Gathering Valid and Reliable Evidence to Determine a Grade

Project Overview
Educators in this project conducted collaborative inquiry to investigate the big question:
How can we gather valid and reliable evidence of learning to inform our professional judgement to determine a grade?   They developed specific, focused inquiry questions related to the Theory of Action and are sharing the results of their ongoing professional learning on this site.

Project Theory of Action
If we:

  • design rich tasks and learning experiences,
  • establish a learning culture where educators and students are collaborative partners in both instruction and assessment, and
  • intentionally gather evidence of learning,

Then the evidence collected will accurately reflect what students know and are able to do.

Board Developed Inquiry Questions:

  1. Anchoring on overall expectations, how might we apply professional judgement to determine a grade using reliable and valid evidence based on observations, conversations and products?

  2. How can we orchestrate intentional learning conversations (i.e. teacher/ student; student/student; oral/written) and gather information to uncover students’ thinking?

Ottawa Catholic School Board

Key Learnings   

I used to think…now I think
Evidence of participant learning is made visible through the strategy, “I used to think…now I think.” This format emphasizes the educators’ change in their beliefs and ideas about gathering evidence of student learning. As they used the theory of action to guide their learning, the statements are organized by the three ‘if’ statements.
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Gathering Evidence through conversations and observations
A specific focus of the collaborative inquiry was how to orchestrate academic learning conversations and how to manage the evidence of learning gathered from those conversations.
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The Process for Determining a Grade
Our theory of action builds to the statement, “Then the evidence collected will accurately reflect what students know and are able to do.” This leads to the question, “How might we apply professional judgement to determine a grade using reliable and valid evidence based on observations, conversations and products?” Here participants share their current thinking about the process.
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Learning Artefacts   

Co-constructed Theory of Action
The group members began their work using the broad Theory of Action developed by board leads and Ministry staff. They tested the theory throughout their professional learning days and in classroom implementation, adding indicators to provide description of their learning, and making revisions as new learning was uncovered.
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Sample Grade 1 Assessment Plan – Mathematics and Science
This Grade 1 sample of an assessment plan, collaboratively planned, depicts the intentionality of supporting the learning journey for all students in order to make the learning transparent and the gathering of evidence clear to all students.
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Establishing a culture of collaborative partnership
This collection of photographs documents the practices used by participants to establish a learning environment based on the belief that students and teachers are collaborative partners in the learning.
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Samples of gathering evidence of learning
Participants share examples of the ways students and teachers gathered and documented evidence of student learning. 
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