School Communication Plan

Oyster Pond Academy


Plan for Communicating Student Learning


The purpose of assessment and evaluation is to monitor the growth of student learning over time. It informs teachers on where the student is doing well and areas that the student needs to improve. Also, assessment informs teachers’ instruction and planning for next steps in student learning. Finally, evaluation is designed so students can be assessed and evaluated on their level of understanding of the expected learning outcomes. Student success and improved student learning is our main goal at OPA.  To support continued success we must ensure the assessment, evaluation, and communication of student learning is aligned with the Department of Education’s programs and expected learning outcomes.  Teachers will design assessment tools and strategies to ensure that all students are given equitable opportunities to demonstrate their achievement of the expected learning outcomes.  The HRSB has created the “Assessment, Evaluation, and Communication of Student Learning Procedures”  

(see policy that clearly outlines all roles and responsibilities of Administrators, Teachers and Support Staff, as well as Parents and Students.  The following are highlighted areas of this policy as they pertain to evaluation and student learning:


Teacher Involvement


  1. Developing clear criteria for marking student work;

  2. Communicating criteria for evaluation with students before the process of learning, assessing, evaluating and reporting occurs. The criteria and guidelines can be teacher-generated, student-generated, or developed collaboratively and, where possible, will be accompanied by examples of quality performance or product for each level of proficiency;

  3. Analyzing evidence of learning from multiple sources and methods.;

  4. Focusing on students’ growth and achievements in relation to expected learning outcomes, rather than on students’ characteristics and/or non-academic achievement. For example, behaviour, class participation, and meeting deadlines are not curriculum outcomes and will not cause the student to gain or lose marks or value;

  5. Considering students’ most recent work when making professional judgments and/or assigning value to their work.

  6. Discussing achievement targets and classroom assessment practices with students, in an-age appropriate manner, at the beginning of instruction and continuing this conversation on an ongoing basis;

  7. Ensuring that students have a range of opportunities and ways to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and attitudes pertaining to expected learning outcomes by using multiple assessment strategies;

  8. Using multiple assessment strategies which include, but are not limited to: presentations, portfolios, work samples, models, oral and/or written reports, journals, logs, performances, graphic/visual representations, experiments, concept maps, quizzes, tests, debates, projects, checklists, anecdotal records, conferences, surveys, or observations.

  9. Articulating expectations to students before the learning or before any form of assessment or evaluation, except when using diagnostic assessments prior to instruction to determine what students already know and what they need to know to achieve the expected learning outcomes;

  10. Helping students to understand and communicate the expected learning outcomes for which they are responsible, as well as the criteria that will be used to evaluate their work. Whenever possible students should be involved in creating the criteria;

  11. Giving students a variety of samples of student work (exemplars) to help them understand what quality looks like and what is required to achieve the expected learning outcomes;

  12. Providing timely, descriptive feedback of what each student knows and is able to do in relation to the expected learning outcomes, and how the student can improve in relation to those outcomes;

  13. Providing opportunities for students to give descriptive feedback to each other.


Student Involvement


  1. Accepting responsibility and ownership for their own learning through active involvement in the assessment and evaluation process in order to discover how they learn best and to understand exactly where they are in relation to the defined curriculum outcomes.

  2. Collect information regarding their learning from self, peers and others (peer editing, student-student conferencing).

  3. Self-assess, reflect and set goals.

  4. Seeking assistance with assignments when required.

  5. Designing evaluation criteria.

  6. Requesting an extension for assignments in a timely manner when required. Completing assignments by specified due dates so that teachers can provide timely feedback.

  7. Participating in external large-scale assessments as required by the Department of Education and the Halifax Regional School Board.


Methods of Assessment


By using a variety of assessment tools, teachers will give students different opportunities to demonstrate their achievement of the outcomes. This will help to accommodate the many different learning styles of our students.  OPA students have an extensive variety of opportunities to demonstrate their learning, which may include but is not limited to:

class presentations; tests, quizzes, questionnaires; written responses (journals, portfolios, stories, explanations); charting; research projects; essays; demonstrations (performance of a task, experiments, explanations to others, games); interviews with students (both formal and informal); debating; multimedia presentations (computers, videos, live performance); teacher observations; dramatic presentations (role playing, song and dance); students teaching students; modeling (reinterpretation); celebration of learning events; recordings; investigations; work samples; formal reflections; inter-disciplinary projects; problem solving, reading records, fluency scores, external assessments..



Report Cards

Oyster Pond Academy will use the board-authorized report card. The first page of each student's report card is a learning profile of the student. The profile is a rating scale and it identifies the characteristics of a learner in terms of social development and work habits. 


Learning outcomes are statements of what a student should know and be able to do at each grade level as per the Public School Program. At the primary level, the emphasis is on describing what a student knows and is able to do in relation to the expected learning outcomes. Comments also identify what a student needs to do to improve. There are no letter grades on the Primary report cards.


