EPSB Assessment Policy Review Motion to be debated June 26th, 1PM

On Tuesday June 26th at 1PM we will be having an extra EPSB public board meeting to discuss a few emergent issues related to our staff groups. Additionally, we will have a chance to discuss my motion related to assessment practices in the district. I know I told many of you the debate wouldn’t happen until the fall, but the extra meeting allows us time to have a few more discussions before the summer recess.

The agenda is posted here: http://www.epsb.ca/board/june262012_agenda.shtml

To register to speak to this or any item on the board agenda please call 780-429-8021.

My motion reads:

That the Board direct the Policy Review Committee to review policies related to student assessment to ensure clarity, consistency and to ensure that students are held to high standards.

This discussion has been fascinating and is significantly more complex than sometimes has been reported.

A democratic public education system thrives when we can have these conversations and ensure that we are responsive to the community while being informed by the best advice from our wise administrators.

As with all matters, trustees are not supposed to make up our mind until we vote, so I remain open to feedback and new information.

At the last meeting, I was asked what my thoughts are and whether I want kids to get zeros. I have a few questions for my colleagues and administration that I detailed here.

The short answer? Absolutely not– I want every child to get straight A’s! The longer answer? Students should earn the mark they receive, and they should be able to look to their marks as a true reflection of where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This is why honest assessment is so important in genuine, inspiring, lasting education. This philosophy applies as much to a mark of zero as it does to an A. At the end of the day I want all students to complete the work and be held to high standards.

Grades are a big motivator for some students, while avoiding detention for missed work and missing recess is the main motivator for another. I think it is important to allow our teachers flexibility in their toolbelts to ensure that they can adapt to each student and their unique situation. An elementary student requires different treatment than a high school honors student.

I think it is also important to recognize that Principals should ensure that teachers are using all of the options available to them to get the best results from their students. These practices should be consistent throughout the district and be clear to all parents and students.

I think a chance to clarify and ensure consistency for our students should be a priority for our board. The Policy Review Committee has the potential to work with the administration to set up a process to engage staff, students, parents, community members, industry leaders, academics, post secondary, and other important stakeholders thus recommending the most thorough and robust policy possible for our district.

Ensuring that our students are held to high standards is a goal everyone shares. Everyone wants our students to achieve success.

As always, if you would like to reach myself or my colleagues, please email michael@michaeljanz.ca or find your trustee here: http://www.epsb.ca/trustees/index.shtml