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Growing Success

What you need to know about assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario schools

"The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning."

Processes around assessment, evaluation and reporting are governed by Ministry of Education and board policies. In April 2010, the ministry published Growing Success, a policy document that directs the assessment, evaluation and reporting of student achievement in Ontario schools, from grades 1 to 12. Growing Success aims to update, clarify and co-ordinate ministry policy, and achieve fairness, transparency, equity and consistency across the province.

For more information about Growing Success in Peel schools, read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

How are students assessed?

Assessment is the process of gathering, from a variety of sources, information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectation in a subject or course. In the classroom, there are three types of assessment:
  • Assessment as learning - students are actively engaged in this assessment process—that is, they monitor their own learning, use assessment feedback from teacher, self and peers to determine next steps, and set individual learning goals.
  • Assessment for learning - the ongoing process of gathering and interpreting evidence about student learning for the purpose of determining where students are in their learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there. The information gathered is used by teachers to provide feedback and to differentiate instruction appropriately.
  • Assessment of learning - the process of collecting and interpreting evidence for the purpose of summarizing learning at a given point in time, to make judgments about the quality of student learning on the basis of established criteria, and to assign a value to represent that quality. The information gathered may be used to communicate the student’s achievement to parents, other teachers, students themselves, and others. Learning is summarized in the form of a level, grade and/or percentage mark to be communicated to parents in a formal way on the report card.

Learning Skills and Work Habits

Learning Skills and Work Habits allow students to know how to learn more effectively, develop their potential as independent learners and take ownership over their own learning. Learning skills and work habits help students to prepare for learning and working in the 21st Century.While strong Learning Skills and Work Habits do contribute to a student’s ability to be successful at school, they are evaluated separately from student achievement of course expectations.

Learning Skills and Work HabitsSample Behaviours
Responsibility The student:
  • fulfils responsibilities and commitments within the learning environment
  • completes and submits class work, homework, and assignments according to agreed-upon timelines
  • takes responsibility for and manages own behaviour
Organization The student:
  • devises and follows a plan and process for completing work and tasks
  • establishes priorities and manages time to complete tasks and achieve goals
  • identifies, gathers, evaluates, and uses information, technology, and resources to complete tasks
Independent Work The student:
  • independently monitors, assesses, and revises plans to complete tasks and meet goals/li>
  • uses class time appropriately to complete tasks
  • follows instructions with minimal supervision
Collaboration The student:
  • accepts various roles and an equitable share of work in a group;
  • responds positively to the ideas, opinions, values, and traditions of others
  • builds healthy peer-to-peer relationships through personal and media-assisted interactions
  • works with others to resolve conflicts and build consensus to achieve group goals
  • shares information, resources, and expertise and promotes critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions
Initiative The student:
  • looks for and acts on new ideas and opportunities for learning
  • demonstrates the capacity for innovation and a willingness to take risks
  • demonstrates curiosity and interest in learning
  • approaches new tasks with a positive attitude
  • recognizes and advocates appropriately for the rights of self and others
Self-regulation The student:
  • sets own individual goals and monitors progress towards achieving them
  • seeks clarification or assistance when needed
  • assesses and reflects critically on own strengths, needs, and interests
  • identifies learning opportunities, choices, and strategies to meet personal
  • needs and achieve goals
  • perseveres and makes an effort when responding to challenges

How will my teen be evaluated?

Evaluation is the process of judging the quality of student learning on the basis of established criteria and assigning a value to represent that quality. It is based on assessments of learning that provide data on student achievement at strategic times throughout the grade/subject/course, often at the end of a period of learning.

Teachers gather evidence of student learning taken from observations, conversations and student products (e.g. such as reports, projects, tests, exams and assignments) over time and use this evidence along with professional judgment to determine students’ grades. Determining a report card grade involves teacher interpretation of evidence and should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement, with special consideration given to more recent evidence. These evaluations form the basis of report card grades or marks, and are made so that progress can be communicated to students and parents.

How often does reporting take place?

