Several years ago, the Junior School decided to do away with exams before the Christmas break, replacing them with more task-oriented or performance assessments. This is now known as Assessment Week, which this year, runs from December 10-14.
“Our curriculum reflects authentic learning, so we wanted our assessments to reflect the teaching and learning in the classrooms,” said Head of Junior School Catherine Kirkland.
Students get feedback on their performance during the week-long assessments. They work on the same task for the entire week, although they work on a different portion of that task every day.
In Grade 7 STEM, for example, boys did a whole class scaling of a cookie recipe and a geometric tessellation design print. They researched the environmental impact of ingredients and applied the research to recommend changes to the recipe in the form of an infographic.
In Grade 7 Humanities, students developed a literary analysis that compares a prominent theme in Twelfth Night to a current issue. They sought out authoritative sources and drew comparisons to the play. Then they developed an outline, rough draft and final copy to publish.
Grade 7 and 8 French involved assessments in reading, writing, speaking and listening, while Grade 8 STEM explored the issues faced by Canada’s Indigenous communities. In particular, the boys researched water resources, quality, impact of funding and social issues associated with these communities.
The teachers believes this form of assessment is more valuable to the students and more reflective of the skills they will need, and be assessed on, in the future.
“There’s enough healthy stress for sure – the boys know that they have to be on every day and that everything they do up to Assessment Week really counts,” she said. “You can’t just study the night before. If you haven’t done the work beforehand, it’s going to be hard to do well. It also helps to keep the boys focused and learning right up until we break for the holidays.”
Royal St. George's College is an independent school for boys located in The Annex neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school admits boys from Grades 3 through 12. Our mission is to challenge and inspire each of our students to become the best version of himself.