Prairie South releases assessment report

Cole Carruthers
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Prairie South School Division

The Prairie South School Division has released the Higher Literacy and Achievement Committee Monitoring Report, an assessment focusing on the ongoing development of local students.

The report, presented at the division board's organizational meeting on Nov. 6, provides a snapshot on student reading and writing skills, measuring using a variety of tools, including the Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment and the Assessment for Learning (AFL) writing method.

“The learning department is using the information gathered from the report,” Darby Briggs, communications co-ordinator for the school division, told The Times-Herald. “Some implementations are already in use in classrooms.”

The Nov. 6 meeting also included the swearing-in and taking of oaths for all re-elected and newly-elected trustees. Policy and procedures were reviewed, and representatives were assigned for School Community Councils and various provincial boards and committees.

Al Kessler will represent the board on the South Central District Athletic Association, while Lew Young will be the representative for the Public Section. Colleen Christopherson-Cote and Shawn Davidson were re-elected to serve as chair and vice-chair of the board for the coming year.

The AFL writing assessment was first administered in April 2008 by PSSD. The assessment was also carried out in 2010, and more recently with Grade 5 and 8 students in April and May of 2012.

According to the division, the assessments are not definitive, and are just a measurement of achievements on one day. At the same time, the report provides administrators with "a valuable look at student achievement within the division and compared to the province.”

Grade 1 and 2 Snapshot: According to the report, the division is pleased with the number of competent readers in Prairie South and are providing targeted supports for those students that may be taking longer to develop the skill of reading and writing.

The report advised that parents are "critical to the development of literacy skills" among children, and recommended reading with and to children from infancy into the pre-teen years as an effective strategy to establish strong literary habits.

Grade 5 Snapshot: The assessment found no notable difference in achievement in any of the components when compared with the province. Yet, when compared with the division's own results from two years ago, there is an increase in student scores in areas of organization and writing process.

Grade 8 Snapshot: The report demonstrated that Grade 8 students over the past two years have shown higher performance in the areas of quality of writing and language choices.

First Nations, Inuit and Metis (FNIM) Snapshot: The report indicated the division has sought to "narrow the achievement gap between FNIM students and the rest of the division." The division recorded "a meaningful difference" among Grade 5 students but noted the gap is very narrow among Grade 8 students.

For more on this article pick up the next issue of the Times-Herad.

Organizations: Prairie South School Division, The Times-Herald, South Central District Athletic Association First Nations Times-Herad

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