Reporting is the process of communicating with parents and students about student learning. Report cards are one part of continuous communication that provides students and parents with descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful and timely to support improved learning and achievement. Mid-term reports are issued once in the middle of each semester. Final report cards are issued at the end of each of the two terms—in February and in June.

Here are the different levels of achievement included on report cards:

Level*ScalePercentageLevels of Achievement
Level 4 4+

4-
95 –100%
87– 94%
80 – 86%
Level 4 identifies achievement that surpasses the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with a high degree of effectiveness. However, achievement at level 4 does not mean that the student has achieved expectations beyond those specified for the grade/course.
Level 3 3+

3-
77 – 79%
74 – 76%
70 – 73%
Level 3 represents the provincial standard for achievement. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with considerable effectiveness. Students achieving at level 3 can be confident of being prepared for work in subsequent grades/courses.
Level 2 2+

2-
67 – 69%
64 – 66%
60 – 63%
Level 2 represents achievement that approaches the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with some effectiveness. Students performing at this level need to work on identified learning gaps to ensure future success.
Level 1 1+

1-
57 – 59%
54 – 56%
50 – 53%
Level 1 represents achievement that falls much below the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with limited effectiveness. Students must work at significantly improving learning in specific areas, as necessary, if they are to be successful in the next grade/course.
Final 30% Evaluation In Grades 9-12, failure to complete a 30% Final Evaluation does not automatically result in the loss of a credit. Final decisions around granting a credit are made by the principal/vice-principal in consultation with the subject teacher.
I In Grades 9-10, the code "I" may be used to indicate that insufficient evidence is available to determine a letter grade or a percentage mark. The report card comment indicates the reason for assigning an "I".
W In Grades 9-12, the code "W" indicates that the student has withdrawn from the course.
*Schools can establish and use mid-points for marks to promote equity and fairness in grading practices.

For Grades 9 to 12, a final grade (percentage mark) is recorded for every course. The final grade is determined as follows:

  • Seventy per cent of a secondary student’s grade will be based on evaluation conducted throughout the course. This portion of the grade should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement throughout the course, although special consideration should be given to more recent evidence of achievement.
  • Thirty per cent of a secondary student’s grade will be based on a final evaluation administered at or towards the end of the course. This evaluation will be based on evidence from one or a combination of the following: an examination, a performance, an essay, and/or another method of evaluation suitable to the course content. The final evaluation allows the student an opportunity to demonstrate comprehensive achievement of the overall expectations for the course

What does an "I" mean on the report card?

When students receive an "I" on their report card, this means there is insufficient evidence of learning and, therefore, no percentage mark can be given. If an "I" is given on the final report card, this means that the credit cannot be granted to the student. An "I" may be given to students in Grades 9 and 10 only.

Teachers use their professional judgement to decide whether using an "I" will be in the best interest of the student. If an “I” is given on the report card, there will be a report card comment explaining the reason for doing so.

How are late or missed assignments assessed?

When students do not submit products to the teacher, there is no evidence for teacher to assess. Similarly, when students do not submit products in a timely manner to the teacher, assessing or judging the evidence can be a problem, especially when teachers have deadlines for reporting to parents. Student products that are plagiarized also fail to provide any evidence of student achievement.

If students have not provided evidence of their learning before evaluation takes place, teachers may use a zero as a placeholder in their mark book. A zero provides teachers with an opportunity to discuss with the student and parent the student’s obligation to provide evidence of learning and for the student to be responsible for their learning. A zero may also be used to assign value to student work where the student has plagiarised or cheated until the student has demonstrated his or her learning.

When student assignments are being evaluated, teachers may also use their professional judgement to assign a zero or deduct marks, up to the full value of the assignment. However, teachers must ensure that the assignment of a zero or mark deduction will not distort or misrepresent a student’s overall or actual achievement on the mark on the report card and teachers must take all available evidence into account from observations, conversations and student products collected over time.

Who can I talk to about my teen’s progress?

Report cards are one aspect of ongoing communication between home and school. As always, we encourage you to discuss concerns and questions with your teen’s teachers at any time.

Learn more

Please contact your teen’s principal if you have any questions. For a copy of Growing Success, visit the ministry website.
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