Transitioning to online learning won’t be easy for most Brampton students (or their families), so the Peel District School Board (PDSB) is providing some clarity on how students will be marked and evaluated during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Last week, the PDSB released its Community of Care: The Peel District School Board Learning and Support Plan, which outlines how teachers will provide lessons to students remotely over the coming weeks.
While the province says that school closures will be in effect until at least May 4, it acknowledges that it will have to re-assess the pandemic situation as it unfolds. At this point, it’s not clear when students will be able to return to class–or if they’ll be able to return this term/semester at all.
The PDSB says that since the Ministry of Education has provided some clarification on how students will be graded, it can now provide more information about assessment, evaluation and reporting.
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“In recognizing that these are not normal times, we do not expect that all students will be equitably well-positioned to learn from home. Some have limited access to technology. Others may have less support from family members because their parents/guardians are essential workers,” the board said in an email to families.
“And others may be struggling in other areas. All of this to say that educators understand the extremely difficult circumstances in which many of our families find themselves.”
The board says that challenges aside, it expects that students will do their best to complete all assigned work, adding that secondary students who do not “attend” or complete assigned tasks may be at risk of losing their credits.
How will students be assessed/evaluated?
The PDSB says that with “care and compassion,” teachers will assess and evaluate student learning during the closure period. Students’ marks will reflect work completed up until March 13, 2020, and will only improve if students demonstrate further achievement of curriculum expectations after April 6, 2020.
Elementary – Kindergarten to grade 8
The board says teachers will use assessments to gather evidence of how students are progressing in their learning and will provide feedback to students.
According to the PDSB, teachers will work to conduct distance learning for all remaining strands in mathematics, social studies, history and geography, and science and technology. However, if it is not possible to evaluate a specific curriculum strand, that section of the final report card will be left without a mark and a comment will indicate that the strand was not evaluated.
Secondary – Grades 9 to 12
The board says secondary teachers will assign learning tasks, projects and culminating activities for assessment purposes. Teachers will communicate results and send feedback to students and results will inform students’ final course marks.
The board says that mid-term report cards will not be issued for all secondary students, including graduating students, as per ministry direction.
Mid-term report cards
Mid-term marks will only be provided to graduating (grade 12) students and will be reported to the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) by April 23, 2020. Teachers will email mid-term marks directly to grade 12 students, and reach out by phone to those who may not yet have access to technology.
Mid-term marks will reflect work completed up until March 13, 2020. However, assessments completed under distance learning conditions can be used to improve marks.
The board says teachers may provide opportunities for students to submit a missed and/or additional assignment to demonstrate their learning, adding that teachers can adjust the weighting of assigned tasks in their determination of a mark if needed.
The board says that all school boards will issue final report cards, including the kindergarten communication of learning, for all students in June 2020.
Final report cards:
Kindergarten Communication of Learning
The Kindergarten Communication of Learning will be based on educators’ observations of key learning and growth in learning prior to March 13, 2020. Teachers may choose to include comments on growth in learning demonstrated during the school closure period when it is to the child’s benefit.
Grades 1 to 8
Final grades and marks will reflect work completed and evaluation information gathered before March 13, 2020. Evidence of learning between now and June may be used to improve final grades in a subject area.
Grades 9 to 12
Final marks will be reported in June 2020 and will be based on work completed until March 13, 2020, and after April 6, 2020. Only demonstrated improvements in learning will be taken into consideration when assessing a final mark.
The board says tasks will be assessed with a focus on improving student grades, given that distance learning is not an environment that is conducive to learning for all. That said, the board says that students could lose their credits if they do not complete assignments or complete required tasks.
The board says that for students enrolled in Civics and Citizenship and Career Studies half-credit courses in the second semester, their final mark will be based on work completed as of March 13, 2020.
Teachers will email final marks for the completed half-credit course directly to students.
As far as graduations go, the Ministry of Education says that no student will have their graduation compromised by COVID-19.
For more information on distance learning, and for COVID-19 updates, please visit www.peelschools.org/coronavirus