The face of change: school year commencement heralds new reporting system for academic progress in region’s schools
Academic progress reporting for students in the region will be undergoing several changes this year, after the Ministry of Education and Child Care entrenched a pilot project into policy this fall.
With an eye toward improving communication about student learning — making it clearer and more accessible — the ministry has taken a pilot project that was vetted in School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) and made it mandatory across the province.
SD8 superintendent of Schools, Trish Smillie, said the new policy emphasizes the importance of students, teachers and parents/guardians working together as partners in education.
“Although the curriculum continues to give students a strong foundation in reading, writing and math, it also teaches students how to think, communicate, solve problems and use their knowledge in ways that both matter in school and outside the classroom; the new reporting policy reflects that,” she said.
“Overall, the change in student reporting practice aligns with the broader goals of fostering meaningful, transparent communication, promoting student engagement and ensuring a consistent and equitable educational experience for all students.”
Positioning with provincial curriculum and the provincial assessment system indicates that student reporting “should reflect the content and skills outlined in the curriculum and the province’s assessment methods,” Smillie pointed out. It ensures that what students are taught in the classroom is better reflected in how academic progress is reported.
The provincial proficiency scale has already been reflected in the graduation assessments for numeracy and literacy in grades 10-12 for several years in SD8, with letter grades and percentages remaining in those grades.
Long time coming
A few years ago, the Ministry of Education and Child Care launched the K-9 Student Reporting Policy Pilot with SD8 part of that process.
With SD8 part of the pilot from the beginning, that means there won’t be significant changes for most parents and caregivers in the Kootenay Lake region.
The proficiency scale will let parents and caregivers know where their student is in their learning, and what they need to work on. In addition, families will receive written comments from their child’s teacher to give them even more information about what their child can work on.
“The introduction of the graduation status update at the end of the year in grades 10-12 ensures that all students and their families have the information needed to track progress toward graduation requirements,” Smillie said. “In prior years, information on where a student was in relation to meeting graduation requirements was provided in a variety of ways and formats at the school level.”
In a nutshell, the reporting changes include:
- student reporting practices that align with B.C.’s curriculum and provincial assessment system
- timely and responsive feedback on student learning that parents can understand;
- Provincial Proficiency Scale at Grades K-9;
- graduation status update at Grades 10-12;
- student self-assessment of the Core Competencies and goal setting in all grades in the written reports;
- changing the “I” reporting symbol to “IE” to denote “insufficient evidence” of learning instead of “incomplete” learning; and
- all learners, including students with a disability or diverse ability, will receive regular communications of student learning in the same way as their peers in any other program.
Source: Ministry of Education and Child Care
K-9 proficiency scale
The updated Provincial Proficiency Scale is intended to provide a better understanding of what students can already do and areas for future growth.
It is used to communicate student learning in all areas of learning, and is the basis for “strengths-based descriptive feedback to communicate student progress and to clearly identify next steps to support learning.”
This scale will replace percentages and letter grades for students in kindergarten to Grade 9. The four points on the scale include: emerging; developing; proficient; and extending.
- Emerging: the student demonstrates an initial understanding of the concepts and competencies relevant to the expected learning.
- Developing: the student demonstrates a partial understanding of the concepts and competencies relevant to the expected learning.
- Proficient: the student demonstrates a complete understanding of the concepts and competencies relevant to the expected learning.
- Extending: the student demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the concepts and competencies relevant to the expected learning.
Source: Ministry of Education and Child Care