So what we’ve done here at St. Edmund Campion regarding our achievement with our Grade 9 EQAO scores is, about five years ago, we experienced really low scores. So what we did is we got together and we collaborated together and we reviewed all the expectations from the Grade 6 to 8 curriculum to see where any gaps existed from Grade 6 to the Grade 9 curriculum. After that, what we did was we collaboratively created lessons and these lessons were intended to determine whether or not the students had achieved a Level 3 or 4 at those expectations, and we did that for about two weeks, we do that for about two weeks at the start of the semester, and at the end of that process, we then give them a diagnostic test. And this is where we determine where the students are achieving at. So this diagnostic test is given to students in a low-pressure environment: they understand that it is an assessment, they understand it doesn’t count towards their grades given that it is based on the curriculum expectations from Grade 6 to 8. So we get that back, and when we get that back we use it for a few different purposes. One purpose we use it for is to inform our teaching practice, so now we have to go and make lessons that are consistent with the diverse needs of the students in the class. So every class’s results end up being different, and therefore we create lessons based on the results of that test. Secondly and very importantly, we use it to communicate with parents. So the results are shared with parents with the intention of identifying the strategies that they may be able to employ in order to help their child if they are achieving below the provincial standard and we give them strategies as to how they may raise that to a higher level. And I guess the third thing that we use that for then is to, on an ongoing basis, start to place the students in particular groups. So from that diagnostic if we find that we have a Level 1 student, therefore now we can use cooperative learning or group strategies and place them together with another student with a Level 1 achievement level, with a possibility of gaining confidence. Also we would put sometimes with a Level 4 achieving student, so that therefore we can create these multiple opportunities for them to learn as we move forward.
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