Using the Standards
The BC performance standards are intended to support instructional decision-making. Teachers use a variety of methods to gather the information they need to assess, evaluate, and report on student learning. Possible methods include observations, student work portfolios, conferences, self- and peer assessment, classroom and standardized tests and performance tasks.
The BC performance standards give teachers one way to assess students’ abilities to apply their learning in realistic performance tasks. Used with other methods, they can be an important part of a comprehensive assessment and evaluation system.
- should be used as part of regular classroom learning activities, within the context of ongoing classroom instruction.
- provide resources for assessing and evaluating the quality of a specific piece or a collection of student work from various subject areas. They can help to develop a profile of student achievement, typically based on three to seven pieces of work.
- assume that in most cases teachers are observing students as they work. Often, some evidence needed to make decisions comes from observations and conversations with students.
- allow for teachers to intervene where students are unable to complete a task independently. The level of assistance required is often one of the criteria for determining whether or not a student’s work falls within grade-level expectations.
- may be adapted as needed. For example, this might include creating class-developed rating scales in age-appropriate language, developing IEPs or other tailored evaluation, or adjusting expectations for different times of the year.
The BC Performance Standards reflect the participation and collective judgments of thousands of educators and thousands of students. They serve as a ‘base’ resource that educators are able to adapt and use to meet their needs for particular purposes. This ensures that BC educators continue to focus on a common set of standards and expectations, while at the same time, addressing specific needs. For example:
- Teachers frequently work with their students to develop ‘kid friendly’ versions of the scales. This is most effective when students are involved in discussing the criteria and choosing the language.
- District assessments and other assessment tools often focus on selected criteria or aspects, and may involve re-wording or elaborating parts of a scale.
- Foundation Skills Assessment uses scoring guides based on the scales to suit the context of large-scale assessment.
- Districts and regions have created adaptations for summative end-of-grade assessments.
- Parts of the performance standard framework are often used in reporting.
- The criteria in various performance standards are used in commenting on student progress.
- Textbooks and accompanying teacher guides present adaptations focused on particular units of content or assignments.
- Educators have used the performance standards to create electronic templates that facilitate student self-assessment.
Teachers across BC are using the performance standards in reading, writing, numeracy, and social responsibility as they engage in inquiry about learning. For example:
- The Network of Performance Based Schools is a province-wide action research community designed to improve student learning and to strengthen public education (www.npbs.ca).
- School-based learning teams often use BC performance standards as a focus for their inquiry.
- Districts sponsor action research groups where teachers from various schools focus on key aspects of learning.