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Communicating Student Learning: District Inquiry Project (2017)


“Inquiry demands that educators actively scan their environments, generate questions, try new approaches, observe and collect evidence, synthesize information from a variety of sources, draw conclusions and generate new questions.”

Intent of the District Inquiry Project:

An opportunity for school teams to work together at the school level to explore a variety of methods for documenting knowledge, skills and attitudes (and helping our students to document their learning), and then to come together at the District level to discuss the myriad of opportunities and possibilities around Communicating Student Learning.

Topics included in the Project:

  • What do we mean by “Communicating Student Learning”?
  • What does it include?
  • How is it communicated and to whom?
  • What methods are most effective for our school and our students?
  • What are we currently doing in our school that can be deepened or expanded through this inquiry?
  • How can this help to deepen our understanding of assessment practices and promote deeper student learning.?

Participation requirements:

  • Space is available for up to 40 school teams to participate in Year One of this project
  • Each selected school team will receive 3 IPad Minis for their use in the inquiry project, as well as copies of the Spirals of Inquiry book (Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser) in order to help guide their work
  • School teams must consist of one school administrator and 3 teachers.  More than 3 teachers are welcome to attend, however there are only 3 IPad Minis available per school team  
  • School teams are required to submit an application (attached) to be considered for the Inquiry Project. All applications will be vetted by the Associate Superintendent of Learning Services and the District Principal of Learning Technologies
  • School teams will participate in a series of four after school sessions to connect with other colleagues
  • A report on the school team’s learnings is required at the end of the school year.  More information to follow as to reporting format

What is the school team committing to?

  • Working as a team, and concentrating on exploring an inquiry project focussed on communicating student learning.
  • Crafting an action plan that identifies project team goals
  • Working together to collaboratively plan, share, and reflect on evidence of student learning
  • Exploring a variety of ways to document student learning using various tools such as photos, videos, audio, writing samples over time, etc.
  • Committing to 4 after school sessions: 4-6 pm
  • Reporting back on your team’s learning  
​Series Topic​
Session 1 Scanning What’s going on for our learners?
Focusing What does our focus need to be?
Session 2 Developing a Hunch What is leading to this situation?
Session 3
Learning How and where can we learn more about what to do?
Session 4 Taking Action What will we do differently?


Sample Inquiry questions to inform instruction:

  • How does collecting evidence of learning in a timely manner promote student learning/achievement? 

    halbert_n_kaiser.png We will be using the Spirals of Inquiry as a guide for our inquiry process as we explore the key stages of inquiry.

  • How does the access to documentation tools impact our teaching and student learning?
  • What ways does documentation support student ownership for their learning?
  • What documentation might be part of student portfolios?
  • How does the concentration on documentation support the cycle of inquiry?
  • What are some ways other than report cards to communicate student learning?
  • How can we communicate student learning in a meaningful way without relying on technology? ​We will be using the Spirals of Inquiry as a guide for our inquiry process as we explore the key stages of inquiry.
  • What motivates students to want to share their learning with their parents?
  • What are some resources that primary students can use to communicate their learning?
  • How can students communicate their growth and development in the core competencies? 
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