At Inspira Academy, we believe that the purpose of all assessments and evaluations is to improve student learning, and this is what drives all of our work. All of our assessment and evaluation policies follow the Ontario Ministry of Education guidelines. These can be found in the Ministry’s Growing Success document.
Assessment and Evaluation are based on Learning Skills as well as Knowledge & Skills which are based on the following seven Fundamental Principles as outlined in Growing Success.
To ensure that assessment, evaluation, and reporting are valid and reliable and that they lead to the improvement of learning for all students, teachers use practices and procedures that:
• Are fair, transparent, and equitable for all students;
• Support all students, including those with special education needs, those who are learning the language of instruction (English or French), and those who are First Nation, Métis, or Inuit;
• Are carefully planned to relate to the curriculum expectations and learning goals and, as much as possible, to the interests, learning styles and preferences, needs, and experiences of all students;
• Are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the school year or course and at other appropriate points throughout the school year or course;
• Are ongoing, varied in nature, and administered over a period of time to provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
• Provide ongoing descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful, and timely to support improved learning and achievement;
• Develop students’ self-assessment skills to enable them to assess their own learning, set specific goals and plan the next steps for their learning.
Learning Skills include Responsibility, Organization, Independent Work, Collaboration, Initiative, Self-Regulation. While some of these are more of a challenge than others in an online learning environment, at Inspira Academy we strive to ensure that we are building student capacity in all areas. These Learning Skills are also included on students’ official report cards as assessed by their course teachers, appearing under the following assessment rubrics:
N= Needs Improvement
Knowledge & Skills: These follow four main categories as defined by the Ministry of Education.
- Knowledge and Understanding: Subject-specific content acquired in each grade/course (knowledge), and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding)
- Thinking/Inquiry: The use of critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes.
- Communication: The conveying of meaning through various forms.
- Application: The use of knowledge and skills to make connections within and between various contexts
Student assessments and evaluations in all Inspira Academy courses follow the following four above categories. Students will be given multiple opportunities to show their learning through a variety of learning activities that are centered around them. Student learning is assessed and evaluated using a tripartite method of Observations, Conversations, and Products. In most cases courses will have a relatively even distribution of K, T/I, C, A, but their cumulative weight may vary slightly from course to course.
Tests & Assignments
Tests and assignments will account for 70% of a student’s course grade (with 30% for Exams/Summative Tasks). Throughout a given course, students will have an opportunity to show their learning by completing tests or quizzes on the online platform through their course portal.
Assignments in any given course can include but are not limited to, online discussion posts, research papers, essays, labs, learning vlogs (video posts), projects, presentations, and video conferencing with the course teacher. At Inspira Academy, we believe it is important for students to be able to demonstrate their learning in different ways. Thus, an emphasis is placed on offering a wide range of engaging assignment types. The final 70% of a student’s grade is based on their most consistent level of achievement (see Achievement Chart below), with strong consideration given to their most recent work as well.
Final Exams and Summative Tasks
Final Exams and Summative (Culminating) Tasks will generally account for 30% of a student’s final grade. In some cases, a course might only have a final exam worth 30% of the grade, whereas in other cases the 30% might be split between an exam and a summative task, or maybe only for a summative task if there is no final exam in the course. Summative or Culminating tasks are large projects that allow a student to demonstrate their learning of the main content and ideas communicated in a course. These projects can take different forms, from making a game to an exit interview with the teacher.
Accommodations will be based on a student’s IEP (Individual Education Plan). Accommodations can include:
- Extra time
- Extra handouts and/or formula sheets
The Achievement Chart & Levels
The Achievement Chart shows the levels of possible achievement by a student as well as the corresponding percentage grade that a teacher will use to grade a student’s achievement of the overall curriculum expectations and for the student’s report card. Teachers will assess student work using the achievement levels below, often with a (+) or (-).
4(80 – 100%)
Demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with a high degree of achievement and surpasses the provincial standard. This does not mean that the student has achieved expectations beyond those specified for the grade/course.
3(70 – 79%)
Demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with considerable effectiveness. This represents the provincial standard for achievement. Students achieving at level 3 are prepared for work in subsequent grades or courses.
2 (60 – 69%)
Demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with some effectiveness. Achievement approaches the provincial standard. Students performing at this level need to work on identified learning gaps to ensure future success.
1 (50 – 59%)
Demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with limited effectiveness. Achievement falls much below the provincial standard. Students must work at significantly improving learning in specific areas if they are to be successful in the next grade/course.
R (Below 50%)
Has not demonstrated achievement of curriculum expectations. No credit granted.
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) & Credit Equivalency
All PLAR assessment done by Inspira Academy is in accordance with the Ministry of Education requirements and involves two components: challenge & equivalency. Below are some relevant details about the PLAR process taken directly from Ministry documents. More detailed information is available at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/.
- The “challenge” process is the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a Grade 10, 11, or 12 courses developed from a provincial curriculum policy document published in 1999 or later.
- The “equivalency” process is the process of assessing credentials from other jurisdictions.
- All credits granted through the PLAR process; that is, through either the challenge process or the equivalency process, a student must represent the same standards of achievement as credits granted to students who have taken the courses.
- Students may challenge for credit only for Grade 10, 11, and 12 courses in provincial curriculum policy documents. (See OSS, section 6.6.)
- Students may earn no more than four credits through the challenge process, including a maximum of two credits in any one discipline.5 (See OSS, section 6.6.)
Credit Equivalency: International Students & Home-School students
Students who are eligible for equivalency credits are those who transfer to Ontario secondary schools from non-inspected private schools or schools outside Ontario. Equivalency credits are granted for placement only. The principal of the receiving school will, in the process of deciding where the student should be placed, determine as equitably as possible the total credit equivalency of the student’s previous learning, and the number of compulsory and optional credits still to be earned.
Additional resources to support the PLAR process for mature students are available on the CESBA website at https://cesba.com/resources/plar-for-mature-students-resources/. For a brief video from CESBA, click here.