Plan for Communicating Student Learning
Musquodoboit Rural High School
Plan for Communicating Student Learning
The Halifax Regional School Board and Musquodoboit Rural High School believe that assessment and evaluation are essential components of teaching and learning. Together they provide a basis for analyzing and reflecting on student learning, teacher practice, informing instruction and programs. Musquodoboit Rural High School is committed to aligning the assessment and evaluation of students with the learning outcomes detailed in provincial curriculum documents, and in so doing, providing the best possible education for our students.
Education is a partnership between teachers, students, and parents/guardians. Effective communication between school and home is a critical component of that partnership. Accurate and timely information respecting course outlines, student achievement, attendance and behaviour are essential components in assisting students to be successful learners and ensuring that parents/guardians are informed and knowledgeable partners. This School Plan for Communicating Student Learning will provide parents/guardians with some of the information necessary to support student learning. It will help to explain how we assess and evaluate student learning and provide some of the time frames and events for formal communication opportunities.
Formal Communications include but may not be limited to: Annual Report to the Community, School Newsletters, Course Outlines, Curriculum Nights, Program Planning Team Meetings, Report Cards, School Advisory Council Meetings, Parent Teacher Meetings, Student Success Plan - formerly Continuous School Improvement (CSI) Plan, online Student Handbook, and School Messenger.
Informal Communications include but may not be limited to: conversations with students, e-mails, phone calls, website, and Twitter.
Communication made about student learning and progress is important. Every effort is made by teachers to keep parents/guardians informed regarding student progress. Students and parents are encouraged to regularly check PowerSchool as this is updated regularly by teachers.
Our office hours are from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm and the main office number is 902-384-2320. In the interest of facilitating open lines of communication, all teachers have their own voice-mail (calls during class time go directly to voice mail), email addresses and in most cases, teachers have their own subject information websites that can be accessed through the Musquodoboit Rural High School website (www.mrh.hrsb.ca).
- Register online with Power School to see up-to-date marks and attendance. You can register by emailing Ms. Deale at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attendance is available daily to parents/guardians through Power School. Attendance codes used include; excused (E) and unexcused (U), late (L), special circumstance absence (SC), school-based activity (ACT), in school suspension (ISS), and out of school suspension (OSS).
- Within the first three weeks of a school a Curriculum Night will be held
- Parent visitations will occur once each semester close to the reporting time. Please plan to attend as this is an effective way to communicate student progress
- During the first week of the semester, teachers will provide students with a course synopsis/outline of the course and detailed information on how their work will be evaluated including components and values. The teacher will inform students if he or she changes the plan. Parents/Guardians can arrange to meet with teachers if further clarification is needed
MRHS School Year calendar
Dates for Curriculum Nights, Parent-Teacher meetings, exams and all other important events can be found on the school website (www.mrh.hsrb.ca).
Student Assessment and Evaluation
Please refer to the following definitions:
Assessment – the process of gathering information on student achievement with the purpose of improving both teaching and learning.
Formative Assessments (Assessments for Learning) – ongoing assessments that take place during the teaching and learning process for the purpose of showing growth over time, determining student’s needs, planning next steps in instruction and providing students with descriptive feedback.
Summative Assessments (Assessment of Learning) – assessments that take place at the end of a period of learning for the purpose of determining the extent to which learning has occurred.
Evaluation– the process of analyzing, reflecting upon and making judgments or decisions based on summative assessment data.
Expected Learning Outcomes – goal statements prescribed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development that indicates what teachers are required to teach and what students are expected to know.
Curriculum Alignment – the matching of instructional and assessment practices with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s curriculum documents/outcomes.
External Large Scale Assessments - Schools participate in regional, provincial, national and international external large-scale assessments as required by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Halifax Regional School Board eg. Nova Scotia Exams for Math 10, Math 10 at Work and English 10.
Teachers use a variety of assessment tools to provide students with a wide range and multiple opportunities to demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes. These tools include but are not limited to:
- Checklists (used to record a student’s completion of homework, projects, assigned class projects etc.)
- Debates (structured and controlled dialogue that permits students to organize, discuss, examine and evaluate varying viewpoints and/or evidence)
- Descriptive Feedback (specific oral or written information that helps students understand what they are doing well and what they need to do next in order to improve)
- Experiments (an activity usually conducted in a laboratory to test theory, followed by a write-up demonstrating the outcome)
- Homework (see Homework Policy p. 7)
- ICA (In class assessments)
- Journals/Reports/Logs (ongoing reflective pieces of student writing relating to learning outcomes)
- Observations (used to assess group work, individual work habits and understanding of a concept)
- Peer Assessments (used to assess group dynamics and to make students accountable to their classmates)
- Presentations (a demonstration of student achievement before an audience)
- Portfolios (a collection of student work selected for a particular purpose)
- Projects (in-depth research on a chosen topic and/or demonstration of the application of knowledge/skills)
- Questioning (an informal method used for immediate feedback to the teacher to check for student understanding)
- Rubrics (a set of specific criteria against which a student’s work will be measured and used to assess presentations, reports, visual displays, essays, labs, assignments, portfolios and other items)
- Self-assessments (used to allow students to communicate their perceived level of competence on certain outcomes)
- Surveys (a means of gathering information to inform)
- Tests/quizzes (usually carried out on a specific unit of work)
- Written assignments
Evaluation Policies and Procedures
As education is our primary goal, helping students cope with the stress of evaluation is important. In order to do this, the following practices will be followed:
- Students are encouraged to prepare for upcoming exams a week in advance.
