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A Brief to the Ministry of Education from the BC Teachers’ Federation, August 2017 

Curriculum Change: Reporting

The issue

In line with changes to BC’s revised curriculum, reporting practices must shift to enable greater emphasis on students’ demonstrating their knowledge. Districts and teachers need a clear reporting order that addresses key features of the curriculum. There is also the need for clear guidance on student self-assessment of the Core Competencies and the responsible and equitable use of digital reporting tools.


The Interim Reporting Order was released in August 2016, leaving many teachers and districts scrambling to meet the requirements as outlined in the order. Although two options were provided, a traditional model or a locally established model, both options required districts and teachers to engage with new features of the curriculum, including a student-self assessment of Core Competencies and new curricular areas such as career education and applied design, skills, and technologies.

There are significant challenges with the student self-assessment of Core Competencies (currently in draft form). While developing this promising new facet of the curriculum, the Ministry of Education did not adhere to established protocols for collaboration with the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). As such, it has been very difficult and time-intensive to try to communicate the purpose and process of the Core Competencies to members. Furthermore, many districts have directed teachers to evaluate and report on student proficiency in this area, a directive that goes against the very principles of the Core Competencies.

Another key concern is related to digital reporting tools. Within the Interim Reporting Order, and especially in the Alternative Student Progress Order, boards are encouraged to pursue non-traditional methods of “communicating student learning,” including a variety of digital tools and platforms. According to a recent survey conducted by the BCTF, teachers have concerns about many aspects of these tools, including the flexibility of the tool, assessment, workload and time, effective communication with parents, appropriateness for the revised curriculum, provision of technology, in-service training, parental access, privacy, and data retention. Furthermore, parents have directly contacted the Federation after being told by districts that they would only have digital access to reports. This is an exclusionary practice that fails to account for the inequities facing parents and students in many communities.

Key recommendations

Recommendation 1

Revise and finalize the Core Competencies. The revision process should follow established collaborative protocols between the Ministry and the BCTF.

Recommendation 2

Finalize a reporting order. The K–9 reporting order is under revision. The Ministry is assembling a K–9 Student Reporting Policy Committee to make recommendations for the Final Reporting Order expected in the spring of 2018. Clarity is needed regarding adequate time for the field to prepare and to address the wide-ranging feedback concerns raised by members and parents. The Final Reporting Order should be based on the principle that information on student achievement is best obtained through the teacher and classroom based formative assessment practices.

Recommendation 3

Eliminate provincial assessment scores from the final student transcript. The Ministry has proposed that the graduation literacy and numeracy assessment scores appear on the students’ final transcripts. The BCTF is opposed to this as it makes the assessment high stakes. Provincial assessment is a snapshot of the system, not an individual measure of achievement.

Recommendation 4

Address workload. The growing pressure to use digital reporting tools has serious consequences for teachers’ workload. It is also to the detriment of all students when digital tools require significant time to record and report out on student learning. The Interim Reporting Policy Committee needs to make recommendations based on issues related to time and tools. Transferring data from one platform to a new mandated tool is one of the many issues associated with new methods, as well as the loss of data. The Ministry of Education will need to take these recommendations seriously to minimize what has been a traditionally onerous task of reporting.

Recommendation 5

Address privacy. There are significant privacy concerns that must be addressed regarding the Ministry’s storage of data to the concerns with using a variety of tools and platforms. Digital reporting tools must comply with BC privacy legislation and undergo a Privacy Impact Assessment clearly stating who owns the data. Teacher autonomy and professional rights regarding reporting must also be respected in this process. How much data should we collect, store, link, search, and mine electronically in education are significant questions that need to be addressed.

Further reading

Education Change Bulletin (informs teachers about education change):bctf.ca/EdChangeBulletin/

Student Progress Report Order (2016): www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/legislation-policy/legislation/schoollaw/e/m191_94.pdf

Student Reporting (2016): www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/administration/legislation-policy/public-schools/student-reporting

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