Nakusp Secondary School SD#10 Arrow Lakes

I. General Information

School Name: Nakusp Secondary School

School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes

Inquiry Team Members: Tori Reid:, Julia Flesaker:

Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Tori Reid/

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Secondary (8-12)

Curricular Areas Addressed:

  • Mathematics / Numeracy
  • Science

Focus Addressed:

  • Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving)
  • Universal design for learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Shifting the focus of learning from content to skill development in senior maths and sciences.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: As a team, we recognized the similarities in curricular competencies across the senior math and science courses. The competencies highlighted transferable skills that students should be able to perform and transfer across subjects. We have seen our students be successful with skill building, and wanted to be more explicit about the “how, why and where” these skills are applied.

Focus: The majority of the senior students we were teaching had plans to attend post secondary, increasing the motivation to shift our focus to skill building in a way that set them up for success no matter the focus of their future studies. We were also given the opportunity to co-teach, allowing time and collaboration in a classroom setting.

Hunch: Previous assessment strategies and assessments in some other senior courses were focused on direct content knowledge, often a “memorize, write, forget” style of assessment.

New Professional Learning:

  • Julia attended the district Katie White assessment group.
  • Co-teaching to build off of each other and try new things. It was most helpful to have time to be together.

Taking Action:

  • Shifting from traditional exams to lab-based exams, focused on the skills built throughout the course. The final exam in Chemistry 12 and Science 8 were both skill-based.
  • Increasing the number of student-developed assessments, allowing for freedom of choice and students having a say in their own skill development. We gave less structured criteria – regarding what they needed to achieve – and focused more on what skills they already have and what they should try to develop further.

Checking: We believe that a skills focus was beneficial for the group of senior students we had this year. Many of them are attending post secondary next year, and we feel confident that they have the skills to be successful in whatever subject they are taking. The baseline was past assessments, and we were able to see growth in many skills. The biggest place we saw growth was independent resource gathering and synthesis. Many students were able to find information to answer and develop their own questions.

Reflections/Advice: There is never enough time. We would like to continue to expand our focus on skill-based learning.

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