Posted by: kbater | November 10, 2010

Grades, Assessment for Learning – What makes sense?

This is a short video that illustrates how we can get confused about what constitutes good assessment practices, and the impact of grading on learning.  At Canadian Rockies Public Schools we are using the Assessment for Learning process to shift our understanding and practice around assessment. There are many streams of thought on assessment, grading and how they impact learning and CRPS is using research to inform our practice.

A key part of this is how teachers and schools communicate with students and parents through report cards and parent/teacher interviews. Our schools are in a round of parent/teacher interviews right now and so there is lots of talk about what’s working and what’s not working.  These discussions are crucial to build understanding and collaboration between teachers, students, and parents.

Teacher Sandra Duggleby at Lawrence Grassi Middle School has written an excellent explanation of  how important goal-setting is for students as part of the assessment cycle.

Goal Setting Interviews at Lawrence Grassi Middle School



  1. Hi Kim,

    Your video makes a number of important points about assessment for learning.
    1. The importance of specific feedback for learning
    2. The ability for all learners to improve
    3. The problem with current grading practices

    What I was left wondering about with your analogy to football is:
    1. Could the coach have provided the novice player with some strong exemplars of what a powerful, expert performance looked like and then work with the novice player to deconstruct that performance? Then provide the novice player with some specific areas to focus upon. Now the novice player has clear criteria and targets (goals) to guide effortful practice. He also is not apt to confuse improvement with merely the ability to beat the other, initially better, player.

  2. Thanks for this Sharon, yes I agree with you. The Coaches lack of clarity does leave lots of room for confusion and this increases the possibility that players will make up their own story about what is happening. This is human nature as we need to make sense of what is happening around us.

  3. […] Grades, Assessment for Learning – What makes sense? November 2010 2 comments […]

  4. Hi Kim,

    Just wanted to clarify that the article on Assessment for Learning – What makes sense? was actually written by our assessment resident Sandy Duggleby. It was not writen by myself or Alysa. She was so gracious enough to let us publish it in our school newsletter. This article was written on the research that she did on goal setting. I agree however, it is a great article. Just wanted to make sure she gets the credit for her excellent work. Thanks Kim and we will all continue the journey of assessment for learning.
    Brian Wityshyn.

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