We started our class today with a video-conferencing session with Ian Landy, the principal at Edgehill Elementary School in Powell River. The experience of a class-wide video conferencing session was a new one for me, and I was completely unaware that entire rooms for these sessions even existed at UVIC.
The session with Ian was incredibly informative and engaging. He discussed formative assessment, and the issues that exist with using traditional forms of assessment to assess key competencies. He discussed the importance appreciating the process of learning, rather than just the final product, which is something that has come up in various courses throughout these past few months. Traditional grading methods fail to take the entirety of the learning process into account, which is not compatible with BC’s new curriculum and the shift to student-centred, inquiry-based learning.
To assess learning, Ian uses e-portfolios, and has not used traditional letter grades for the past thirteen years. The personalization of these portfolios means that students are able to showcase their learning in a way where they have ownership, making them a part of the ‘learning journey’. Each student’s portfolio can look different, and the assignments that may be included in one e-portfolio do not have to match the assignments included in the next student’s. This puts an emphasis on students’ personal growth, and allows them to see their journey and where they are going next. Due to the digital nature of the portfolio, there are various ways to show student learning, through photos of their work, but also through videos and audio-clips of speaking, learning, and creating.
There are various e-portfolio platforms that can make this type of formative assessment possible. While working back at home as an Education Assistant, I have seen FreshGrade being used in many of the classrooms. FreshGrade is the most commonly used platform in BC schools, but there are various options, all with their own benefits. I have linked a few of the ones mentioned by Ian below:
I found this session with Ian to be very enlightening. I am really excited about the changes to BC’s curriculum, and I enjoy learning about different methods of assessment that will be beneficial to both educators and students. I look forward to looking more into these platforms, and I really appreciate the connection that we were able to make with Ian today! I have attached links to his Twitter and to his blog, both of which are filled with great resources!