Report card pilot project underway

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Study includes Innisfail Middle School

INNISFAIL – A pilot project examining a new approach to reporting on student achievement is now underway at five middle schools in the Chinook’s Edge School Division.

The project involves students in Grade 5 to Grade 8 at schools in Innisfail, Olds, Delburne, Penhold and Sylvan Lake.

Lissa Steele, the associate superintendent of learning services, is involved in the project. She explained that preliminary work on the project actually started last year.

“We also did a survey a year ago where we had 500 parents across Chinook’s Edge respond around what do you want in a report card,” said Steele. “And so we are doing our best to respond to what they asked of us. For example, they asked for report cards with parent-friendly language.

“Part of the challenge in the past was they used to get three pages of outcomes from the program of studies and they didn’t really know what that means. So we’ve tried to make it parent friendly.

“We are using per cents, which is new for some of our schools, because over the years we’ve moved away from that. We heard from our parents that that’s what they wanted, so that’s what we’ve done for our core subject areas.”

She explained that every school in the division currently has its own style of report card.

“So this is the start of creating a Chinook’s Edge report card,” she said. “We are looking at consistency across our schools in our district.

“We are working with these middle schools to see what report cards could look like.”

A first survey of students, parents and teachers involved in the project has now been conducted.

“We just sent out the first report card at the beginning of December, so we are right in the middle of getting feedback from our students, our parents and our teachers,” she said.

“We’ve asked about the format of the report card. We’ve asked them if it has helped them understand the strengths and challenges for their kids. We’ve asked if it’s clear.”

The results will be examined by project organizers to see what changes or improvements might be made, she said.

“When we get back in January we will correlate that data and see what it says and then we’ll share the results with our parents and kids,” she said.

“The board hasn’t asked yet, but I’m assuming they would want to know how it’s going.”

The pilot project is using the PowerTeacherPro computer platform to manage classroom grading.

“A parent can also go into PowerTeacherPro on their phone so they can dig into the teacher’s grade book to see the assignments, to see if assignments are missing or if assignments are late,” she said.

“We are using the new platform and eventually all of our high schools will use PowerTeacherPro.”

Over 300 students and about 100 parents had already responded to the survey at press time.

The students will be involved in the project until June.

Lissa Steele, Chinook’s associate superintendent of learning services

“So this is the start of creating a Chinook’s Edge report card.”

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The Innisfail Province has been the source for news and community information in Innisfail and area since 1902.