Innovative Approaches to School, District, and Provincial Assessment by znw65712


									                 Raising and Levelling Canada’s Learning Bar
     A Seminar on Innovative Approaches to School and District Assessment
                                          by Dr. Douglas Willms
                                Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy
International tests indicate that, on average, Canada’s children are relatively good at mastering the knowledge and
skills needed to succeed in the modern world. But how can they raise their performance further, and how can the wide
disparities between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds be reduced? Policy interventions need to
address what is happening to our children as they grow up, both within and outside of school.
Professor Douglas Willms, Director of the Canadian
Research Institute for Social Policy at the University of New
Brunswick, has used socioeconomic gradients, or the                                                 Raising and Levelling the Learning Bar
learning bar, as a framework for evaluating school and
district effectiveness, and for using monitoring data to make

                                                                           Student's Performance
decisions about what policies and interventions are most
likely to improve performance and reduce inequalities. In this
one-day seminar he will describe the learning bar approach                                                           ren
and present ten policy levers that can be used by school
and district leaders to “raise and level the learning bar”.
Most monitoring systems furnish general information about
children’s skills as they enter school and at various points
during their school career. These data are useful for tracking                 Student's Socioeconomic Status
the progress of students on key outcomes, and for
                                                                Students from all backgrounds improve their performance, while those
identifying departures from widely established norms.            from less advantaged backgrounds show the largest improvement.
However, they are not particularly useful for teachers or
school and district administrators, who require timely
information to help them develop school and district interventions, discern which students require targeted
interventions to succeed, and set priorities for action. Dr. Willms will introduce participants to two innovative
approaches to assessment that have proven useful to teachers and school administrators for local evaluations: the
Early Years Evaluation and Tell Them From Me.
The Early Years Evaluation (EYE) ( ) is an assessment instrument that has been
used in a number of countries to assist educators in assessing the skills of children, ages 4 to 6, as they prepare for
and make the transition to school. It covers the five domains identified by the 17-state partnership as key to
understanding children’s early development (see ). The EYE is innovative in that
it provides pre-school and kindergarten teachers a means for reliably assessing each of their students using an on-line
instrument. The EYE results are scored immediately, and teachers are sent a report that helps them identify which
children should be considered for targeted support or intensive intervention. The EYE data can be aggregated to the
school and district levels, and supplemented with the EYE direct assessment, which is conducted by trained testers.
The EYE costs as little as a dollar per child for the on-line teacher assessment, which is much less than many other
instruments used for monitoring early childhood outcomes.
Tell Them From Me (TTFM) ( ) is a dynamic web-based evaluation system designed to
meet the ongoing needs of teachers, principals, and school district administrators. A unique feature of Tell Them From
Me is that a random selection of grade 6 to 12 students from each school completes the survey each week. The
Student Survey results are updated daily, creating a System for Continuous Feedback, enabling school and district
staff to assess whether school reforms and interventions are having their intended effect. Together with the optional
Teacher Survey, the system assesses five student outcomes and ten of the most important aspects of a school's
learning climate.

                                                    Location and Dates
                                                                                                   Cost:        $150 per person
Calgary, Alberta                         September 28, 2005
                                                                                                                Lunch and coffee breaks
Richmond, British Columbia               September 30, 2005                                        Includes:
                                                                                                                Copies of all seminar materials
Toronto, Ontario                              October 7, 2005
                                                                                                   Contact:     Beth Fairbairn:
Halifax, Nova Scotia                        October 14, 2005
                                                                                                   Enrollment is Limited

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