The Education Reform and the Policy on the Evaluation of Learning introduced by Québec’s education minister in 2003 led to the emergence of new working methods among teachers, who were forced to adapt their practices at each stage of the evaluation process during and at the end of a cycle.
Data collected from fifty-five Grade 6 teachers highlighted how they use their professional judgment and the behaviours they adopt at each stage of the evaluation process. Five profiles stand out among the evaluation practices considered to be effective for promoting educational success and persistence: 1) regulated learning, 2) differentiated instruction, 3) student participation, 4) integrated learning evaluation and 5) professional judgment.
Teachers regularly alternate between traditional and new evaluation approaches.
The data collected shows that teachers regularly alternate between traditional and new evaluation approaches, depending on context. The transition does not appear to be complete and some confusion can still be seen when it comes to ongoing and end-of-cycle evaluation of writing, reading and mathematics. Finally, an analysis of student outcomes reveals a variance between the results of internal evaluations and those obtained in external (Ministry) exams.
To properly deal with the complexity of the changes, long-term teacher training efforts need to be put into place: professional mentoring, insertion in a professional learning community or participation in a university program on learning evaluation. Given the small sample size of teachers involved in this study and further methodological changes that have arisen from the normative focus of new ministerial orientations introduced in September 2011, the study’s impact appears to be very limited.
Micheline-Joanne Durand, Université de Montréal
Deposit of the research report: December 2013