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Assessment Like Water

The Ministry of Education’s 2010 publication Growing Success flew off educational bookshelves everywhere, surprising administrators and re-igniting a passion for their profession that many teachers had lost during the barren Harris years and their subsequently lean aftermath in Ontario schools. Maybe? Probably not. Well, definitely not, at least not at my school. What Growing Success did ignite, in my own small corner of the teaching world, were heated debates over the role of evaluation and assessment as it related to “good” teaching practice.What did a world without zeros look like? How was it equitable to forgo consequences for students who did not submit work without a good cause? Is 70% of a brake job ‘provincial standard’ too? Eventually, the uproar became a steady grumble and the conversations boiled down to a single question: what were we really teaching? And so a document that was intended to modernize and clarify the ancient practice of ranking and sorting students for their future lives, was met with outrage and disbelief by the very people whose work it sought to improve. And in my fourth full year of teaching, when I had stopped crying in my portable afterschool, and I was genuinely beginning to enjoy my colleagues, all hell broke loose. It seemed a little late in the public education field to have come to an existential crisis, but better late than never. A decade, and many mistakes later, I have Growing Success to thank for the most important belief I have about teaching practice. If something is not fostering student learning, it has outlived its purpose and needs to be changed.

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Intro to Twitter chats

Much of our work as educators occurs in the classroom, surrounded by students, bringing literature to life, helping young people to find their voices, both as writers and witnesses to the world around them. But when the bell rings, and the students file out with their binders and backpacks and our classroom is quiet for a moment or two amidst all the hustle and bustle of school life, the other part of our lives as teachers settles in. There is the cup of coffee, the stack of assignments to assess, the lessons to dream up as the solitary work of teaching begins.

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Assessment Like Water
by Valerie Carnaghan“The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning” IntroductionThe Ministry of ...
Intro to Twitter chats
Much of our work as educators occurs in the classroom, surrounded by students, bringing literature to life, helping young people to find ...

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