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The Learning Symposium: Schools Making a Difference Through Knowledge, Support and Action

February 2010

On February 17 and 18, 2010, EQAO hosted the Learning Symposium: School Teams Making a Difference Through Knowledge, Support and Action.

EQAO brought together school teams comprised of principals, vice-principals and teachers from across Ontario to participate in sessions addressed by educational leaders and experts in large-scale assessment.

The aim of this symposium was to build capacity for using EQAO data and to recognize that all members of a school team are instrumental in supporting student learning.

If you registered to view the live webcasts, please enter the e-mail address you provided. Otherwise, to access the videos, please register free of charge using the video links below.

Speakers and Live Webcast Schedule

February 17 and 18, 2010

All indicated times are Eastern Standard Time (EST).
EST is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Due to circumstances beyond our control the schedule of events has been revised. Please refer to the revised schedule below.

February 17, 2010

(Webcast links will be active at time of broadcast.)

Opening Address

Marguerite Jackson
CEO, Education Quality and Accountability Office

Live webcast: February 17, 2010 | Time: 8:45 a.m

Redefining Fair: Assessment, Grading and Reporting in Today's High Schools

Damian Cooper
Independent Education Consultant

The world is changing at breakneck speed. From the workplace and post-secondary institutions to technology and students themselves, the dizzying pace of change presents educators with significant challenges. As the mission of schooling evolves from sifting and sorting students into high, average, and low achievers to encouraging all students to strive for excellence, the strategies and processes associated with assessment, grading and reporting are being focused on like never before. The demand for greater accountability is ever-present, yet some teachers, parents, and the media believe that standards are being lowered rather than raised. In his keynote presentation, Damian Cooper will address the major changes facing high-school educators; he will examine what the new mission of secondary education really means; and he will ask participants to examine their current practices and consider new approaches to assessment and grading in light of this new mission.

Live webcast: February 17, 2010 | Time: 9:15 a.m.

Digital Literacy

Juliette Powell
Integrated Media Specialist

The best leaders and educators are the ones who exhibit not only influence and inspiration, but also empathy, attunement and a genuine desire to help others.

Recently we had the opportunity to observe the effectiveness of empowering Internet users and the potential to build relationships with dedicated individuals, online and offline, throughout the last presidential campaign in the United States. We saw the Internet’s positive, vast capacity for networking and the possibilities for spreading a message, as long as that message was considered meaningful, authentic and valuable.

In a rapidly changing digital world, measures of leadership are increasingly reliant on empathy and understanding. Powell demonstrates that you don’t have to be a political leader to use similar strategies. In detailing the most effective strategies used to run a winning online and viral political campaign, as well as those used by top business leaders, Powell pinpoints ways to apply them to your classrooms to help students.

Live webcast: February 17, 2010 | Time: 11:00 a.m.

Social, Institutional and Intellectual Engagement

Doug Willms
Professor and Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy, University of New Brunswick

Student engagement is a disposition toward learning, working with others and functioning in a social institution. It is expressed in students’ feelings that they belong at school and in their participation in the formal requirements of schooling. For many students it also entails a serious emotional and cognitive investment in learning aimed at increasing understanding, solving complex problems and constructing new knowledge. Engagement is related to students’ academic success, their mental health and well-being, and the likelihood they will finish high school. As such, engagement needs to be situated alongside academic achievement as an essential schooling outcome in its own right.

In this presentation, Dr. Willms will discuss three elements of student engagement, drawing on recent research from the Canadian Education Association’s study What Did You Do in School Today? Transforming Classrooms Through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) and “Tell Them from Me” (, a dynamic Web-based evaluation that allows students to voice their concerns and participate in school-wide evaluation in a non-threatening way. Dr. Willms will identify the key elements of classroom and school environments related to engagement and how these can be aligned with student success.

Live webcast: February 17, 2010 | Time: 1:15 p.m.

Perspectives from the Chair

Brian Desbiens
Chair, EQAO Board of Directors

Live webcast: February 17, 2010 | Time: 3:00 p.m.
February 18, 2010

Two Eyes Are Better Than One

Mark Reckase
Distinguished Professor of Measurement and Quantitative Methods, Michigan State University

Mark Reckase will discuss the conflicts that arise as a result of differing views on the role of assessment and will suggest ways to resolve them. One view considers assessment a feedback tool to determine strengths and weaknesses and guide instruction. A second view considers assessment’s role to be reporting the level of student proficiency to Ontario’s public. Building on each view can result in a better education system.

Live webcast: February 18, 2010 | Time: 9:00 a.m.
» View the webcast

Closing Remarks

Marguerite Jackson
CEO, Education Quality and Accountability Office

Live webcast: February 18, 2010 | Time: 11:00 a.m.
» View the webcast

All Students Can Learn and We Can Make a Difference

Jane Bluestein
Award-Winning Author and President of Instructional Support Services, Inc

Jane Bluestein will affirm that principals, teachers and parents do have a powerful influence on our youth and hold in their hands the ability to make a positive difference in their lives: parents, who set the stage for nurturing and supporting; teachers, who continue the nurturing by establishing a rich learning environment within their classrooms; and principals, who set the tone for leadership and inspire within their schools a lifelong desire for learning and for motivating our youth. We are preparing students for a future that we do not know and a time when we will not be there. If our students have emotional intelligence, academic strengths, social awareness, empathy, compassion and a sense of our truly global society, we will have given them wings to fly. Dr. Bluestein will talk about some of the specific strategies that each of us can put in place to ensure this success and the privilege that it is to play such roles in the lives of our adolescents.

Live webcast: February 18, 2010 | Time: 11:15 a.m.
» View the webcast
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