Collaborative Inquiry Project – Grades 1-12

Gathering Valid and Reliable Evidence to Determine a Grade - Triangulation


Project Overview
Educators in this project conducted collaborative inquiryto investigate the big question:
How can we gather valid and reliable evidence of learning to inform our professional judgementto determine a grade?   They developed specific, focussed 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:

  • Plan and gather the information in a way that is triangulated and collected over time
  • Design rich tasks that are meaningful and aligned with the learning goals and success criteria
  • Take steps to ensure that students are partners in assessment
  • Reflect deeply on that evidence
  • Use the evidence to inform our professional judgements about student learning

Then we can accurately and effectively communicate information about the learning (including determine a grade).

Board-Developed Inquiry Question Board-Developed Inquiry Question

What does valid and reliable evidence look
like (for conversation, observation,
and product) and how do we effectively triangulate
this evidence to inform our professional
judgement to support evaluation?

- Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board

Reflecting on the Learning Reflecting on the Learning

Student Quotes

“We were able to elaborate on our thinking.  This is easier to do if you are talking (as opposed to writing).”

“We learned where we could gain or lose marks as we were completing the work, because the feedback was immediate.”

Teacher Quotes

“I am so comfortable with my mark, whereas before I wondered if I had misunderstood their thinking process.”

“My report cards better reflect the students because I simply know them better. I make the time to talk to them about their work rather than just mark the product. “

“I feel I now know where they were coming from because I have listened to their explanations of their product, instead of just looking at the product.”

“My interactions with my students have changed.  I have become more purposeful in linking success criteria and learning goals to my observations and conversations. They have become a meaningful way to gather data and give feedback.”
Evidence Evidence
Evidence Overview
Key Learnings Key Learnings
  • We realized that through the conversations and observations we knew our students so much better that it was actually easier to give the students a mark.
  • We used our success criteria and tried to balance the different types of assessments (triangulation) rather than using all product-based assessment.
  • We learned that not every type of assessment works for all tasks, nor is it necessary to triangulate every task, but it is important to use a variety of assessment tools when dealing with a set of success criteria. In this way you can truly get a sense of what a student has understood.
  • We realized it was necessary to narrow our focus when giving descriptive feedback.  Having a clearly identified focus for assessing and providing feedback made the process more manageable for us and more understandable for our students. When assessment and feedback are integrated into the day, it is more meaningful because it is immediate.
  • The line between assessment for, as, and of learning has blurred.  When assessment is occurring regularly, we have an evolving snapshot of where our students are in regard to learning goals (which success criteria have they mastered, where they still need support). 
  • The role of the teacher has shifted; putting more emphasis on the process rather than only the end product creates “lateral accountability.” Teachers facilitate the learning through observing, questioning, and listening instead of telling
  • Through discussions we validated that it was acceptable practice (encouraged, even!) to give students extra opportunities to ‘redo’ a test, or hold off on giving marks on a paper until after a conversation with the students about their understanding. 
  • Conversations proved to be quicker than all-night marking sessions, gave us insight into students’ understanding, and offered us the chance to make on-the-spot changes to lessons or groups.