted one of these elusive interviews, what follows is a list of items I suggest you bring with you as well as topics / questions that may be part of your interview.

Suggested items to bring to your interview:

  • Your portfolio (tagged with specific pieces you plan to show; lesson plans, unit plans, student work, student feedback, etc.). Don’t wait for the interviewers to ask to see your portfolio; many of them won’t. Offer pieces to view as you answer questions (e.g. if you’re explaining how you would plan a unit, pass around your portfolio open to a sample unit plan you’ve created). Your portfolio (w/ your philosophy of teaching, certificates, etc) can also be useful to yourself as you prepare your answers to the questions; it reminds you of your accomplishments that are worth mentioning.
  • Copies of your résumé & cover letter. Even though you sent them in electronically when you applied to the post, the admin team may not have a printed copy in front of them during the interview. In fact they might not have even seen your résumé or cover letter before interviewing you. Make sure to include links to your classroom website, Twitter feed, and/or blog on your résumé.
  • A pen and paper to prepare your answers.

What to Wear:

Dress professionally.

For men: Nice slacks (dress pants, khakis, etc), button up collared shirt and tie. Facial hair should be nicely groomed.

For women: Dress pants or a nice knee-length skirt with a nice top or sweater. Nothing too short or low cut; nothing skin tight (NO leggings unless covered by a skirt or dress); no crazy jewellery; simple shoes; subtle makeup; hair nicely groomed.

Arrive Early:

You will be given 15 – 30 minutes before your stated interview time to prepare your answers to the questions. There are usually 5 to 7 questions listed on a sheet of paper. You will be given a private space where you can compose some notes to help you answer those questions. That question sheet and your notes will be collected from you at the end of the interview; you will not be permitted to leave with them.

The Interview:

You will most likely be interviewed by the principal and one or two vice-principals. It will last approximately 30 minutes (which gives you about 5 minutes per answer). The interviewers will be making notes about your answers as you talk, so they may not look at you very often; don’t be insulted. Don’t talk too fast or they won’t be able to write everything down.

Sample Interview Questions / Topics:

  •  “Tell us about yourself”
    Almost every interview I have had started with this one. “Well I was born in Ottawa in 19__ …” is probably not the answer they’re looking for. Use this opportunity to give a snapshot of your teaching background and positions. It might also be a good spot to explain where you see yourself going; how does the current position applied for fit into your long-range plan?
  • Classroom management / Behaviour / Discipline
    The question might be a generic “Tell us about your behaviour management philosophy” or it might be more situational such as “Tell us about a time when you had a difficult student in terms of behaviour and how you responded.” or “A student in your class exhibits behaviour X. How do you handle it?”.
  • “Explain to us how you would teach X”
    It might be a whole unit (overall expectation) or one specific lesson (specific expectation). Many colleagues have suggested having a sample unit plan and one lesson plan that you have created for the course for which you’re interviewing. This could be in your portfolio. At the very least, you should have looked at the curriculum documents for the course before the interview so that you have a working knowledge of the expectations.
  • Assessment & Evaluation (A&E)
    This is almost guaranteed to be one of the questions right now as September 2014 will see the implementation of two new A&E documents in the OCDSB: the Evidence Record and the Assessment Plan. Both are based on the framework of Standards Based Grading. You should be familiar with these documents and the philosophies behind them. If you’re not familiar with them, I would suggest that you find a teacher that is and ask them to give you the run-down.
  • Collegiality / Teamwork
    “Explain a time when you have worked as part of a team to run or create X”     or
    “You are creating an exam for a common course with one of your colleagues but you’re having trouble agreeing on what to include. What do you do?”
  • IEP / Special Education
    “Describe how you ensure you meet the needs & accommodations for students with IEPs in your classroom”    or
    “A parent emails you, concerned that his child’s accommodations as per the IEP are not being met. What do you do?”
  • Differentiation
    For gifted AND remedial.

