Alberta Initiative for School Improvement
Great things are happening in Alberta’s classrooms. Since 1999, the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) has been at the forefront of encouraging and promoting creativity and innovation in Alberta schools. AISI supports projects that focus on student engagement, inquiry, critical thinking, 21st century learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, literacy, personalized learning, and much more.
2000-2003 - Integration of Technology
2003-2006 - Inquiry based Learning
- The schools in this project identified a school-wide instructional focus by which they worked to increase student growth. Some schools selected a particular subject or skill area (e.g., math, writing, study skills) while others selected a particular teaching approach (e.g., inquiry-based approach). This project was termed Instructional Support Systems because of the focused attention that is given to those systems that serve to support and ensure the effectiveness of the selected instructional focus. The three key systems include school resources (schools have allocated their resources in a manner which supports the focus), staff capacity (Professional Learning Communities have been formed to enhance educator growth), and families and communities (parents and schools work together to promote enhanced student achievement). Click to view Inquiry based projects developed at CMJHS
2003-2006 - Resiliency
The goal of this project was to enhance the resiliency of our students, school staff members, and school communities. Resiliency has been defined as, “…the capacity to spring back, rebound, successfully adapt in the face of adversity, and develop social, academic, and vocational competence despite exposure to severe stress, or simply to the stress of today’s world.” (Henerson & Milstein, 1996). The schools participating in this project explored ways in which to reduce risk factors in students lives (e.g., unsafe environments, insufficient connections with adults, low motivation) while simultaneously increasing protective factors (e.g., caring environments, sense of personal power, problem solving skills). This project was infused into the classroom and the curriculum with consistent and authentic resiliency-building experiences for students.
With this project, the schools were aiming to move away from viewing resiliency as a program (e.g., a bully-proofing program, or a drug and alcohol education program) to viewing resiliency as a process. That is, we were hoping to help school community members see that how we do what we do and the interactions that we have with children and youth, are more important than simply what we do.
Key components of the project were (a) helping students to develop pro-social skills and behaviors, (b) connecting students to their communities in meaningful ways, (c) providing on-going professional development and support for school staff members.
- The goal of this project was to enhance the resiliency of our students, school staff members, and school communities. Resiliency has been defined as, “…the capacity to spring back, rebound, successfully adapt in the face of adversity, and develop social, academic, and vocational competence despite exposure to severe stress, or simply to the stress of today’s world.” (Henerson & Milstein, 1996). The schools participating in this project explored ways in which to reduce risk factors in students lives (e.g., unsafe environments, insufficient connections with adults, low motivation) while simultaneously increasing protective factors (e.g., caring environments, sense of personal power, problem solving skills). This project was infused into the classroom and the curriculum with consistent and authentic resiliency-building experiences for students.
2006-2009 - PLC Collaboration
Goal – Maintain or Improve Student Learning in All Subject Areas.
“Give to students equal opportunities to show what they know”
Measure – Through the use of PLC’s, each group will develop Curriculum Mapping (establish clear learning outcomes), SMART goal in regards to a curriculum objective that is an area of need, and Common Assessment. Allow staff to have opportunities to learn and utilize best practices and have the resources to do so through Professional Development and Resource Attainment. Establish creative ways to ensure students are supported in their learning in the home environment.
- Goal – Maintain or Improve Student Learning in All Subject Areas.
2009-2012 - Assessment for Learning
Focus: Assessment For Learning
Key Resource: The Alberta Assessment Consortium (AAC)
AAC Assessment Glossary
Successful Learner Visual
About Classroom Assessment - Q&A
Timeline - AISI Cycle 4 will begin in September 2009 and be in place for three school years.
Division Coordinators - Tamara Gordon & Sue Humphry
Program Description- This project has been designed to improve student learning through the implementation of assessment for learning strategies. These strategies are the activities that teachers and students engage in while the students are learning. Through the use of these strategies, students are aware of where they are going with their learning, where they are at now, and how to close the gap between the two. This necessitates a high degree of student engagement and requires students to actively assume responsibility for their learning. Teachers share with their students the learning targets using student friendly language, as well as provide them with meaningful assignments where expectations are made clear. Teachers develop criteria with their students, offer descriptive feedback and use models or exemplars of expected work. In addition, teachers focus on using effective questioning techniques and engage students in peer self assessment which involves students in tracking, reflecting upon, revising and communicating of their own progress. Assessment for learning strategies will also involve a backward design planning process to achieve better alignment between curriculum and instruction.
- To improve student achievement through implementing assessment for learning practices
To enable students to utilize assessment for learning strategies to improve learning. Students will demonstrate their use of these strategies though one or more of the following:
- Students will be able to describe their learning target or goal. They will also be able to describe how to reach their learning goal.
- Students will know how they will be evaluated in a subject and be able to articulate the criteria that will be used to mark their work.
- Students will use exemplars of expected work and use teacher feedback to revise their work.
- Students will give peer feedback based upon set criteria.
- Students will be able to engage in self reflection and self evaluation based upon established criteria.
- To enable students to articulate how the assessment for learning strategies will improve their own learning and achievement.
- Focus: Assessment For Learning
Other Related Goals:
- To improve teacher knowledge, understanding and implementation of "assessment for learning" strategies
- To enable teachers to demonstrate utilization of assessment for learning strategies. They will demonstrate this in one or more of the following:
- Teachers will collect evidence of student learning through multiple sources including observations, products and conversation.
- Teachers will evaluate student work based upon rubrics and/or established criteria.
- Teachers will provide oral and written feedback to students in order for them to revise their work and improve learning.
- Teachers will pose open-ended questions with the invitation to share different perspectives and will use higher level questions to deepen understanding of concepts taught.
- Teachers will plan instruction using backward design and ensure alignment between assessment, learning outcomes and strategies.
- To enable principals to actively participate in changing assessment practices through their role in leading instructional change.
- To increase principal efficacy in being able to lead change in assessment.
- Focus on curriculum essentials - backward design planning
- Articulated learning targets in student friendly learning
- Descriptive feedback
- Use of models, exemplars
- Effective questioning techniques
- Peer/self assessment