The new curriculum for students in kindergarten to Grade 9 rolls out this school year, along with draft changes to Grades 10 to 12.
With the changes comes a fresh look at how report cards and grading will be handled, including the possibility of eliminating report cards altogether.
“Report cards need to reflect the curriculum changes,” said Langley School District acting superintendent Gord Stewart.
“Are we going to do three or four report cards anymore?
“How will the report card look? There is going to be some angst from parents who want to keep report cards the way they are.”
But group and individual projects, as well as social responsibility, better reflect the new curriculum and therefore can’t be graded the same way, he said.
“This topic will occupy a lot of time and there are going to be a lot of Pro D days exploring the transition. I think it’s the right direction and very exciting.”
Stewart, who has 27 years in education as a teacher, principal and administrator in the district, believes in looking at education in ways that excite children.
Traditional methods have left too many students disengaged, Stewart has said.
He isn’t opposed to looking at what time school starts for high school students, perhaps adjusting the day to better reflect teenagers’ need to sleep in.
Entrepreneurial skills are also part of the new curriculum. Those skills will be fostered from kindergarten on, Stewart said.
“It’s about problem solving, being creative. Even kids in Grade 1 can come up with really amazing ways to solve a problem or create a new tool. It’s a great skill set that children will need for future success,” he said.
The elimination of report cards was implemented on a trial basis with one grade level at RC Garnett Elementary last year, Stewart said.
“The parents of that grade were approached and they agreed to try it, with a clear understanding that they would still know how their child is doing throughout the year through parent-teacher interviews.”
During those frequent interviews, the child is also there to present a portfolio of work they have been doing.
“The feedback was really positive,” he said.
One complication with the elimination of grades will be applications to post-secondary schools.
“When UBC or out-of-country universities fixate on letter grades, we need to figure that out,” Stewart said.