Good schools are always changing and Canadian Academy is no exception to that rule. Nowhere is that change more apparent than in the area of curriculum. Since the school decided to adopt the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and the Middle Years Programme (MYP) as curricular frameworks from BBP -10, while maintaining the Diploma Program (DP) for grades 11-12, much of the change at CA has been driven by these decisions.
So what has changed? The 2010-11 school year continued to enhance interschool communication from elementary through high school. The Wednesday early-dismissal schedule continues to provide time for intensive professional development for faculty and opportunities to develop an increasingly coherent philosophy and more integrated approach to curriculum development.
PYP faculty this year will continue to develop units of inquiry, while at MYP level teachers continue the process of planning and implementing a more integrated approach to curriculum delivery.
Concurrently, the faculty continue to develop curriculum maps using the online database program Atlas Rubicon. Curriculum articulation remains at the heart of our school goals. Like all curriculum work, the aim of mapping is to document and deliver the curriculum more efficiently and to improve the quality of student learning at CA.
The schoolwide goals are closely aligned to CA's strategic plan. The CA goals for 2011-2012 have a strong curriculum focus building on the IB Authorization of both PYP and MYP. These authorization visits took place in May 2011 and resulted in the school being authorized to offer both programs. Another goal is to develop new assessment and reporting systems which is a corollary of curiculum and program development.
The 2011-2012 school year will be another dynamic year for curriculum development and consolidation. Curriculum will continue to be aligned, articulated and implemented at every level from PYP through MYP to the DP program. The underlying tenet of all this development will be the betterment of each and every student's education at CA.
One of the main curriculum goals at CA last year was the development of a whole school assessment policy. This involved a year long process. Several members of the faculty read and discussed current assessment philosophy then sythesized and contextualized the ideas to the CA learning environment. The policy document opens with the following foundation statements:
Eight Big Assessment Ideas
- Assessment serves different purposes at different times: it may be used to find out what students already know, [understand] and can do; it may be used to help students improve their learning; or it may be used to let students and their parents [teachers and administrators] know how much they have learned within a prescribed period of time.
- Assessment must be planned and purposeful.
- Assessment must be balanced, including oral, performance, and written tasks, and be flexible in order to improve learning for all students.
- Assessment and instruction are inseparable because effective assessment informs learning.
- For assessment to be helpful to students, it must inform them in words, not numerical scores or letter grades, what they have done well, what they have done poorly, and what they need to do next in order to improve.
- Assessment is a collaborative process that is most effective when it involves self-, peer, and teacher assessment.
- Performance standards are an essential component of effective assessment.
- Grading and reporting student achievement is a caring, sensitive process that requires teachers’ professional judgment.
From Cooper, Damian. Talk about Assessment: Strategies and Tools to Improve Learning. Toronto: Thomson, 2007
Download Canadian Academy's complete assessment policy.
Download our Assessment Parent Information Guide
Curriculum Coordinator and IB Diploma Coordinator