    “Tell us about a lesson in which you differentiated your instruction”     or
    “You have a student who has significant gaps in her learning. What do you do?”    or
    “You have a student who consistently finishes his work well ahead of his classmates. What do you do?”
  • SIPSA goals
    Speaking of SIPSA, you should try to find what the current SIPSA is for that school as those goals may find their way into interview questions. Contact a teacher teaching at that school, or the admin team to ask about their SIPSA ahead of time.
  • Technology
    “Explain to us how you incorporate technology into your classroom”. Have specific examples to share and describe the impact it had on student understanding of the learning goal.
  • Communication
    There may be some questions relating to communication with colleagues, parents, and/or students.
  • Extra-curricular Involvement
    “How will you get involved at our school?”
  • Why you?
    “What sets you apart from other candidates?”
    “Why should we hire you over the other qualified candidates?”
  • ELL: English Language Learner
    “Explain how you support ELL students in your classroom”.
  • “Describe a time when X happened, what you did, and the result”
    X could be a lesson didn’t go as planned, a student misbehaved, you had a conflict with a colleague, a parent was unhappy, etc.
  • “What would you do if …” situational questions
    There is an endless number of situational questions that could be asked such as “What would you do if 60% of your students failed the most recent test?”. Come up with questions you think would make good situational questions and practice your answers to them.
  • At-risk learners:
    The best I can do for you on this one is lead you to have a look at OCDSB documentation mentioning at-risk learners because I don’t see anything on their site dedicated to this topic specifically. 
    Google search for OCDSB + at-risk learner
  • Professional Development/Learning:
    “Tell us about the last book you read to further your own learning about teaching & education” or “tell us how you keep up to date with current teaching practices”. These days, a lot of my own learning is online, so personally, I might redirect the book question to be more about what I’ve been reading online on the many teacher blogs & Twitter accounts that I follow.

I’m sure there are many interview topics or questions that teachers have encountered that I forgot here. Leave a comment below or send them to me via Twitter and I’ll add them to the list for the benefit of everyone.


You are entitled to request a debrief from your interviewers regardless of whether or not you were successful in the interview process. You should always take advantage of this opportunity to hear about your strengths & weaknesses from the interviewer(s). This process provides you with the information you need in order to improve your interview skills for the next round. And if you do request a debriefing make sure you show up to it; that principal has taken time to meet with you & it will not look good if you do not show up!

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

Update: A follow-up blog post to this one:
A Principal’s Perspective on Teacher Interviews

Update: This video on how to use visual note-taking to prepare for an interview has some great tips!

Useful Tip! Videotape yourself answering practice questions; get a friend or family member to interview you using some of the questions above. Then watch the video to get an idea of what your answers sound like, things you did well, and what you might be able to improve.


Bonus: “5 Things You Think Principals Want to Hear (And What They Really Want to Hear)”:


What makes Ridgemont High School different?

20140416-191116.jpgSomething I’ve noticed about Ridgemont from the day I started working here is how the students’ friendships stretch across grade boundaries. Grade 9 kids hang out with grade 11 kids, 12s with 10s . . . whatever goes. Maybe it’s because we’re a smaller school (~800 students)? Maybe it’s because that’s the kind of friendly environment we’ve set up for the kids? I’m not sure. But I do know that I noticed it early in my time here and it’s one of the things that really impresses me about our school and our students.

Today was a “spirit day”; student’s council declared it Juniors VS Seniors day where the juniors all where red and the seniors all wear blue. Spirit days are a great way to make the students feel a connection to each other and the school. They also tend to be just plain fun (like ugly sweater day!). I was all in for today’s spirit day. As a teacher, I decided I should wear both colours as I am an ally to all students in all grades. Here I am, pictured above-right, in all my red & blue glory for today.

20140416-191125.jpgBefore the 9am bell I usually stand in the hall by my classroom door, reminding students to move along & get to class on time. A student that I know passed by me in the hall and I noted “Well that doesn’t look like blue to me!”. He is a senior student who participates in many school events but wasn’t wearing blue to represent the seniors . . . what gives? He replied “Miss, I believe in unity; it shouldn’t be juniors AGAINST seniors!” with a huge smile on his face. That’s when I noticed he was wearing a purple t-shirt (combining both red & blue) and had “RHS Unity” inked across his cheeks. So perfect.

I love that this student thought critically about the message behind our spirit day, decided he didn’t agree, and then adopted his own related message to spread. This particular student is part of a club that serves as mentors to our incoming grade 9 students each year; Link Crew. And today reinforced why he is such an awesome person to have on that team. Who better to welcome our new grade 9s than a senior student who doesn’t feel we should be against or higher up than our junior students; but friends and allies with them.

Just one more reason why I love Ridgemont and our students!

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

Standards-Based Grading: the Framework

Part 1 of 4 in a series of blog posts about Standards-Based Grading

For myself, I have spent several years shifting into a Standards-Based Grading (SBG) model of assessment & evaluation (A&E). I have gradually adopted what I considered to be the best practices of colleagues I met within my school board, teachers from other boards at educational conferences and from teachers in the educational blogosphere.

