Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools
The Growing Success document was created by the Ontario Ministry of Education (Government of Ontario) to provide a better guideline for educators from grades K – 12 pertaining to policies that provide the frameworks for student assessment, evaluation, and reporting all across Ontario schools.
The purpose of Growing Success is to:
- Enable all students to reach their potential, and to succeed.
- Recognize every student as unique and ensure opportunities for students to achieve success according to his or her own interests, abilities, and goals.
- Introduce a range of options that allow students to learn in ways that suit them best and enable them to earn their diplomas.
As parents of Black children, it is important to become familiar with this document as it is a useful resource in effectively understanding the various ways our children can demonstrate their understanding and share their knowledge. This is especially relevant for student report cards.
Here are 5 key points to keep in mind regarding the intent of Growing Success and how it relates to your child.
1. Learning skills and work habits (e.g. independent work, collaboration, organization, initiative, responsibility, and self-regulation) are important skills that students will develop from K-12.
Learning skills and work habits are important skills that should be fostered among students at school using various subject areas and learning opportunities. However, student’s academic achievement (grades) cannot be determined using their learning skills or work habits. Educators must assess, evaluate, and report on student’s academic achievement separately from their learning skills and work habits.
2. Educators must ensure that student assessments and evaluations are balanced using the four categories of the achievement chart: Knowledge & Understanding, Thinking, Communication, & Application.
The achievement chart for elementary and secondary schools was created as a province-wide guide for educators to assess and evaluate students in different subjects and stands. In every subject and strand, students should be given various and diverse opportunities to demonstrate what they know before an educator reports on their achievement or ability to meet curriculum expectations.
3. There are 4 levels of achievement (1-4), which can also be represented as letter grades or percentages (A-D). For Grades 7 to 12, achievement of the curriculum expectations for each subject, strand, or course is reported on the provincial report cards as percentage marks.
Each level represents student’s academic achievements in different subject areas and strands. Learning skills and work habits are not to be considered when determining these achievements. Additionally, students should be given varied opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the subject or strand being assessed.
When students are evaluated at a Level 1 (D), this signifies that the student is performing below the provincial standard. A Level 2 (C) signifies that the student is approaching provincial standards. Level 3 (B) signifies that the student is able to meet provincial standards. Level 4 (A) signifies that the student surpasses the provincial standard with a high degree of effectiveness.
4. For elementary students, there are 3 reporting periods that are important to pay attention to. Progress reports are sent home in the fall, term 1 report cards are sent home in the winter, and term 2 report cards are sent home at the end of the school year.
These reports inform parents of their child(ren)’s progress academically. Besides an academic report, progress reports also inform parents of how their child(ren) is adjusting to their teacher, peers, and a new grade. It is critical to read the comments that teachers include in this report as it provides insight into areas to check in with your child holistically.
In a progress report card, your child will be evaluated as progressing with difficulty, progressing well, or progressing very well. Letter grades will be included in term 1 & 2 reports.
Regardless of the indicated progress or grade in a report card, it is important to always read the feedback (comments) that the teacher has included, as well as speak with your child’s teacher to remain familiar with your child’s work. We strongly encourage you to ask for examples. This enables you to see how the teacher uses diverse work samples to assess and evaluate student achievement in different subject areas and strands. This better positions you to work with your child(ren) as they progress through each grade.
5. In most cases where the expectations in a student’s IEP are alternative learning expectations, it is neither required nor advisable to assign letter grades or percentage marks to represent the student’s achievement of the expectations. However, in some cases, when evaluation is based on a clearly articulated assessment tool (e.g., a rubric), a letter grade or percentage mark may be assigned in a subject and/or strand and recorded on the elementary provincial report card.
Ontario Ministry of Education (2010). Growing Success. Retrieved from Ministry of Education: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/growSuccess.pdf
Ontario Ministry of Education (2016). Growing Success: The Kindergarten Addendum. Retrieved from Ministry of Education: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/GSKindergartenAddendum2018.pdf