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Emerging, On-Track and Extending: The New B.C. Curriculum and Changes to Student Assessment in Grades K – 9

The British Columbia student assessment system is being redesigned to align with the new curriculum first introduced for K-9 students in the 2016-17 school year with full implementation in 2017-18.

According to the assessment website teachers will help students learn by exploring their interests and passions. Whether it’s computers, hockey, or art, passion is a motivator for students, and students can connect with their interests to excel in the classroom.

At the base of the new curriculum are literacy and numeracy foundations. A “Know-Do-Understand” model will support this concept-based competency-driven approach to learning.

How will this new approach to learning be assessed? What will student reporting look like?

When the ministry consulted with parents around the province the resulting report, Your Kid’s Progress Engagement Summary Report – October 2017, summarized parents’ opinions on student assessment:

Reasons for supporting the use of letter grades and percentages included the following:

  • Grades and percentages are a familiar measure that can be easily grasped.
  • Students are motivated to achieve a high letter grade or percentage.
  • These measures help prepare students for the real world.
  • Post-secondary institutions and scholarships may not recognize reporting that does not contain letter grades or percentages.

Reasons for opposing the use of letter grades:

  • Letter grades may or may not align with the concepts of the new curriculum.
  • High letter grades make students complacent and prevent striving for improvement.
  • There may be a lack of consistency and accuracy of grading between teachers, schools, and districts.
  • Letter grades undermine self-esteem and foster competition among peers.

Schools will continue to use three levels for reporting overall achievement. But instead of using the old descriptors: not yet within expectations, meets expectations, and exceeds expectations schools are now shifting to emerging, on track and extending.

In addition to comments students start getting letter grades in grade four and letter grades are required up to grade nine. However school districts may use different scales as an alternative to letter grades if they choose but letter grades must be provided if parents request them.

As a retired educator, I continue to take an interest in our public education system and I know parents are very interested in their children’s success in school, and in life!

Author: Leslie Keelty