Throughout the years I have written numerous articles on the power of planners and their ability to assist educators in realizing their vision. In these blogs, I have stressed the importance of planners that are fluid and have the capability to change over time, planners that are individualized and consider a teacher’s position (mainstream, specialist, support, etc.) and class composition (split-grade, multi-level, etc.), and planners that are directly in-line with one’s desired outcomes. Always in the back of my mind during the entire time I have been writing these articles was the question of how to best develop a software program that would allow educators to easily design customized templates that meet all three of the above criteria. I am now happy to share that the software is in the works and ESBPlanners will be available in 2022!
While there are currently many planning tools available to teachers, what separates ESBPlanners from all the rest is its ability to help a teacher to easily design, customize, share and store templates! Some of the software’s key features enable teachers to:
These are but a few highlights outlining what ESBPlanners will offer educators. Stayed tuned for its upcoming release next year!
In a previous article, I questioned the current choices for assessing students on IEPs who are being graded using BC’s four-point provincial proficiency scale: the first option would be to evaluate students at grade level and the second would be to evaluate students at the grade level they are working at – neither solution is ideal. And this got me thinking that perhaps it isn’t a question of either-or but rather a combination of both in the form of a dual-tracking reporting system, for lack of a better term.
If a school were to choose a dual-tracking reporting system, not much in the way of an existing template would need to change, only the addition of another column so that both the progress for the student’s existing grade level and the one they are working at could be displayed. In doing so, a student on an IEP would not be discouraged as in addition to seeing “Emerging” in subject areas where they weren’t working at grade level, they would also be able to see “Proficient” in those same subject areas to reflect progress that has been made. Taking things one step further, additional space could be provided so that learning support staff could add their comments explaining the student’s progress at the grade level they are working at. And when all this is put together it could look like the generalized template below:
Providing teachers with the option to report on student progress using a dual-tracking reporting system allows for flexibility with the types of assignments that are given to learners in class as they can be challenged at grade level and/or the level they are working at in any given subject area. As for high school students who may want to pursue some form of post-secondary option, a dual-tracking reporting system also provides a clearer picture to the institutions they apply to about where they are in terms of grade levels and achievement.
This is one solution to the issue of assessing students on IEPs but it certainly isn’t the only one. All thoughts are welcome, feel free to share any solutions you may have!
During a recent conversation with some teachers at my daughter’s school, the subject of students on IEPs and reporting came up and there was confusion around whether they should be assessed at grade level or at the grade level they are working at, because there’s a difference and each carries its own repercussions.
If we are to assess students on IEPs at grade level, this means that regardless of their effort the most likely outcome for them is to be marked as “emerging” on B.C.’s Proficiency Scale in all affected subject areas. Which could mean that depending on how many grade levels behind a student is in the affected subject area(s), there is a very real chance that throughout their learning journey they will only ever be marked as “emerging”. To take things a step further, this may mean that assignments given to them, even though scaffolded or differentiated, may still not be reflective of their true grade level, which could result in a student being given assignments that are too difficult for them.
On the other hand, if we assess the student at the grade level the student is working at, a teacher can give a grade other than “emerging”. For example, a grade 6 student who is at a grade 3 level in reading and writing can be given assignments reflective of where they are at learning-wise and can be assigned a grade of “proficient” at the third-grade level based on their efforts and understanding. While this way of thinking works well in the lower grades, it becomes trickier to implement when assessing high-school students for post-secondary education.
While I can understand the validity of both positions, it seems clearer guidance is needed for teachers and a better solution to resolving the problem of students on IEPs and reporting; as it stands, either a child may be consistently marked as “emerging” throughout their schooling or they may find themselves in grade 12 and working at a grade 10 level in affected subject areas without a clear path to catching up. Although I am unsure of the ideal solution to resolve this issue, what I do know is that in the best interest of students, it’s time for a discussion.
Check out a possible solution in our next article: Are Dual-Tracking Report Cards the Answer?