Robbins Hebrew Academy

CJN Focus on Education - RHA 2019

Let kids learn how fun Hebrew day school can be at RHA

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T THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS FEBRUARY 21, 2019 B2 [ F O C U S O N E D U C A T I O N ] RHA using purposeful data to improve student outcomes W hat skills will our children need in 2030? Will they need to know how to drive? Likely not. Will they need to write in cursive script or type? Or will they need to be able to code multiple computer programs? The World Economic For um has identified 16 skills required to succeed in the 21st century. Those traits fall into three groups: foundational literacies, competencies and character qualities. The first category includes literacy, numeracy, i n f o r m a t i o n a n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n technology (ICT) literacy and has been the traditional realm of data measurement. Educators today have a plethora of testing mechanisms for foundational skills, including the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) standard tests, the CAT test, the Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Continuum, the Ontario Writing Assessment and the Hebrew Proficiency Test, to name a few. At Robbins Hebrew Academy (RHA), we take an integrated and strategic approach to the collection, use and application of data. No single test can provide a total picture of each student's level of foundation skill acquisition. Instead, we set personalized learning plans for each student, and then group students according to their benchmarked levels of competency to create groups who will complement each other's learning. These core competencies lend themselves to data measurement when the purpose of testing and the timely use of the tests are relevant to students and educators. Standards and standardized tests can be used meaningfully to identify gaps in learning in a group of students. Analyzing the reason why knowledge in a specific area is unusually low can lead to meaningful changes to the curriculum or teaching methods of particular units. A few years ago, teachers noticed that there was a soft area in reading comprehension on non-fiction texts. Based on testing data, we analyzed the focus of teaching this unit and determined that more time needed to be allocated to non-fiction comprehension. A plan was put into place to make changes to improve this outcome, including a more integrated approach to language arts, social studies and science, smaller group instruction, and growth plans for children who were having difficulty in this area. Within a year, students in this cohort excelled in both fiction and non-fiction comprehension and the scores improved substantially. One of the most groundbreaking areas in education today is in the development of globally relevant "purposeful data" to measure competencies (problem- solving, creativity, communication and collaboration) and character qualities (curiosity, adaptability and leadership). How does a teacher foster creativity in approaching a common problem and fairly evaluate the degree or relevance of that creativity? There is a fundamental shift taking place between students and teachers engaged in deep learning that necessitates a parallel shift in meaningful assessment of complex 21st-century literacy, competencies and character traits. n SponSoRED ConTEnT The student-teacher relationship in deep learning and meaningful assessment is critical. Canadian Accredited Independent Schools

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