Another great week in the world of assessment education! This week was very interesting because we got to hear from Kevin Tonita who brought a Ministry perspective to our classroom.
While I initially thought the presentation was going to be an hour of me pretending to be interested while someone spouted assessment and ministry jargon, I actually found myself very interested in what Mr. Tonita had to say. While I sometimes found it a little difficult to wrap my head around some of the plans and implementations, it was really beneficial to hear about the different types of strategies that will be affecting our practice as first year teachers. He focused a lot on the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) and with good reason as it is a driving factor behind assessment province-wide. I feel I am able to better understand both the plan itself and the reasoning behind it, especially considering what was brought up about Saskatchewan’s standings within the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Knowing that we ranked last in the country is disheartening. What that says to me is that our students are not receiving the proper education to prepare them and develop their basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Therefore, it is our job as future teachers to explore this problem within our classrooms and find a better method of assessment that can show us where our students’ strengths and weaknesses are in order to improve our teaching. Mr. Tonita said something in his presentation that really stuck with me (so I was sure to write it down). He made the very valid point that, “once you can learn to read, you can read to learn.” I think that really brings into focus the importance of developing skills that can carry our students through their education and into life-long learning. It is the reason that the Ministry is creating these assessment plans and strategies and why we as teachers need to do our best to implement them in our classrooms. Once we foster the skills needed to learn, we can watch our learners grow and move beyond the classroom.