When students are placed in age-appropriate groups for instruction, parents can become confused about the distinction between the grade in which their child is placed (the instructional group) and the grade level of the various subject areas at which their child is actually working. For example, the child is placed in a Grade 4 class while working at approximately the Grade 3 level in English language arts and literature. Where such confusion exists, parents can misinterpret information regarding their child’s progress.
They may think that indications of satisfactory progress are made with reference to the instructional group the child is in rather than to the actual grade level at which the child is working. The Assessment as the Basis for Communicating Individual Student Achievement provision is intended to reduce this type of confusion and to support the professional responsibilities of teachers to provide clear communication in describing student progress.
Teachers shall ensure that information is effectively communicated to parents about:
- their child’s knowledge, understanding and skills developed through a set of learning outcomes as referenced in programs of study/curriculum
- how well their child is doing in each subject
- the grade level(s) the child has achieved in relation to the grade levels of the provincial programs of study/curriculum for English language arts and literature, and/or language arts, and mathematics
The provision does not restrict the communicating of student achievement to written reports, nor does it require schools to use a particular type of instructional grouping or placement policy.
Teachers should communicate the grade levels at which they judge a student to be working, in at least the two specified subject areas of the curriculum. The basis for their professional judgement in these matters also needs to be clear so that parents can readily understand how student learning has been assessed.
Principals determine how to implement this provision, in consultation with teachers, parents and school councils and in a manner consistent with any related school jurisdiction policies. The communication can take place in a wide variety of ways, including parent–teacher conferences, assessment portfolios, report cards or student work samples. Many methods can be chosen for implementing this provision, but often face‑to‑face methods are the most successful for achieving clear and open communication.
All of the assessment information should be shared, not only with parents, but also with students when it is in the students’ best interest to do so. Communicating with students about their levels of achievement is particularly important when students are planning their future courses and making program choices.
To assist teachers in assessing student achievement in relation to provincial achievement standards, Alberta Education has released samples of complete Provincial Achievement Tests in all testing areas. These released provincial achievement tests contain the questions, key and other pertinent material about each test and are available on Alberta.ca. Writing examples are also available on Alberta.ca.
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