8. Student Achievement
Every student attending Virtual High School is unique. Each student must have opportunities to achieve success according to their own interests, abilities, and goals. The Virtual High School assessment and evaluation policy is based on seven fundamental principles, the first of which tells us that assessment, evaluation, and reporting practices and procedures must be fair, transparent, and equitable for all students. Students and parents/guardians need to know that evaluations are evidence of student learning and that there is consistency in the way grades are assigned across all Ontario schools.
When these 7 principles are fully understood and observed by all teachers, they will guide the collection of meaningful information that will help inform instructional decisions, promote student engagement, and improve student learning:
- Fair for all students,
- Support all students, including students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP),
- Related to curriculum expectations as well as interest of all students,
- Clearly communicated to students and parents,
- Ongoing, varied in nature,
- Provide descriptive feedback that is meaningful and timely to support learning, and
- Develop student self-assessment.
8.1 Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
In order to ensure that assessment and evaluation are valid and reliable, and that they lead to the improvement of student learning, teachers must use assessment and evaluation strategies that:
- address both what students learn and how well they learn;
- are based both on the categories of knowledge and skills and on the achievement level descriptions given in the achievement chart that appears in the curriculum policy document for each discipline;
- are varied in nature, administered over a period of time, and designed to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
- are appropriate for the learning activities used, the purposes of instruction, and the needs and experiences of the students;
- are fair to all students;
- accommodate the needs of exceptional students, consistent with the strategies outlined in their Individual Education Plan (IEP);
- accommodate the needs of students who are learning the language of instruction;
- ensure that each student is given clear directions for improvement;
- promote students' ability to assess their own learning and to set specific goals;
- include the use of samples of students' work that provide evidence of their achievement, and
- are communicated clearly to students and parents/guardians at the beginning of the course and at other appropriate points throughout the course.
8.2 The Achievement Chart
The achievement chart for each subject matter is included in the curriculum policy document specific to that discipline. The chart provides a reference point for all assessment practice and a framework within which to assess and evaluate student achievement.
- The chart is organized into four broad categories: Knowledge / Understanding, Thinking / Inquiry, Communication, and Application / Making Connections. The names of the categories differ slightly from one discipline to another, reflecting differences in the disciplines.
- The achievement chart describes the levels of achievement of the curriculum expectations within each category. The descriptions associated with each level serve as a guide for gathering assessment information, to enable teachers to make consistent judgements about the quality of student work, and to provide clear feedback to students.
- The achievement chart provides Virtual High School teachers with a provincial standard to use in assessing and evaluating their students' achievement. A variety of materials are to be made available to assist teachers in improving their assessment methods and strategies and, hence, their assessment of student achievement.
- The following table provides a summary description of achievement in each percentage grade range and corresponding level of achievement:
Percentage Grade Range
A very high to outstanding level of achievement. Achievement is above the provincial standard.
A high level of achievement. Achievement is at the provincial standard.
A moderate level of achievement. Achievement is below, but approaching, the provincial standard.
A passable level of achievement. Achievement is below the provincial standard.
Insufficient achievement of curriculum expectations. A credit will not be granted.
NOTE: Level 3 (70-79%) is the provincial standard. Teachers and parents can be confident that students who are achieving at level 3 are well prepared for work in the next grade or a subsequent course. A student whose achievement is below 50% at the end of the course will not obtain a credit for the course.
*The achievement chart for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) differs from all other courses.
8.3 Reporting Student Achievement
Student achievement is communicated formally to students and parents by means of the Virtual High School "Secondary School Report Card, Grades 9-12".
8.3.1 Reporting on Achievement of Curriculum Expectations
The report card, which follows the Provincial Report Card very closely, provides a record of the student's achievement of the curriculum expectations in the form of a percentage grade. This reflects the corresponding level of achievement as described in the achievement chart for the discipline.
- A final grade is recorded for every course, and a credit is granted and recorded for every course in which the student's grade is 50% or higher.
- The final grade for each course in Grades 9-12 will be determined as follows: 70% of the grade will be based on evaluations conducted throughout the course. This portion of the grade should reflect the student's most consistent level of achievement throughout the course, although special consideration should be given to more recent evidence of achievement. 30% of the grade will be based on a final evaluation. This may be a final examination, a final project, or a combination of both an exam and a project.
Evaluation refers to the process of judging the quality of student learning on the basis of established performance standards and to assign a value to represent that quality. Evaluation is based on "assessment of learning".
While all curriculum expectations must be accounted for in instruction and assessment, the evaluation focuses on students' achievement of the overall expectations. A student's achievement of the overall expectation is evaluated on the basis of their achievement of related specific expectations. Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine which specific expectations should be used to evaluate achievement of the overall expectations. Evidence of student achievement for evaluation is collected over time from three difference sources: observations, conversations, and student products. Evaluation is the responsibility of the teacher and does not include the judgement of the student's peers.
8.3.2 Reporting on Demonstrated Learning Skills and Work Habits
The report card provides a record of the learning skills demonstrated by the student in every course. The 6 identified learning skills and work habits are:
The learning skills and work habits are evaluated using a four-point scale: (E - Excellent, G - Good, S - Satisfactory, N - Needs Improvement).
- Independent Work,
- Initiative, and
8.3.3 Teacher Comments
The report card will include the teachers' comments on the student's strengths, areas in which improvement is needed, and next steps.
8.3.4 Principal Comments
The report card may include the principal's comments on the performance of the student.
8.4 Methods of Evaluation
Teachers will take various considerations into account before determining the grade to be entered on the report card. Teachers will consider all evidence collected from all products submitted or not submitted. Some evidence may carry more weight than others. Teachers will consider all evidence and use their professional judgement to determine the student's report card grade. Determining a report card grade will involve the teacher's professional judgement and interpretation of evidence and should reflect the students most consistent level of achievement, with special consideration given to the more recent evidence. The principal will work with teachers to ensure common and equitable grading practices that follow Ministry policy. For Grades 7 to 12, a student's achievement of the overall curriculum expectations will be evaluated in accordance with the achievement chart and will be reported as percentage grades. It is expected that both mathematical calculations and professional judgement will inform the determination of the percentage mark.
8.4.1 Final Examination
- Each course has a final assessment that will be given as a final examination, a final project, or a combination of both an exam and a project.
- Students in the same course should be similarly evaluated, which means that final exams and assessments will use the same format, although questions may be different among the students.
- A course with a final examination must be written in a supervised environment with a proctor. A proctored exam is one that is overseen by an impartial individual, the proctor, who monitors and supervises a student while they are taking the final exam. The proctor enters the private password to allow student access to the final exam. The proctor ensures the security and integrity of the exam process. Students in online courses with final exams must fulfill their responsibilities in arranging and taking a proctored final exam.
- Students must complete all assigned coursework.
- Coursework may include assignments, tests, projects, labs, discussions, etc.
- Students assume the responsibility to ensure that they have completed all assigned requirements of the course before completing the final exam and/or assessment task.
- Once the final exam is written or the final assessment is submitted, no further assignments may be submitted, unless prior arrangements have been made between the student and the teacher. Students will receive zeros for any incomplete assignments.