Tag Archives: achievement test

Language Arts 9 Course Outline

Instructor: Mr D. Sader, St. Jerome’s Catholic School

1. Course Philosophy
The aim of the English Language Arts is to encourage an understanding and appreciation of the importance and artistry of literature in students. It will enable students to use language confidently and competently for a variety of purposes, with a variety of audiences and in a variety of situations for communication, personal satisfaction and learning.

In St. Jerome’s Catholic School, the students are invited to look further and develop a more coherent understanding of what language means as both a Christian event and a human event. Facility with language provides us with the ability to express ourselves and our faith in words, and to communicate, listen, and enter into dialogue and true relationships with others. Higher-level thinking skills of inquiring, reasoning and reporting are recognized as particular gifts from God, bringing with them special responsibilities to use such talents for the good of the community. Students are invited to consider how the knowledge, skills and values studied within the language arts curriculum are integrated with other subject areas, including religious education and reflect the Catholic identity of the school.

2. General Outcomes/Themes:
English Language Arts General Outcomes 9 (2000)

Through listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and representing the students will:

  1. explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences.
  2. comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, print and other media texts
  3. manage ideas and information
  4. enhance the clarity and artistry of communication
  5. respect, support and collaborate with others.

Theme (Focus):
The Human Condition–In Search of Self

3. Assessment
Assessment in all classes will occur on a regular basis. Assessment strategies fit into two broad categories: Assessment FOR Learning(during), and Assessment OF learning(after).

Assessment FOR Learning occurs during instruction and looks like discussion, peer review, student meetings, sharing questions and answers, revision, rewriting, personal reflection. Example assessments during learning: “Start an Online Discussion,” “Hamlet IV,iv Discussion,” “Honour and Certainty,” “Pillars of Character,” “Group Novel Study,” “Story Study Guide.”

Assessment OF Learning occurs midway through or at the end or a unit of instruction and looks like high stakes tests, midterm and final exams, end of unit tests, portfolios. Example assessments after learning: “Applying for a Summer Job,” “Choices Essay,” “Portfolio 10,” “Hamlet: Final Response,” “ELA 30 Final Exam.”

Marks taken during assessments and evaluations will contribute toward the final grade. Each unit of study uses various types of evaluation such as exams, assignments, collaborations, presentations. The weighting of each mark contributes to the unit total while the weighting of each unit contributes to the overall course grade. Late assignments will not be accepted after the end of unit due dates. Refer to student handbook for appeals procedures.

Approximate Gradebook Category Weighting
Personal/Creative ~ 30%

  • short stories, scripts, narratives, poems, book reviews, book talk, forum posts, online class discussion, blog comments, reading logs, any other personal/creative response to a text

Critical/Analytical ~ 40%

  • essays, letters, speeches, debates, reports, character sketches, any other critical or analytical response to a text

Representing ~ 5%

  • posters, photo essay, images, videos, animations, tag clouds, podcasts, surveys, mobiles, dioramas, collages, and any other assorted “blog bling”

Final Exam ~ 25%

  • Provincial Achievement Test: multiple choice reading comprehension (55 marks of 110), business letter functional writing assignment(20/110), and an expository/essay or narrative writing assignment(35/110).

4. Course Work and Evaluation
Quarter 1 Marks collected from course beginning to 1st report card cut-off
Quarter 2 Marks collected from course beginning to semester break cut-off.
Quarter 3 Marks collected from course beginning to 3rd report card cut-off.
Quarter 4 Marks collected from course beginning to final exam.

Provincial Achievement Test ~ 25%(Part A: May TBA; Part B: June TBA)

5. Primary Resources
Crossroads 9, Gage/Nelson Educational Publishing
Novel, TBA

Students will receive only one copy of each text according to the rental agreement. Additional/replacement texts may be purchased through the school office.

Reading List

Students are encouraged, but not required, to bring their own electronic internet devices into the classroom. These devices include and are not limited to laptops (any OS), Chromebooks, smartphones, tablets, ebook readers etc, etc, etc. Basically, if the device can browse the school’s website via the school’s enterprise class wi-fi network, it would be useful in the classroom (most days). Student use of any device must comply with the School Acceptable Use Policy.

Completion of English Language Arts 9 requires the writing of 2 provincial achievement tests in May and June.

Alberta Education Resources for Parents

“My Child’s Learning”: Learn More About English Language Arts

Private business vending tests to students

I heard about our school division particpation in a private business site geared at “vending” standardized acheivement tests to students, today . . . a day before an English 30 final, 3 weeks after the L.A. 9 final Part A, and a week after all grade 10 classes have wrapped up. A third party, non-government, now has a list of every student I teach and is awaiting their input to validate multiple choice tests.

I do not know the exact costs to our publicly funded school for using the test “vending” site, but I think I heard $.35 per test. The site has been around for a while and the government has already poured in a million bucks every year since 2005. Until today I understood that such sites were “just another tool” in a sea of online gadgets for testing kids. I understood my participation in such sites was “voluntary.” Until today.

I was enrolled, as was every student I teach, without my knowledge or consent.

I do not know any teachers involved with creating the site. I know a lot of teachers.

So I started to research . . . My fellow teachers have already responded to the Castle Rock testing program:

reputable internationally recognized organizations such as the Educational Testing Services have pointed out that the final cost of developing even the most modest version of a program like CAA in the Alberta context would run into the tens of millions of dollars. In the Association’s view, the overly ambitious claims being made for CAA are neither educationally sound for students nor financially realistic and sustainable.

Why the Alberta government would commit millions of dollars to a private company to modify old provincial test items and put them online remains a mystery.

in the Language Arts Provincial Achievement Test, about one-third of student outcomes can be assessed through multiple choice questions; that of the 200 learner outcomes for Grade 9 science, only 63 (32%) can be assessed; that of the 51 learner outcomes for Grade 9 Mathematics, 24 (47%) can be assessed; and that of the 67 learner outcomes for Social Studies, only 22 (33%) can be assessed.

During the fall, Association staff responded to calls from many teachers who reported feeling pressured to participate in CAA. After being informed that the Association does not support CAA, most of the callers decided not to participate in the program.

as of January 30, 2007, … the superintendent and board of trustees of Edmonton Catholic Schools recently advised its teachers that the board would no longer be participating in the CAA project and that, given the implementation and professional concerns (including those raised by the Association), involvement in the program was henceforth voluntary.

All of this was a mystery to me. And now from my confusion is emerging a very sharp professional opinion on the issue.

I have not been given the opportunity to think on this “vending” of tests to kids.

I feel my mood changing. I need a cookie.