Communicating Student Learning
Northbrook School, nurturing and family oriented, inspires each student to achieve personal excellence. We ensure diverse learning opportunities to foster growth and responsible citizenship with the active involvement of the community.
Northbrook School Communication Plan / Our Purpose:
Assessment, evaluation and the communication of
information about student learning are essential components of the educational
process. The purpose of the
Northbrook School Plan for Communicating Student Learning is to explain how we
intend to communicate with parents / guardians regarding these expectations for
students and about your childís progress in relation to these expectations.
We believe that a studentís success depends on the
collaborative efforts of all those involved in the childís education.
Students, teachers, and parents / guardians can all work effectively
together when they have a shared understanding of learning expectations and
outcomes, gained through effective communication between the home and school.
Assessment and evaluation of student learning at
Northbrook School follows the guidelines established by the Department of
Education, and the Halifax Regional School Board. The basis for the assessment and evaluation of student
learning will be the expected learning outcomes established by the Nova Scotia
Department of Education. The
Learning Outcomes Framework forms the basis for the P-12 school program in Nova
The Principles of Learning / How children learn:
Students construct knowledge and make it meaningful in terms of
their prior knowledge and experiences.
Learning is a process of actively constructing knowledge.
Learning is enhanced when it takes place in a social and collaborative environment
Students need to continue to view learning as an integrated whole.
Learners must see themselves as capable and successful.
Learners have different ways of knowing and representing
Reflection is an integral part of learning.
Learnings (EGLís) / What
The EGLís are statements describing the
knowledge, skills, and attitudes, expected of all students who graduate from
high school, and are meant to show the childís total educational experience.
Aesthetic Expression: Graduates will be
able to respond with critical awareness to various forms of the arts and
be able to express themselves through the arts.
Citizenship: Graduates will be able to assess social
cultural, economic, and environmental interdependence in a local and
Communication: Graduates will be able to use the listening,
viewing, speaking, reading, and writing modes of language(s) as well as
mathematical and scientific concepts and symbols to think, learn, and
Personal Development: Graduates will be
able to continue to learn and to pursue an active, healthy lifestyle.
Problem Solving: Graduates
will be able to use the strategies and processes needed to solve a wide variety
of problems, including those requiring language, mathematical and scientific
Graduates will be able to use a variety of technologies, demonstrate an
understanding of technological applications, and apply appropriate technologies
for solving problems.
The Department of Education publishes curriculum
guides that describe outcomes, or what students are expected to know and
be able to do upon completion of study in a particular curriculum area.
Teachers use the curriculum guides in planning, delivering and assessing
the outcomes for the learning activities they set up for the whole class, for
groups of children and for individuals.
Teachers are aware of the similarities and
differences among children and work to ensure that all children are challenged
at the appropriate level and therefore experience meaningful success.
Knowing where children are in relation to the expected learning outcomes
is essential to planning for success.
There are a number of ways parents/guardians can
become more knowledgeable about outcomes. These
include, but are not limited to:
--observing your childís school work
--asking your child about school
--asking your childís teacher about curriculum
--attending Curriculum Night and information sessions at the school
--reading the curriculum information provided by the School
--visiting the Nova Scotia Department of Education website
We use the word assessment to mean all the
ways teachers gather information about what students are learning and how they
are learning. Teachers use a
variety of methods because each method provides a certain kind of information
Ė valuable in some respects and limited in others. Teachers use a variety of methods of assessment to give
students multiple opportunities to demonstrate what they can do and what they
know. Using multiple and varied
opportunities to collect information about student achievement is called
Balanced Assessment. The
combination of information derived from different sources allows teachers to
come to conclusions with greater confidence in their validity.
Assessment tools (or methods of gathering
information about student learning) range from observing students in the
classroom, to gathering collections of their products, to requiring them to
perform certain tasks with limited supports and within time constraints.
Teachers do not necessarily use all of the methods for assessment with
each student, but in some combination to ensure a balanced assessment.
Your childís teacher would be pleased to discuss the variety of ways in
which he or she assesses student learning.
These include, but are not limited to:
Work Samples - collected and dated daily assignments.
Models - two or three dimensional representation or
Journals - informal writing shared among students and
Reports / Projects / Presentations - formal assignments which extend over a period of
time, and which demonstrate student understanding of a concept or topic.
Performances - skits, puppet shows, public speaking, debates,
plays, role-playing, singing and dance, instrumental music.
Tests / Quizzes - a time limited written or oral response to
questions on a specific concept.
Peer and Self Evaluation - Students assessing their own and other's work
using clear guidelines.
Observation / Anecdotal Records / Checklists - specific methods that support continuous
gathering of information on student learning.
Portfolios - a collection of student/teacher selected work
that portrays a student's effort, progress, and achievement over a period of
Student Lead Conferences - student presentation
of their learning to parents / guardians.
Goal Setting - collaborative process among students, teachers
and parents/guardians to establish goals the child will work towards over a
specified period of time.
Rubrics - identifies and describes the criteria used to assess student performance
Observation Survey - structured assessment activities giving evidence
of a child's reading ability.
