Supporting your Child's Learning through Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting

The purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning

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Ontario students will bring home new and improved provincial report cards starting in the 2010-11 school year. These changes are part of Growing Success, the government's updated policy on the assessment, evaluation and reporting of student achievement.

What role do I have as a parent?

We know that you, as a parent or guardian, are vital partners in your child's education and that children do better at school when their parents are involved.

We know that you want clear, meaningful and understandable information about how your child is doing at school. We know you want to hear from your child's teacher regularly throughout the school year. This policy — with its new report cards — will help make that happen.

What is different for elementary students?

Beginning this school year, elementary students in Grades 1 to 8 will bring home a new fall progress report card and two revised provincial report cards, one in winter and one at the end of the school year.

The new fall progress report card:

  • encourages early and ongoing communication between you and your child's teacher
  • tells you how well your child is developing the learning skills and work habits we know are essential for success
  • continues to report on all academic subjects — such as language, math, social studies, science and technology — but instead of assigning a grade or mark, it will tell you how well your child is progressing: “very well”, “well” or “with difficulty”
  • highlights strengths and areas to improve before evaluations are completed
  • includes comments from your child's teacher that are personalized, clear and meaningful.

Essential Learning Skills and Work Habits

There are six learning skills and work habits now emphasized throughout Grades 1 to 12 in all Ontario report cards:

Independent Work
Self regulation

The improved elementary provincial report card:

  • also emphasizes and gives examples of the learning skills and work habits required
  • has ample space for teachers to add meaningful, clear and personalized comments so you can understand how your child is progressing
  • uses letter grades for Grades 1-6 and percentage marks for Grades 7-8 so you clearly understand how well your child is doing
  • provides suggestions on how you can support your child's education at home.

When will my child bring these elementary provincial report cards home?

There are three formal and required reporting periods for elementary grades.

  1. The new fall progress report card will be issued between October 20 and November 20.
  2. The first provincial report card will be issued between January 20 and February 20.
  3. The second provincial report card will be issued at the end of the school year.
  4. Exact dates are set by individual school boards.

Have the secondary provincial report cards changed?
Yes. Improvements to the secondary provincial report cards include:

  • more emphasis, with examples on the learning skills and work habits required
  • additional information about the different levels of achievement and how this corresponds to percentage marks
  • teachers' comments that are personalized, clear and meaningful.

When will secondary students bring provincial report cards home?
As in the past, semestered schools will send report cards home twice per semester. Non-semestered schools will issue a report card three times per year.

Exact dates are set by individual school boards.

Will teachers' comments be easy to understand?
Yes. All new report cards now include large spaces for teachers to add comments about what your child knows and can do. They can use the space to describe strengths and next steps for improvement as well as add their own observations and personalized comments.

Will I hear from my child's teacher at other times?
You should hear from your child's teacher regularly throughout the school year. Besides report cards, other types of communication include parent-teacher or parent-student-teacher conferences, interviews, phone calls, checklists and informal reports.

How do teachers determine my child's grades?
Teachers look at assignments, tests, exams, demonstrations and projects for evidence that your child is learning the curriculum.

This learning means more than just knowing the facts. Students must also show an understanding of what they are studying by communicating and applying what they have learned. They must also demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

All work is reviewed with special attention given to the quality of work at the end of a unit of study, term or semester. Teachers do not simply calculate averages. As well as looking at tests or assignments, they also talk to and observe your child in the classroom to gather as much information as possible before making a decision on the final grade.

What is homework used for?
Ongoing homework is used to develop study and organizational skills, consolidate knowledge and prepare for the next class. It also helps develop strong learning skills and work habits, which are reflected in the provincial report card.

What does an “R” mean on my child's provincial report card in Grades 1 to 8?
An “R” means extensive remediation is needed since the required skills and knowledge of the subject have not been met. It is important to work with your child's teacher to develop strategies to support your child in gaining the required knowledge and skills.

What does an “I” mean on my child's Grades 1 to 10 provincial report card?
An “I” means the teacher did not have enough information to assign a grade or mark. This may happen, for example, if your child recently moved schools or has had an extended illness.

Are there consequences for cheating or plagiarizing?
Yes. The updated assessment policy makes it clear that students are responsible for their own work. There will be consequences, which could include receiving a mark of zero, for cheating, plagiarism and not completing work. Ask your school board about its policy on cheating or plagiarizing.

Are there consequences for not completing work or submitting work late?

Your child is responsible for showing what he or she has learned or accomplished in the time frame allowed by their teacher.

Ontario's policy lists many strategies teachers can use to both prevent and address late and missed assignments. Options range from peer tutoring and offering time-management lessons to school-wide planning of major assignments.

In all grades, if your child consistently misses assignments or hands in work late, this may be reflected in the Learning Skills and Work Habits section of the report card. Grades 7 to 12 students may also have marks deducted.

Ask your school about its policy on late or missed assignments.

Have Ontario's education standards changed?

No. The Ontario curriculum clearly shows what students are expected to know and be able to do in all subjects and courses. Each student is assessed and evaluated against the same high provincial standards.

Why is more prominence and emphasis being given to learning skills and work habits?

Research shows students need to learn more than just facts if they want to succeed in postsecondary education and the world of work.

Ontario's students are also learning to take initiative, work independently, be self-reliant and work in a team. Schools are teaching critical thinking and problem solving skills in order to give your child the ability to seize every opportunity for jobs and growth in the new knowledge economy.

Why did the government introduce a new assessment, evaluation and reporting policy?
The purpose of assessment, evaluation and reporting is to improve student learning. New approaches present educators with new challenges and new opportunities to benefit students. Reflecting this new knowledge, Growing Success updates and clarifies the best practices and techniques teachers use to collect and share information with parents and students.

Fundamental Principles

Ontario's teachers will use assessment and evaluation practices and procedures that:

are fair, transparent and equitable
support all students
are carefully planned
are clearly explained to students and parents at the beginning of       the school year
are ongoing and varied, and provide multiple opportunities for       students to demonstrate their learning
include feedback that is clear, meaningful and timely
help students to become independent learners.

Learn More

Growing Success policy document PDF in English.

Find more information about your child's report cards and progress reports.

Standardized Testing

The EQAO wants your child to do well on these tests. They've got study tools and sample tests covering the Grade 3 and 6 Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics and the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). You can also get tips from a brochure written for teachers called Preparing Students for the OSSLT.