Clear communication between parents and teachers is critical for student success. One common question from parents (and teachers!) in Ontario is:
Why are learning skills and work habits assessed and evaluated?
Well, to be successful, students will require a number of competencies in addition to mastery of curriculum content. Learning skills and work habits outline key elements aside from the curriculum that studies have shown help our students to be successful in post-secondary and work contexts (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010). While these skills are assessed, evaluated and reported separately from curriculum expectations, they are closely tied to student success and achievement of curriculum expectations in all subject areas (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010).
Knowing the content of the curriculum is very important and it is certainly one of our goals in the classroom to make sure that our students have a solid understanding of the overall expectations, but positive learning skills and work habits will help our students to take ownership over their learning and become more effective learners, critical thinkers, and responsible citizens (OCDSB, 2014). By working on their learning skills, students are developing habits (see below) that have been identified as very important to employers, such as personal management skills, teamwork skills, and using tools interactively, for example (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010).
In addition, they tie in well with the concept of growth mindset, which is the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and solve problems (Dweck, 2014). By providing a dedicated section on the report card for learning skills, we are emphasizing the importance of students’ development of their own self-awareness and a personal responsibility for their own learning. This will create a learning environment of more fully engaged students that are exploring their own interests and passions and becoming inspired to learn and ‘grow their brains.’
Dweck, C. (2014). “The power of believing that you can improve.” TEDxNorrkoping.
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2010). Growing success: Assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario schools. Toronto, ON.
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB). (2014). Parent Guide to Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting: Kindergarten to Grade 8.