In grades 1-8, the report card contains both letter grades and written comments. Letter grades are assigned based on demonstration of the expected learning outcomes during a term. Teachers collect evidence of student learning through varied and on going assessments. They then evaluate each student based on these assessments

to determine how well a student demonstrates achievement. The student is assigned one of four letter grades in each subject area. Language Arts is divided into three strands, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The student is assigned a letter grade for each strand. Teachers will also record a mark for each subject area listed on the report card. This mark will be based on the following rubric:


Code Description - Updated for 2013-2014


The student demonstrates achievement with thorough understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the expected learning outcomes.


The student demonstrates achievement with good understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the expected learning outcomes.


The student demonstrates achievement with basic understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the expected learning outcomes.


The student demonstrates achievement with limited understanding and application of concepts and skills in relation to the expected learning outcomes. The student has not met expectations.



Teachers may also comment on the student's progress, the area of difficulty (if appropriate) and may outline what can be done to support the student. Grade 9 students will be given a percentage mark converted from assessment rubrics used throughout the term(s), through tests and quizzes, assignments, class work, etc.  




Percentage %

Description of student on expected learning outcomes and program expectations


The student demonstrates excellent or outstanding performance in relation to the expected learning outcomes for the course.

80 – 89%

The student demonstrates very good performance in relation to the expected learning outcomes for this course.

70 - 79%

The student demonstrates good performance in relation to the expected learning outcomes for this course.

60 - 69%

The student demonstrates satisfactory performance in relation to the expected learning outcomes for this course.

50 - 59%

The student demonstrates minimally acceptable performance in relation to the expected learning outcomes for this course.

Below 50%

The student has not met minimum requirements in relation to the expected learning outcomes for this course.


Teachers of Grade 9 students will be responsible for assessing student learning in part by having students participate in a cumulative assessment event in all Public School Program core subjects during their final term in Grade 9.  This cumulative assessment event should allow students to demonstrate an appropriate range of the expected learning outcomes of the course(s) of study and, as such, will form an integral component of the teacher’s assessment and evaluation plan.


The cumulative assessment can take many forms. If this assessment takes the form of a written examination, it will take place during the same timeframe as senior high school examinations. No student will be exempt from the cumulative assessment event except for exceptional circumstances or as determined by an Individual Program Plan.

The cumulative assessment event (year-end summative assessment) will determine no more than one-quarter of the student’s third term mark. 


Parents wishing to review expected learning outcomes for particular courses can access

information from the following web site:



Identification, Assessment, Referral and Program Planning For Students with

Special Challenges


Oyster Pond Academy is committed to supporting the learning challenges of all students.

As part of this commitment, the school has established a process for the identification, assessment and program planning for students with special needs. The parents/guardians play a key participatory role throughout this entire process. This process follows the guidelines set out by the Provincial Department of Education and Culture in the Special Education Policy Manual. This is in keeping with the Halifax Regional School Board’s Special Education Policy and Procedures. Parents and guardians who wish to read the Special Education Policy Manual or the Board’s policy and procedures should either contact the school or visit the relevant websites:

Department of Education; Halifax Regional School

Identification of students with special needs: Classroom teachers, resource teachers, parents and students may initiate and/or assist in identifying students and providing relevant assessment information. When formal individual assessments seem needed, they will be conducted by qualified personnel and will be undertaken only after parents/guardians have given written informed consent.  Program Adaptations: Classroom teachers will explore a variety of adaptations which take into account the actual characteristics of the learner and are appropriate to his/her needs, age,

and level of educational achievement. These adaptations and their effectiveness in assisting students in meeting outcomes will be recorded and the information communicated to parents/guardians on the Programming Adaptations Form.


Program Planning Team: If the classroom teacher(s) require(s) further support to meet the

challenges of a student, the teacher(s) will contact the School Program Planning Team. The team members include the principal or vice-principal, the teachers involved, the parents/guardians, and the student, when appropriate. Parents’/guardians’ participation is essential at this stage. It is also through the meeting of the Program Planning Team that a decision is made on whether an Individual Program Plan is needed for the student.

Individual Program Plan: The development and implementation of an Individual Program

Plan (IPP) follows a process suggested by the Nova Scotia Department of Education.

Parents/guardians who have been involved in the stages outlined above will, in the course of those activities, have been informed regarding "next steps" as appropriate.


