2017 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement
Equity and inclusion is a priority for EQAO and, this year, the agency sought to highlight the work being done by schools to address equity-related challenges. School recipients of the 2017 Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement saw an increase in the percentage of students with special education needs meeting the standard on either the reading or writing component of provincial assessments from 2014 to 2017, and these schools clearly demonstrated that their analysis of EQAO data helped inform decisions about initiatives to support student learning better.
Student population: 1000
Principal: Rob MacKinnon
- The staff at Danforth Collegiate engages in moderated marking and uses common evaluation and assessment tools.
- The school uses data from multiple sources (e.g., the board climate survey, observations and conversations among teachers, student work—as well as EQAO data).
- Each department examines biases through collaborative inquiry and implements culturally relevant pedagogy.
- Every week, the administrations of Danforth CTI and Greenwood Secondary School (principals, vice-principals, office administrators and heads of guidance) meet to determine how both school teams can work together to support newcomers to Canada.
Danforth Technical and Collegiate Institute is a school of just under 1000 students. The school motto is “We learn by doing” and, indeed, experiential learning defines the “Danforth way.” Throughout the subject disciplines, from technological studies to the arts, individual student creativity is encouraged and celebrated.
What is the profile of this school community?
OSSLT STUDENT POPULATION
(eligible to write the test for the 1st time)
Number of Students
Students Who Participated Fully
English Language Learners
English Language Learners Receiving Special Provisions *
Students with Special Education Needs (excluding gifted)
Students with Special Needs Receiving Accommodations (excluding gifted) *
Students Who Speak Another Language (or Other Languages) as Often as English at Home
Students Who Speak Only or Mostly a Language (or Languages) Other Than English at Home
*Counts and percentages are based on students who participated in the March administration, which offered all permitted special provisions and accommodations. These data were collected through EQAO’s Student Data Collection system.
How have the results improved?
Through moderated marking, staff develop common evaluation and assessment tools. Teachers of the same course collectively design a task for assessment. They choose exemplars and analyze, compare and discuss individual responses for each student. Students requiring a second attempt at the OSSLT have every question of their first attempt reviewed, and they engage in conferences with staff to review the results and receive specific feedback. At the end of each reporting period, students all write a reflection on their grades, identifying strengths and areas for improvement, and establishing clear goals.
What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?
Staff Collaborative Inquiry and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
Each department looks collaboratively at questions concerning inclusivity, e.g., “How does having a better understanding of our students and their cultural backgrounds inform our teaching practice, and how does it help us to identify our own implicit or unconscious bias?” Staff work together in departments to identify students who are struggling. They then dig deeper to determine what the students are struggling with and to plan next steps. The leadership team also establishes professional learning opportunities for staff to support the examination of bias.
Common Evaluation and Assessment Tools
Staff engage regularly in formal and informal conversations about assessments and their validity. For example, they ask how they can continue to create opportunities to engage with students in conversation about the assessments. All staff work to ensure that there are common understandings and shared expectations for all students. Staff engage students in the co-creation of learning goals and success criteria and ask students for feedback regarding classroom assessments.
Supporting Students and Building Relationships
Through computer-based programs, staff provide specific support to students according to their needs, ensuring that assistive technology and accommodations align with their IEP. At the end of each reporting cycle, staff celebrate success and also identify students who are having social, emotional or academic difficulties in order to provide comprehensive support. During weekly administration meetings, the principal, vice-principals, office administrators and head of guidance discuss whole-school issues and identify opportunities to support all students better.
“At Danforth, we have learned that to get students ready for the OSSLT, we must take a multi-faceted approach that includes the support of all staff, opportunities for practice, culturally relevant curriculum, consistent and appropriate assessment and, perhaps most importantly, the building of positive relationships with students.”— Rob MacKinnon, Principal
How we analyze the data
Staff at Danforth CTI
- Engage regularly in formal and informal conversations about assessments and their validity to establish shared expectations for all students
- Use EQAO data in concert with data from other sources (e.g., the board climate survey, observations and conversations among teachers, student work)
How we put the data into action
- Develop common evaluation and assessment tools for students
- Engage students in the co-creation of learning goals and success criteria
- Review OSSLT questions with students requiring a second attempt
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