EBUS Academy SD#91 Nechako Lakes

I. General Information

School Name: EBUS Academy

School District: SD#91 Nechako Lakes

Inquiry Team Members: Elizabeth Bennett: ebennett@sd91.bc.ca, Mia Moutray: mmoutray@sd91.bc.ca, Stephanie Sedgwick: ssedgwick@sd91.bc.ca, Deborah Koehn: dkoehn@sd91.bc.ca, Jacqueline Soles: jsoles@sd91.bc.ca, David Mills: dmills@sd91.bc.ca, Tyler Clark: tclark@sd91.bc.ca, Roberta Toth: rtoth@sd91.bc.ca, Sonya Zurevinski: szurevinski@sd91.bc.ca

Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Tyler Clark/tclark@sd91.bc.ca

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7), Secondary (8-12)

Curricular Areas Addressed:

  • Other: Assessment

Focus Addressed:

  • First Peoples Principles of Learning
  • Formative assessment
  • Growth mindset
  • Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can assessment be used to promote student success and over-all well being?

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Click here to watch a PowerPoint that summarizes our Inquiry in a 3-minute presentation we did for the SD91 Celebration of Learning.

Scanning: We used the four key questions to survey students. Teachers in brick and mortar schools interviewed students and recorded student responses. Online teachers created a survey and placed it in their course, requiring students to click on the link in order to access the survey. We noticed that most students indicated their parents supported them and some students indicated that a teacher believed in them. Most students could state what success meant to them, but many students could only minimally articulate the big ideas. Most strikingly, students had only vague suggestions as to how they could improve their learning.

Focus: We decided that a focus on assessment could help students see their teachers as allies in learning, help them better connect to the big ideas and help learners to understand where they were in the learning journey. The intent was to reintroduce the joy and wonder of learning rather by gathering evidence of learning throughout the process than focusing on the chapter test as a singular event.

Hunch: We believed that assessment practices promoted a one and done mindset where ticking the box was more important than learning. Furthermore, we felt that tests stood as barriers between students and teachers which did not allow all students to say that they had a teacher that believed in them.

New Professional Learning: We used Katie White’s book, Softening the Edges, and Peter Liljedahl’s book, Building thinking classrooms in Mathematics K-12, as resources. We leaned heavily on the second resource and had discussions about Formative and Summative assessment over the course of 6 meetings via TEAMS, where we also discussed how things were going for us and our learners. We also provided videos by Peter Liljedahl discussing his research findings regarding formative and summative assessment.

Taking Action: Several of the team members implemented the navigation map that Peter Liljedahl describes in his book noted above. One version of the navigation map had additional reflection questions inspired by the Spiral of /Inquiry questions.

Checking: As learners progressed through the chapters/units, we found that students were better able to connect to the big ideas and had more concrete ideas of what subtopics they needed to work on. As a result, teachers knew to make targeted interventions to support learning. This work required a shift in mindset from point gathering to evidence gathering on the part of the teachers and students alike.

Reflections/Advice: While we are content with the number of teachers involved across the district in this assessment inquiry, more progress can be made. The shift from point gathering to evidence gathering is a big one for both teachers and students, as well as parents. We learned that teachers need regularly scheduled (monthly) meetings so that they can plan to attend. Additionally, a professional learning partner may help bridge the gaps between meetings. This is brave work and it is helpful to have someone to lean on. Most importantly for teams with a similar interest, get started and stay the course. Meaningful change takes time. We will to continue this study next year.

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