I just wanted to give you a quick update on where we are at with the pilot of our district writing assessment. Last night, I concluded grade level meetings where I met with language arts teachers across the district to talk about the pilot task, its assessment, and how it could benefit us and our students.
The feedback that I have received has been invaluable as we have looked at and tweaked the task to be what our teachers perceive to be a task that will allow our students to produce their best writing so that we can determine where they are at in their learning and what we can do to help them further their learning. As a result of the feedback I have received, I have made a number of modifications to the task itself, but have also considered the many other aspects of issuing a district wide assessment - things such as administration rules, when and how it will be administered, and to what extent should we focus on narrative writing versus expository or functional writing in the future.
Based on the discussions we have had, I feel that we are in a good place. I say this because I feel that the teachers in this district are positive and willing to work together to grow professionally, and to optimize learning for our students. I get the sense that teachers are prepared to work together and improve together, and that all it will take is the opportunity to do so (which is why we will be having a group marking session on May 23rd). I also get the sense that once we administer the pilot task, we will get even more feedback from teachers and be able to finalize something that we can use for years to come in gathering important information on where are students are with their writing and what we can do to help them.
I have also been meeting with other districts to discuss literacy and the upcoming curriculum redesign and SLAs that will be introduced to the province in the coming years. I get the sense that no matter what is released, and expected of us as educators in this province, we have the ability to create and administer things locally for the benefit of our students. This district writing assessment will do just that. It will allow us to come together to discuss and reflect on what we teach, how we teach it, and how we mark the work our students do... all working together towards best practice in our classrooms. I foresee lots of benefits coming from this pilot and/or future district wide initiative and I get the sense that many of you feel the same way.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have further questions, concerns, or comments related to the process that we are currently going through as we continue to finalize the pilot assessment and get it administered to our students.
P.S. Information will still be forthcoming as I finalize the task and the details surrounding its administration in late May.