For many OCDSB teachers, they have simply heard that the school board’s A&E policies & documentation are changing, effective September, 2014. I’ve heard many teachers express their anxiety over what they perceive to be a lack of training with these new documents. The school board recently put in place some on-line training modules, but is also hoping that the teachers who have been implementing this type of A&E over the last few years will lead a bottom-up training approach to getting their colleagues on board.

What we were doing before:
Teachers taught their courses by unit. Sometimes those units came from the curriculum documents, sometimes they came from the textbook which divides the course up into chapters. We taught each unit, and at its end assigned a test on that unit or chapter. Those tests were divided up into 4 sections of problems/questions; Knowledge/Understanding, Application, Thinking, & Communication (the achievement chart categories; can be found at the beginning of each curriculum document).

achievement chart

Students received 4 different marks, one for each category. Those marks then got input into a grading software like MarkBook by “bin” that would weight the categories the way we wanted and calculate an average for us.
Marks were collected & recorded by unit/chapter and by the 4 categories.

What we’re doing now:
Use the overall expectations in our curriculum documents as a way to divide up our teaching and our evaluation. We test a student on whether or not they are proficient at a certain curriculum expectation. We evaluate their proficiency using levels (R, 1, 2, 3, 4).
OE vs SE

The overall expectations (OEs) are what we need to evaluate or test. The specific expectations (SEs) are what we need to teach. Of course we will evaluate some of the SEs since they make up the OEs, but we do not need to test students on every single SE.
“All curriculum expectations must be accounted for in instruction, 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 (including the process 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 covered in instruction and assessment (e.g., through direct observation) but not necessarily evaluated.” Gr. 9-10 Mathematics Curriculum in Ontario

Most curricula have anywhere from 9-12 overall expectations. These OEs are the “standards” according to which you will be evaluating your students. For example, in my mathematics curriculum I might evaluate my students’ ability to meet the expectation of “solving a linear equation”.

One thing I love about this is that it forces us, as teachers, to really become familiar with our curriculum documents. This is in contrast to a reliance on textbooks created by companies for profit but not necessarily well-matched to the curriculum (but that’s a conversation for another day).

Another thing that is so great about SBG is the ability to pinpoint the topics/skills (by OE) that a student is strong in or in which they need to improve. Even better is when you have the students track their progress too so that they always know what areas they need to work on. More to come on this when we talk about Evidence Records later on.

The placemat:

The OCDSB has created what they call “the placemat” which is meant to give an overview of the documents we will be using to support this shift in our assessment & evaluation practices:


placemat (in pdf)

Get reading:

The best way to really get a good grip on the framework and philosophy behind SBG is to read a lot about it. That’s what I did to really understand what we were trying to do beyond the A&E documents the school board is focusing on (Assessment Plan & Evidence Record).

Here’s a reading list about standards-based grading … jump in!
Daniel Schneider
Frank Noschese
Sam Shah
Jason Buell
Shawn Cornally
Dan Meyer
Jim Pai
#SBGchat on Twitter

Stay tuned for part 2: The Assessment Plan.

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

Assessment & Evaluation in the OCDSB

A big shift is happening in my school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) with respect to our assessment and evaluation policies. A lot of teachers are feeling anxious about this shift, not only about how to implement the new policies and supporting documentation, but also about the reasons behind it. The new approach is modelled (I feel) on a framework called standards-based grading.

I don’t purport to be any expert in this new approach. I have been shifting towards this new method of A&E over the last 4 or 5 years and wanted to share my understanding of it with you. My hope is to start a conversation about what this new policy looks like in each of our classrooms.

Over the course of several blog posts I will delve into 4 different aspects of the new A&E policy (I will add links here as the posts get written):

1. The framework and philosophy behind standards-based grading.

2. The Assessment Plan

3. Your assessment & evaluation tools (“what will my tests look like?”)

4. The Evidence Record

“Determining a report card grade will involve teachers’ professional judgement and interpretation of evidence and should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement, with special consideration given to more recent evidence.” – GROWING SUCCESS

Update (2014.12.04): Here is what the OCDSB published for parents this fall on the topic of their assessment & evaluation policy:
Parent Guide to Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting – Grades 9-12

If you comments, questions, and/or ideas you’d like to share on the topic, please leave a comment below or connect via Twitter @wheeler_laura.

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)