Questioning - the use of question and answer strategies in
various settings to determine what a child knows.
Conferencing - discussion between student and teacher
regarding student accomplishments.
The information we gather on student learning has
several uses. The most immediate
use is to provide direction to the teacherís daily teaching plan.
We also use this information to evaluate student learning.
We use the word evaluation to mean the
processes of analyzing, weighing and balancing, summarizing information and
making judgments based on that information.
As in their planning, teachers use the learning outcomes framework in
making decisions about the learning achievements of individual children.
Students are evaluated in
relation to the expected learning outcomes for that grade level.
Evaluation requires teachers to use a high level of professional
Parents/guardians will be
informed of student learning in a variety of ways, some on a school wide basis
and others particular to individual classes and teachers.
If at any time, the standard forms for communicating are inappropriate
for you, please contact the school and we will assist you in better
understanding your childís achievement. (This
could mean bringing in an interpreter, or someone who can sign or an advocate
for the parent, etc.)
The variety of ways of
general communication may include, but are not limited to:
- Curriculum sessions
- Open houses
communication: journals, notebooks
used as a two-way communication vehicle, e-mail, phone calls, conferences, joint
- Monthly school and/or
class newsletters, calendars
- Work samples:
published stories, journals, projects, investigations, displays,
audio-visual recordings, writing folders, portfolios
- Reading activities:
reading at home programs, reading logs
regular assignments, projects, interactive activities for students /
parents / guardians
- Special events:
performances, concerts, contests, plays, visits
- Use of school / class
for Communication / Progress reports:
The school year is
organized into two terms and each term concludes with a progress report written
about your childís learning. The
first term ends in January and the second one ends in June.
The Halifax Regional
School Board has developed an Elementary Progress Report for all elementary
schools. This Progress Report uses
descriptive commentary and focuses on the individual studentís progress in
relation to the expected learning outcomes.
The Progress Report does not use letters or numerical grades, not does it
compare or contrast one student with others in the class.
Parents / guardians should
be aware that it is our practice to alert parents /guardians to our concerns
about the educational progress of a child. We believe that early identification of problems and timely
intervention is the most effective approach and that the parents / guardians
play an important part in supporting the child in addressing identified needs.
for Communication / Conferences:
There are two scheduled
parent /guardian /teacher conferences each year; one is in the Fall and the
other in the Spring. While it is
assumed that parents /guardians will attend planned conferencing times, we
understand that scheduling conflicts do occur.
Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the teacher at another
time to discuss their childís progress. The same step applies if the parent or teacher feels further
conferencing time is necessary.
There may be times when a
parent /guardian has a concern about some aspect of the curriculum or a concern
regarding the progress of his / her child.
Parents / guardians should first raise their concerns with the classroom
teacher. The teacher will respond
within a reasonable time. Please
remember that teachers are not able to meet on an impromptu basis, nor are they
able to discuss a studentís program or progress during instructional time,
which includes supervision duty as well as time spent meeting, greeting and
If the teacher and /or the
parents /guardians feel that the participation of the principal would help
clarify any concerns, the principal will meet with all involved, separately or
together as seems appropriate.
In all cases, it is
anticipated that the parties involved will work together in the spirit of mutual
respect to resolve any issues requiring clarification, while placing as the
first priority the best interests of the child.
Any conferencing should
relate to your child and your situation only; all other information is
We believe early
identification of student learning concerns and timely interventions provide the
most effective approach in meeting the needs of students.
While regular adaptations are a normal part of daily classroom routines,
parents will be informed before significant interventions or extra support takes
Northbrook School has an
established process for the identification, assessment and program planning for
students with special needs. Classroom
teachers, resource teachers and parents/guardians may initiate and / or assist
in identifying students with special needs or students who require extra
support. Parents are consulted and
written permission is required for any formal individual assessment and parents
are informed of the test results when the results become available.
In accordance with the
Nova Scotia Special Education Policy, when a student is identified as having
special needs, a referral is made to the school program planning team which will
begin the process of adapting programs and /or developing an Individual Program
Plan. The IPP will provide the
student with a specific plan to meet his / her appropriate learning outcomes.
The Program Planning Team consists of the principal, resource teacher, classroom
and one other teacher, as well as the childís parents.
The Northbrook School
Communication Plan will be reviewed every second year and this review will take
place in conjunction with the updating of the School Improvement Plan.
curriculum documents may be viewed at the school or accessed through the
government websites: http://doc-depot.ednet.ns.ca
The Halifax Regional
School Board policy on Student Assessment and Evaluation can be accessed by
visiting the Boardís website: www.hrsb.ns.ca
and selecting the Document Depot site.
Student Learning Communication Plan for 2001/2002:
-Parent Visitation from 2-4 and 5-8 pm
-Student Assessment and Evaluation Day (No Classes)
-First Term Progress Reports are sent home
-Parent Visitation from 2-4 and 5-8 pm
-Student Assessment and Evaluation Day (No classes)
-Student Assessment and Evaluation Day (No classes)
-Final term Progress Reports are sent home