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Assessment of Learning

Patriot Parents,

 

Thank you for your continued partnership and support. We are committed to ending the school year strong. Thanks to feedback from our lead learners and many of you, we are excited to announce some changes that are coming regarding how your child’s learning progress is reported.

 

We will implement slight changes as to how we use FreshGrade for the last nine weeks of school:

 

  • Ensure all lead learners are assessing and uploading regularly.

  • Eliminate teacher comments unless learner is at an orange or red level of mastery. Comments should be short, specific, and focused on learning to achieve standard mastery.

  • Only upload videos and pictures that are necessary to show your learner’s progress. This will allow lead learners more time to focus on teaching and learning. As a result of this change, some of you will see more artifacts coming home with your child.

 

You will see the biggest changes for next school year; please take a few minutes of your time to watch this important video that will help explain some of these changes and give you a clear picture of what’s to come. Our leadership team and lead learners will work together this summer to fully implement these changes so that we become the best version of Pike Road Schools.

 

Thank you,
Pike Road Schools

How we know if our school system is doing a great job—that our learners are learning and lead learners are teaching... How will you recognize if students are, or are not, gaining the full range of knowledge and competencies they need as strong intellectual learners

Learning is a process that occurs over time. Our goal is for depth versus width of understanding. A learner’s performance is based on the evidence the lead learner collects and/or the learner presents to demonstrate mastery of essential outcomes. Lead learners pre-assess learners, and as they move toward mastery, lead learners assess/reassess their progress. Lead learners and learners monitor and celebrate progress and capture outcomes using the standards-based reporting tool called FreshGrade, which is available online 24/7 to parents and learners. FreshGrade reports learner progress using various colors instead of percentages or letter grades. The colors represent not meeting expectation, approaching expectation, meeting expectations and exceeding expectations. Mastery of standards will be converted to grades on the learner’s transcript at the completion of each course for athletic, scholarships and college admission requirements.

Big projects culminate in exhibitions. After each project, we invite parents and community members to see displays and presentations of learners’ work. This may consist of theatrical performances, student-made documentaries, student-made books or displays, or actual physical creations that showcase the learning from a particular unit of study. This provides an opportunity for learners to exhibit their work and share their learning with an authentic audience.

To ensure quality work, ongoing feedback and critique are essential to the learning process. Lead learners and learners collaborate by discussing and critiquing their work throughout projects. This enables learners to develop as thinkers and innovators. This process also helps them develop skills such as the ability to research, synthesize information, collaborate, communicate their ideas and findings, persevere through challenges, and develop resiliency after setbacks. The process also includes embracing failure as a valuable part of the learning process. Lead learners ask learners to reflect on his/her learning throughout the project, which is important part of the learning process. Learners include these reflections in their portfolios.

Assessing learning in this manner gives learners ownership of their learning. As a result, learners know the standards they have yet to master and the areas in which they are approaching mastery. Lead learners conference with learners and parents. Since learners own their learning, they facilitate the conversation.

We also assess student learning and our overall effectiveness by the impact of students’ work on the community and beyond. For example, learners may design and build a Multicultural Center or create a community museum, develop and manage a recycling center for the Town of Pike Road, publish a research study in collaboration with Tuskegee University, or patent and/or sell an invention. Over time, we will realize success when the community openly values the impact of learners beyond the walls of the school and when colleges and employers seek PRS graduates, not because of an ACT score, but because they are thinkers, innovators, and creators. The public will know PRS learners for their work and real accomplishments, and will comment, “These Pike Road students are world changers.”

Teams of lead learners, school leaders, and counselors also access FreshGrade and review the progress of individual learners and groups of learners. When learners do not demonstrate progress, the lead learner team assesses the situation, determines the cause, and scaffolds the learning to meet the learners’ needs. Part of the scaffolding may involve additional academic support, which could include extended time, alternative methods, peer tutoring, one-on-one support, or whatever it takes to help the learner progress.

We continuously ask learners for feedback on their school experiences. Asking for feedback may include focus groups with students about their learning, assessing learners’ levels of engagement, and evaluating if we are meeting their needs as learners. Another measure of success occurs when learners do not want to stop learning and continue learning through “self-assigning” homework because he/she is so interested in the topic.

Other metrics such as ACT Aspire scores, ACT averages, college acceptance rates and AP scores are data sources. These will not be our primary focus, but will be additional pieces of data as we assess the whole child.

We administer surveys and conduct focus groups with parents, community members, university partners, and business/industry partners. We also maintain ongoing conversations among staff and expert advisory boards for each academy. As visitors tour the school, we ask for their feedback about The Pike Road Way.

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