- Final summative evaluation events that require preparation at home are to be completed at least one week prior to the formal exam week of that semester.
- Pre-reading materials necessary for exams should be given out at least one week prior to exams.
- Practices, field trips, extra-curricular activities, evening performances or recitals should not be scheduled during the week prior to the first exam.
- The Assessment and Evaluation policy dictates that no single assessment event will be evaluated at more than 20% of the final course mark.
Purpose of the Report Card
The purpose of a report card is to provide a student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) with a summary of how well a student understands what is being taught, and their level of academic achievement and social development. Report cards should be used in addition to other forms of communication between the home and school such as the Student-Parent Portal, parent-teacher meetings, newsletters and e-mails.
Report cards for grades 10 – 12 have four parts:
1. Attendance - Reports the number of days the student has absent from school. Teachers monitor student attendance daily using PowerSchool and include the information in report cards.
2. Learner Profile - Reports on the social development and work habits using codes that show how often they are displayed over the reporting period. The codes are assigned based on the grade level expectations for social development and work habits:
- C – Consistently
- U – Usually
- S – Sometimes
- R – Rarely
- N/A – Not applicable
A comment can be included to provide more detail on the social development and work habits of the student.
3. Course comments – A short summary of what the student has learned, which includes:
- Strengths (areas of the curriculum where your child is having success);
- Learning needs (areas of the curriculum where your child is still developing);and
- Suggestions to support further learning.
4. Grades - Grades represent academic achievement only. Although social development and work habits impact student achievement, they are reported in the Learner Profile.
Grades are based on the evidence of student learning and understanding the curriculum concepts and skills taught in the classroom. Evidence is collected over time in a variety of ways, including work products, conversations and observations, etc.
Reporting codes are used to describe how well a student understands the material covered and how well they can apply concepts and skills in relation to the learning outcomes for each subject:
Teachers in Grades 7-12 will use the same grades and descriptors.
- 90-100% - Demonstrates excellent understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the learning outcomes.
- 80-89% - Demonstrates very good understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the learning outcomes.
- 70-79% - Demonstrates good understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the learning outcomes.
- 60-69% - Demonstrates satisfactory understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the learning outcomes.
- 50-59% - Demonstrates limited understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the learning outcomes.
- Below 50% - Has not met minimum requirements of the course
INS - Insufficient evidence to determine a grade
IP - In progress until all components of the course are completed.
NA- Not applicable at this time. (Used only for reporting in strands in Mathematics grades 7 & 8)
The Provincial P-12 Achievement Level Scale
The provincial P-12 Achievement Level Scale, used across the curriculum by teachers to describe a student’s level of achievement related to one or more outcomes in a formative assessment, has recently been revised. Three additional ‘+’ levels have been added for tracking and communicating information related to student progress.
The revised NS Provincial Achievement Levels and their descriptors now include:
Achievement Level Description
- 4 In‐depth knowledge and understanding of content and concepts. Able to extend the application of related skills.
- 3+ Competent +
- 3 Competent knowledge and understanding of content and concepts. Appropriate application of the related skills.
- 2+ Developing +
- 2 Developing knowledge and understanding of content and concepts. Developing in the application of the related skills.
- 1+ Limited +
- 1 Limited knowledge and understanding of content and concepts. Limited application of related skills.
Achievement levels have always best been used with clearly defined and communicated success criteria. For teachers interested in using the additional ‘+’ levels, they should be used when a student meets all of the success criteria expected at the lower level of achievement and some of the criteria at the higher level. Teachers whose achievement tracking needs are met by the original 1-4 scale may continue to use 1-2-3-4 as they have with students in the past.
Throughout the school year, there are four reporting periods where report cards are sent home to parents/guardians (November, February, April and June). Additional reports are sent home for students with Adaptations and Individual Program Plans. Parents/Guardians and students are encouraged to monitor student progress through the parent and student portal in PowerSchool.
Protocol for Concerns Regarding Evaluation Results
Students should first discuss the issue with the teacher. If more clarification is needed, parents should contact the teacher to discuss the concern. If students or parents are not satisfied following the conversation with a teacher (including the Department Head), they should contact the Vice-Principal. The school’s administration will make every effort to resolve the situation with all parties involved.
