Assessment in Home Education

“Learning is more than the Transfer of Information – Learning is About Transformation”  

This is a quote from a recent conference on Assessment in Education, and it’s a great picture of what we want RCOA to be known for. As RCOA parents, you value the ability to teach your children from a uniquely Christian perspective; you want your children to grow in knowledge but also to grow in their faith and understanding that all of life belongs to God. Learning in a Christian home should be about transformation rather than just the transfer of knowledge.

The BC Curriculum has also changed. Those changes acknowledge that although content is valuable, the skills we use and learn as we engage with that content are most important. In addition, the new curriculum emphasizes the life skills that we’ve always taught our children at home as well.

Considering our goals and the changes to the BC Curriculum, how does that impact how we assess our students? First, assessment doesn’t only happen three times a year.  Although report cards are only prepared for the end of each term, your teacher is carefully assessing your children throughout the year as they interact with them on FreshGrade. Your teacher will give feedback on work samples and comment on the skills your child is developing. They may also share tips or strategies for moving forward: “In your next piece of writing…” As you work with your teacher, you can help with this process by sharing the skills you were teaching when you post an assignment: “______ worked on using proper punctuation in this story”.

You’ll also notice that your teacher may ask your children to reflect on their learning. We know as adults that when we evaluate how we’ve done and set purposeful goals for moving forward, we’re more likely to achieve those goals, and our children are the same. Self-evaluation will look different depending on your child’s grade level, but all of our children can think about their learning and where they want to go. To facilitate this, at times your teacher will pose questions on FreshGrade that encourage your child to self-evaluate: “What was your favourite part of this project? What went well?”

In addition, the BC government has placed an emphasis on developing Core Competencies. Core competencies are life skills such as the ability to communicate well, to come up with creative ideas and solutions, to consider different perspectives, to build healthy relationships. These are not new.  Parents who home educate already value and reinforce these traits. What’s new is the emphasis on encouraging our children to recognize and consciously build those skills. Since the development of these skills follows a unique timeline for each child, teachers won’t assess core competencies; rather, they will provide opportunities for students to self-assess, with a goal of seeing growth over time. At the November home visit for K – 7 learners, your teacher will introduce this by completing a simple core competency self-evaluation with your child. Students in PIE class will complete their self-evaluation during class time. Grade 8/9 students will complete the self-evaluation through the Career Education course.

Lastly, K – 7 teachers will evaluate learning at home visits through conversations with your children and simple assessment activities. Our main purpose in those visits is to see where students are at and to share strategies and tips to move forward. Not all children learn at the same rate, and the beauty of homeschooling is that there’s room for students to develop at their own pace. After the home visit, teachers will complete report cards which will be available on OTIS December 1st. Our report cards will continue to assess where children are at relative to grade level expectations while celebrating growth and highlighting achievements. Teachers will also share goals for the coming term when applicable.

At RCOA, we are continuing to develop our assessment practices to reflect our goal of authentically evaluating where students are at and helping them to set goals for moving forward. We’re excited to partner with you as you educate your children at home, and we pray that that through this partnership, your children will be equipped to be life-changers in God’s Kingdom.

Sandra Venema & Roz Kerr