Standards of Communication with Parents/Guardians


Parents/Guardians are welcomed and strongly encouraged to contact teachers and/or administrators whenever they have any questions, concerns, or simply want updates on their child’s progress, homework or other. You are the most important partners in your children’s learning. Open communication between home and school will ensure the best possible learning opportunities for your child/children.  We actively communicate with parents and guardians through a variety of formal and informal methods. Examples of these include:

  1. Report Cards are sent home three times per school year.

  2. Curriculum night and parent/teacher interviews.

  3. Notices and memos to parents are sent home with students as required.

  4. Agenda books are issued to each student; they contain valuable information regarding your child’s school.

  5. We publish a monthly school newsletter to keep everyone updated and informed.

  6. You may receive direct telephone/e-mail communication from any staff member regarding your child.

  7. Recognition of student achievements through our student of the month, class of the month and year end awards.

  8. Scheduled appointments to meet teachers or the Principal at appropriate times.

  9. Our “Safe Arrival Program”; call to check on absent students for whom we have no excuse.

  10. Our School Advisory Council and home and school association may communicate school-related issues with you by notice, newsletter or survey.

  11. Providing bulletin board displays and information on our school in the hallways.

  12. Our school website displays information including a homework link. 

  13. Each member of the OPA Staff has a school-based e-mail address.  Parents may also express concerns or request information in this way.

  14. Teachers will provide an annual assessment plan at each grade level and/or subject area


Parental Concerns Protocol


“The Halifax Regional School Board is committed to addressing parent concerns in an efficient and respectful manner. Every reasonable effort will be made to resolve issues brought to the attention of the Board and its professional staff.”


If you have a question or concern regarding your child, the channel of communication begins with your child’s teacher. Concerns related to classroom issues should always be addressed with the teacher first. If the issue remains unresolved, it should then be directed to the principal. Should the matter not be resolved by this communication, please refer to the “Parental Concern Form”.


Parent concerns related to school administration issues should be addressed with the school principal.  If the issue remains unresolved, the parent may direct the concern to the School Administration Supervisor.


If after addressing the concern at the school site and with a School Administration Supervisor the issue remains unresolved, the parent has the option to complete the Parent Concern Reporting Form and forward it to the Director-School Administration.


Where the parent is dissatisfied with the response of the principal and subsequently the School Administration Department, The Parent Concern Protocol Policy, following a systematic process, provides the parent the opportunity to appeal in writing to the Superintendent.


The Parent Concern Reporting Form may be used, at the request of the parent, when all attempts to resolve the concern at the school have not been successful.  The policy and form may be found at:

Assessment is the act of collecting information on student progress and achievement

using a variety of tasks designed to monitor and improve student learning.


Formative Assessments (Assessment for Learning) are ongoing

assessments that take place during the teaching and learning process for the

purpose of showing growth over time, determining student needs, planning

next steps in instruction, and providing students with descriptive feedback.

Assessments become formative when teachers use the information gathered to

adapt their teaching in order to meet the needs of students.

Summative Assessments (Assessment of Learning) are assessments that

take place at the end of a period of learning for the purpose of determining the

extent to which learning has occurred. In assessment of learning, the teacher

assesses students’ achievement of the outcomes. These assessments are used

to make statements about student learning to those outside the classroom.


Evaluation is the act of analyzing, judging and/or making decisions about assessment

information for the purpose of providing descriptive feedback (formative) or

evaluative feedback (summative).


Descriptive Feedback is specific oral or written information that helps students

understand what they are doing well and what they need to do next in order to



Evaluative Feedback is a summary of how well students have performed on a

particular task or during a term/semester. It often involves symbols, such as letters,

numbers or check marks, as well as phrases such as “excellent”, “well done”, “try

harder next time”. Evaluative feedback lets students know whether or not they need

to improve, but it does not provide them with information about how to improve.


Grading is the process of using summative assessment evidence of student

achievement of the outcomes to determine the report card grade (number or letter).

This is distinct from marking, which is the process of assigning a number or letter to

a piece of student work throughout the term.


Reporting is the process of communicating student progress toward achievement of

the expected learning outcomes.


External Large-Scale Assessments are assessments and evaluations that are

designed by a group outside the school in order to collect data for use at the national,

provincial, regional, school and classroom levels.


Expected Learning Outcomes are the goal statements prescribed by the Department

of Education that indicate what teachers are required to teach and students are

expected to know and be able to do for each grade level and program/course. (see These goal

statements are the general and specific outcomes that make up the written curriculum.


Curriculum Alignment is aligning the written Department of Education provincial

curriculum outcomes with all assessments and instructional practices.


School Community consists of students, parents/guardians, teaching and non–

teaching staff serving the school, school advisory councils, school groups, community

members, partners, board members, board staff, and others with a connection to the



Formal Individual Assessments are assessments, such as standardized tests,

intended to produce diagnostic information about the student’s ability or

achievement. Formal assessment instruments have standardized procedures for

administration, scoring and interpretation.


Promotion indicates that the student has satisfied the program requirements and met

the outcomes for that grade or course. The student will advance to the next higher

grade or course.


Placement indicates that the student has not satisfied the program requirements or

met the outcomes required for that grade or course, but has been placed into the next

grade/course based on the decision made by the school in the best interest of the