Teachers can fill in the blanks

I suggest that you and your child talk about the blank report card, and contact your teacher if you would like to discuss it

What is a ‘good’ report card? Is it one with a column full of ‘good’ letters? A bunch of “Well done!” comments?

In 1992, a master teacher asked me “How would I know I was doing really well in your class?” and I replied, “Well, you’d have a good grade.” She responded, “OK, what would that mean I could do?”.

Teachers continually ask themselves questions about assessment and evaluation. What information are we trying to find out? Although, many times, those looking at student results do not want to see anything other than a rank.  After all, there is only one gold medal; however, are there not many gold medalists?

It is paramount that when looking at an assessment or evaluation you ask whether you are measuring students against one another, measuring students’ ability to do something, or measuring everyone’s capability to do something. Teachers don’t measure students against one another, although, unfortunately, it is done.

Each assignment, quiz, test, project, demonstration, performance and activity could be assessed or evaluated in many different ways depending on what information you are trying to obtain.

Take as an example, the driver’s test. The written portion tests whether you can remember signs and rules; the practical portion demonstrates whether you can operate a vehicle within safe and legal parameters. So, if you passed that set of standardized tests, are you a ‘good’ driver? If you were a passenger in a vehicle for many hours would you be able to tell whether the driver was ‘good’?

Assessment, evaluation and reporting are complex issues in education. To understand a mark you must know what was being counted. A ‘good’ report card may have letters and numbers on it, but we must know what they mean the student can do.

Teachers know that discussing student progress is incredibly important and we invite parents to get in touch.

We are, however, dumbfounded that the deputy minister of education has directed school districts to send home formal report cards even though they are, for the most part, blank. The Labour Relations Board has defined report cards as non-essential during our job action and the ministry has known this since August. Teachers want to discuss progress with students and parents. It seems that someone in government thinks the time and resources that will be wasted on blank report cards is worth it.

If I had received a blank report card when I was in high school, I believe I would have looked at it as an opportunity to self-assess my progress.

I suggest that you and your child talk about the blank report card, and if you or your child want to discuss their progress, please contact your teacher.

PS. If you are disappointed in the government’s decision to waste time and money on blank report cards, perhaps you should mail your child’s blank report to Minister George Abbott, free of charge, a right you have as a citizen.

Kevin Epp, president

 

Okanagan-Skaha Teachers’ Union

 

 

Just Posted

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame in Penticton

The 26th ceremony welcomed powerful figures both on and off the ice

Peach Classic Triathlon

While Penticton contemplates changes in the long-distance triathlon community with Ironman returning… Continue reading

Armchair Book Club: Delving into the threat of big tech

Heather Allen is a book reviewer for Black Press that lives in the Okanagan

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

COLUMN: Looking back to a time of optimism

The first lunar landing 50 years ago was a time to celebrate dreams and accomplishments

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Okanagan e-scooter company foils robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations in Kelowna

Olympian brings women empowerment in sports to the Okanagan

Two-time medalist Natalie Spooner joined the Girls Rock the Rink event in Kelowna

Column: Understanding weather patterns a key to a successful garden

Columnist dives into Okanagan urban agriculture

Most Read