I believe that the most important thing for us at school is: to learn, and to be excited about learning.

You can judge for yourself how much you're learning, how hard you're trying, and how excited and involved you are in your education. I also need to give you information on how I think you're doing. That could be as small as something I say to you in class -- a little "great job!" while you're working.

This year I will be focusing on giving you, and having you give yourself descriptive feedback. This gives you some specific concepts to work on as we go through the activities in each unit.

Then there's another way, perhaps the toughest way: marks.

There are three kinds of assignments and tests that I give: diagnostic, formative and summative.

Diagnostic tests are assignments I give to see how much knowledge you have at the beginning of a subject or a new unit. Those ones don't count towards your report card -- it's just for me to see where you're starting from.

Formative quizzes and assignments give both of us an idea of how much you've learned during a unit to that point. It's a good way for you to see how much information you know, how much you understand, and what you need to study. I will only use these quiz marks to help you. If you do better on a summative assignment or test than you did on the formative quizzes or projects, then I won't bring your marks down because of it. Think of them as check-in points for both of us.

Summative assignments, projects and unit tests are the marks I use to come up with the marks for your report card. They usually happen near the end of a unit, and show both you, me and your parents how much you've learned over the course of the unit. If you show me that you understand more information on a summative than you did on the formative assignments, then the mark you'd see on the report card would be from the summative. If you did a lot worse on the summative than you did on the formative assignments, I'd definitely ask you if something happened that day that made it hard for you to complete the assignment. At most, I'll use your formative quizzes to help increase your mark a little bit.

Remember, if you can show me that you know more in the summative than you did before by getting a higher mark, I'll give you that mark. Your formative quizzes won't hold you back.

--Mr. Watt