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Standard Transmission: Provincial Standards, Standardized Assessments and the Issue of “Grade Inflation”

Registration Closed
Facilitator(s): Tim Coates
Date:November 01, 2017
Time:9:00 am – 3:30 pm
(includes lunch, which is not prepared in a nut/gluten-free environment)
Location: Edmonton (ERLC Office at Elmwood School)
Room 17/18, 16325 - 83 Avenue
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Course code: 18-AS-050

Target Audience

All Teachers, Teacher Leads, Instructional Leaders, Learning Coaches, Administrators and anyone who is interested in improving their assessment practices

About this learning opportunity

Part professional learning session, part forum, this offering addresses a number of complex and contentious issues related to the expectation that teachers assess to “provincial standards”.  

  • Do programs of study, and other ministry documents provide sufficient clarity regarding standards?
  • Are students held to the same standard no matter where they attend school in the province?
  • What is the appropriate role of standardized provincial assessments in a standards-based educational system?
  • Are there alternatives to the current 70/30 weighting split between school-awarded grades and diploma examination marks?  
  • What should be the future of PATs and SLAs?  

The presenter will provide valuable information on how provincial assessments are designed and scored to reflect and communicate provincial standards.  There will also be discussion on the potential causes for differentiation in school-awarded grades, and the validity of claims that “grade inflation” becoming endemic. The presenter will argue that formative assessment practices are compatible with the existence of standardized tests, to the point that the success of formative assessment practices can in part be measured by provincial tests.

This session will encourage a healthy and spirited debate about appropriate relationships among teacher-awarded grades, and between teacher-awarded grades and standardized assessments.  On the lighter side of this heavy topic, this session begins with an egg-weighing competition to help illustrate a number of standard-related issues. One lucky participant will take home a dozen free-range eggs as a prize.

This learning opportunity is being provided through funding from Alberta Education.

About the facilitator(s)

After a number of years in the classroom, Tim Coates was seconded to Alberta Education as a Diploma Examination Manager; first for Social Studies 33, and later for Social Studies 30. From 2005 until 2014, Tim served as the Director of the Diploma Examination Program Branch.

Currently, Tim is both a sessional lecturer at the University of Alberta, teaching a course in classroom assessment and an education consultant providing sessions and workshops on various assessment related topics.

Tim has offered many professional development presentations throughout Alberta and on several occasions in the United States. Tim’s educational interests and expertise focus on matters regarding the relationship among assessment, programs of study outcomes, and instructional practices. He has special interest in working with teachers and school authorities on how to maximize the quality of assessment practices, how to minimize assessment error, ensure an appropriate application of standards, and establish the most appropriate means to report assessment results to multiple assessment “audiences.”

In his spare time, Tim raises a small flock of free-range chickens, and has been known to bring along a dozen eggs to sessions, as a prize for a lucky participant.

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