The following is a list of provisions to help students and parents/guardians when concerns arise as part of the Halifax Regional School Board’s Parent Concern Protocol
- Students should contact the teacher and discuss the grade immediately following the return of the assessment/evaluation
- If more formal clarification is needed, the parent/guardian or student should contact the teacher directly in writing
- The teacher will respond to this communication either in writing or by phone, in a timely manner after receiving the request
- The teacher will document the conversation or meeting
- If unresolved, the matter should be referred to the Department Head by the student and/or parent/guardian
- The Department Head will then meet with the parties involved to resolve the situation.
- If, for any reason, the matter remains unresolved, it should be referred to the Vice Principal or Principal. The determination of the Principal is final.
Wed-Based Student Information System (PowerSchool)
The Halifax Regional School Board uses the Student Information System called PowerSchool. The system allow students and parents to log on using their own private online account to see grades, track attendance, learn about upcoming assignments, and catch up on school events and announcements.
Information is made available about how to log on to a private account and access real-time information. Students and parents will be able to log on anywhere there is internet access and access information.
10 reasons why students recommend using PowerSchool
- To check on the accuracy of my attendance and late records to make sure everything is in order to receive my exam exemption
- To read the daily announcements using the School Bulletin feature so that I don’t miss an event or other important information
- To track my grades so that I know where I stand and see if I have any outstanding assessments
- To view the Grade History section, and click on my grade percentage to see the breakdown of all assignments and tests and the marks I received for each that has brought me to that grade percentage to date
- To see courses/credits I have completed to date so that I know what I need to graduate
- To directly email my teacher from PowerSchool if I have any questions
- To read comments from my teachers about my areas of strengths and needs in my learning
- To choose my course requests for the following school year from PowerSchool
- To be more in charge of my learning and attendance by looking at common patterns (eg. I’m always late for the first class in the morning)
- To see my attendance and marks before my parents do
Students with Special Needs
At Musquodoboit Rural High School we are dedicated to supporting the learning of all students. Teachers, parents, and students themselves can initiate a referral to the School Planning Team. Once a referral is received, the School Program Planning Team will begin the process of reviewing the profile of the learner. Suggestions are made to the classroom teachers and a program planning team meeting is held. At this time adaptations or individualizations may be recommended to support the student in meeting with academic, social or behavioral success. Parent/Guardian participation is essential to the success of the process in both program adaptations or in the development of the IPP. It should be noted that some students will require an Individual Program Plan in one course, while other students may require an Individual Program Plan in all courses.
In the case of program adaptations, teachers will communicate to the parents the adaptations required to assess and evaluate learning and achievement related to the outcomes of the course. In the case of an IPP, teachers will base evaluations on the student’s success in meeting the individualized outcomes developed.
New Provincial Homework Policy (September 2015)
Homework and/or assignments are a constructive tool in the teaching/learning process. Purposeful assignments not only enhance student achievement but also develop self-discipline and good working habits. The purpose of homework is preparing students for class, practicing new skills or knowledge, and enrichment of learning. Homework assignments will:
- be purposeful learning
- reinforce, enrich, or help students prepare for classroom learning
- be designed with consideration for the needs and circumstances of each student
- be appropriate for each student’s age and developmental stage
- have a clear purpose
- directly connect to what students are learning in their classes
- build on skills or knowledge that a student already has
Homework assigned in grades 7–12 will expand students’ learning of advanced skills and will be based on the specific course of study. On average, at the High School level, students can expect to spend 6-8 hours of homework per week.
It is important for students to complete and pass in their assignments on time so that teachers can provide timely feedback. All assignments require due dates. Missed due dates can influence the student’s summative or final evaluation. An extension can be granted if negotiated with the teacher on or prior to the original due date.
During the course of the semester “chronic cases” of late or missed work will be communicated to the parent/guardian directly by the teacher. After the Extended Deadline has expired and the assignment is still not passed in, the student will be given a ZERO for the corresponding piece of work for failure to demonstrate that the outcomes have been met.
What about Summative (Major) Assessment?
Although there is an expectation for and responsibility of all students to submit assigned work by the deadline date set by the subject teacher, the school recognizes that from time to time a circumstance may arise whereby a student may need an extension of the pre-established deadline date
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, a request for an extension of a summative assessment must be given a minimum of one day prior to the deadline date and to the classroom teacher
The length of the extension will be determined taking into consideration the following:
- the nature of the assignment and the amount of time needed for completion
- time needed for additional instruction
- the need to return assignments to other students for meaningful feedback
- the need to maintain the logical progression of the course as prescribed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Given that exam dates are published well in advance, it is expected that family vacations will be scheduled around this important assessment time. Absence due to such vacations will not be considered excused and not special circumstance. Also, there are instances when the school is closed during the scheduled exam day due to inclement weather, power failures or unforeseen circumstances. Exams will be moved forward one day in the schedule. All students must be present on the day of their exam.
902-384-2320 Main Office
School Website : www.mrh.hrsb.ca
Please check our school website for a list of teacher websites and email addresses.